The Evolution of Contact Center Agents

The Evolution of Contact Center Agents

The Gist

  • AI in customer service impact. AI transforms global business and contact center operations.
  • Human value. Despite AI, 83% prefer some human touch in customer service.
  • AI limitation. AI handles routine tasks, humans address complex issues.
  • Training needs. Agents require continuous training to adapt to new tech roles.

As artificial intelligence (AI) and omnichannel customer touchpoints continue to make their mark on the global business landscape, the role of the contact center agent is evolving. It must. 

This change also prompts the need for many CX professionals and customer service managers to adapt and innovate. 

Agents Are Here to Stay, but Their Roles Are Changing

Contrary to popular belief, the rise of AI isn’t rendering contact center agents obsolete. In fact, a study by Entrepreneur revealed that human agents are still very much in demand, with 83% of customers still preferring some degree of human involvement. While AI chatbots and virtual assistants help manage simpler inquiries, complex issues and nuanced customer questions still demand the expertise and empathy of human agents.

As technology evolves, agents will naturally move beyond merely answering phones and replying to emails. They will engage in high-level problem-solving and collaboration to provide more efficient and personalized customer experiences. According to McKinsey, AI is already handling approximately 95% of customer inquiries in a few highly advanced organizations — the remaining 5% of inquiries are the most complex, and therefore require all the attention of their human agents.

A cute cat wears a headset while helping a customer in a contact center, suggesting how AI in customer service is changing the role of contact center agents.
AI in customer service is changing the role of contact center agents. serperm73 on Adobe Stock Photos

Related Article: What You Should Know About AI Customer Service Tools

The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Customer Support

AI is proving to be invaluable in streamlining routine tasks and providing instant solutions to simple customer queries. Contact centers using AI achieve faster response times, which in turn is improving overall customer satisfaction. AI can also proactively engage with customers through automated texts or emails, ensuring they have more of their questions answered before even having to ask.

Interestingly, a study by Statista recently discovered that around 60% of customers are satisfied with their experience interacting with AI-driven customer service bots. This finding demonstrates the potential AI has for enhancing customer experience and, by leveraging large amounts of data, the ability to provide personalized solