3 Ways Agent Assist Bots Can Help Your Customer Support Team
The day in the life of a customer support agent is not an easy one.
Between staying on top of assigned tickets, dealing with angry customers, completing complicated back-end processes, answering repetitive customer inquiries, and adhering to strict company policies, there’s plenty of potential headaches that can spring up.
Without adequate support and resources, 74% of customer support agents are susceptible to burnout1.
It’s important that businesses take note of this and leverage technology, such as agent-facing AI and automation or agent assist bots, to improve customer support agents’ experience and well-being.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the common problems customer support teams and agents face and how technology (particularly AI), can help solve these problems.
What Challenges Are Customer Support Teams and Agents Currently Facing?
#1. Customer Support Requests and Customer Expectations Are Higher Than Ever Before
With more and more people shopping online, customer support teams are dealing with more requests than ever before.
Freshworks’ very own New CX Mandate Report found that 83% of customer service leaders in the US have seen an increase in support levels across all digital channels, with 68% of customer service leaders also noticing an increase in customer expectations.
To top it off, many customer service leaders have also reported operating with reduced staffing throughout the pandemic, with 33% of customer service leaders reporting this as the top challenge they’ve had to face.
#2. Customer Support Agents Are Dealing With More Challenging Customer Scenarios
Alongside increased customer requests and expectation levels, customer support agents are also dealing with a higher number of challenging customer scenarios.
In an analysis of 1 million customer service calls between March 11th, 2020, and March 26th, companies saw the number of “difficult” calls more than double — from a typical level of 10% to more than 20%2.
These concerns included customers asking for bill payment extensions, disputing insurance coverage, and reorganizing travel plans after enforced cancellations. Customers also showed an increased level of emotion and anxiety during these calls, which had the knock-on effect of making the customer support agents’ job more challenging than normal.
#3. Customer Support Teams Are Adapting to the Challenges of Remote Work
With 88% of organizations mandating or encouraging all their employees to work from home since the beginning of the pandemic3, companies and employees alike are adapting to the challenges of remote work.
Buffer’s report into the state of remote work in 20204 found that remote workers’ two biggest struggles are a lack of collaboration and communication between teammates and a sense of loneliness. These two issues can be particularly disruptive for those in customer support roles, where collaboration, communication, and a sense of camaraderie between teammates is key.
In a traditional office setting, customer support agents can socialize with other colleagues, support and train new hires and ask supervisors for assistance when dealing with tricky customer situations.
In a remote setting, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy level of communication and collaboration between team members while ensuring customer service levels and targets are met. This results in a greater need for companies and team leaders to foster a positive work environment for remote teams and prioritize collaboration between teammates.
New initiatives, such as scheduling daily stand-ups, organizing virtual team events, and equipping support agents with the right technology have to be embedded into companies that may be tackling remote work for the first time.
So far, we’ve painted a pretty bleak picture of the problems customer support teams face, but let us reassure you: it’s not all doom and gloom.
One of the most significant changes companies have made to improve agent experience is implementing agent-facing AI solutions. Let’s take a closer look at how AI in customer service enables remote teams to work easily.
How Can Artificial Intelligence Help Customer Support Teams?
From increasing coverage to customers across multiple channels, easing the burden on customer support teams, to reducing customer service costs, AI’s impact has been profound.
In a survey of 775 US business leaders, PwC found that 84% of businesses state that implementing AI ‘’at scale’’ in their organizations is necessary for success over the next three years5.
Research by Oracle suggests that 78% of brands have already or are planning to implement AI solutions to help better serve customers6. While Servion Global Solutions predict that AI will power 95% of all customer service interactions by 20257.
With more and more industries and companies investing heavily in AI, it’s important that customer support teams know the benefits that AI solutions can bring, particularly the benefits it can bring to customer support agents’ day-to-day roles.
Let’s explore two of the key benefits…
1. Customer-facing Chatbots and AI Ease Agent Workload
Click on most websites nowadays, and a chatbot will be there to welcome you. Customer-facing chatbots can vary in their complexity – some are there to interact with customers while human support agents are unavailable, while some apply AI to automate resolutions to common customer queries and requests.
Any kind of chatbot can help teams cut down their response times to customers, but chatbots using AI have the greatest impact as chatbots with AI functionality can infer context from customer queries.
For example, if a customer writes in to the chatbot saying ‘I want my money back,’ the chatbot with AI functionalities can use machine learning to “read” existing knowledge base articles and provide information to the customer on how to get a refund or cancel their account.
Only when the customer query is too complex, a human support agent will have to step in and answer the question. Even if the chatbot can’t solve the customer’s query, it has still saved the support agent time by gathering some initial customer information. This goes a long way in easing agent workload.
2. Agent Assist Bots Empower Support Agents in Their Daily Roles
Alongside helping customers, AI can help support agents manage their workload and increase their productivity.
One such tool to provide these benefits is Agent Assist Bots. Like customer-facing chatbots, Agent Assist Bots use machine learning to assist customer support agents in their day to day roles.
Agent Assist Bots act as a virtual buddy to customer agents by automating customer service processes, giving support agents access to relevant resources, and providing assistance to answer common customer questions.
Let’s take a look at the benefits Agent Assist Bots bring to customer support teams in a little more depth.
How Agent Assist Bots Can Help Customer Support Teams
#1. Serve As Personal Assistants
In customer service, new agents will run into issues where they need help instantly, especially when dealing with a tricky customer situation or a scenario they are unfamiliar with. However, getting immediate help from peers or experienced support agents might not always be possible.
Agent Assist Bots have self-serve modules with pre-configured flows that support agents can use for every customer conversation. These bots go a long way in enabling a sense of autonomy for agents.
As we mentioned above, support agents can interact with the bot to understand the next best action to take, enabling them to solve complex customer situations faster, acting as an agent’s very own personal assistant!
#2. Streamline Complex Backend Processes
To resolve complex customer queries and tickets, agents will sometimes need to run repetitive, tedious tasks that are difficult to remember.
Instead of wasting an agent’s time, these workflows can be automated using process automation. Agents can then use the Agent-facing AI to execute these automated workflows in a single click right from the helpdesk.
For example, agents will need to log in to the payments tool to find out why the customer’s payment failed. Instead of manually doing it, agents can simply access these automated workflows right from the ticket interface and retrieve the required information.
By automating these repetitive, mundane tasks, support agents have more time and mental space to focus on delighting customers.
#3. Help with Training and Onboarding
Newly recruited support agents need a lot of hand-holding before they can get up to speed. However, setting up elaborate training and onboarding processes requires a lot of time and resources.
A cost-effective way of training and onboarding new agents is with an agent-facing chatbot. Customer support teams can deploy an Assist Bot containing learning resources, FAQs, and how-to guides that agents can refer to whenever they need assistance. This enables new agents to learn on the job, shorten their go-live time, and stay up to date with important product and company information.
Additionally, processes within customer support teams are bound to change and evolve. Continuous training is often required for customer support agents to maintain the quality of customer support on offer. Assist Bots are a great way to retrain customer support teams and keep agents abreast of the latest processes and developments.
With remote working becoming the long term strategy for many workforces around the world and customer experience becoming more and more of a priority for businesses8, it’s never been more important for companies to invest in solutions that improve customer support agents experience and well being.
AI and Agent Assist Bots help to streamline a company’s customer experience while taking away some of the heavy lifting from customer support agents. Leaving them with more time, energy, and focus on providing customers with an excellent experience.
To enhance your customer experience and give your customer support agents their time back, check out Freshdesk’s very own Freddy-AI-powered Agent Assist Bot, today.
1 – https://www.toistersolutions.com/blog/2016/7/11/report-most-contact-center-agents-at-risk-of-burnout#:~:text=You%27re%20not%20alone%20if,face%20a%20severe%20burnout%20risk.
2 – https://hbr.org/2020/04/supporting-customer-service-through-the-coronavirus-crisis
3 – https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2020-03-19-gartner-hr-survey-reveals-88–of-organizations-have-e
4 – https://lp.buffer.com/state-of-remote-work-2020
5 – https://www.pwc.com/us/en/library/fit-for-growth/automation-survey.html
6 – https://www.oracle.com/webfolder/s/delivery_production/docs/FY16h1/doc35/CXResearchVirtualExperiences.pdf
7 – https://www.financedigest.com/ai-will-power-95-of-customer-interactions-by-2025.html
8 – https://www.superoffice.com/blog/customer-experience-statistics/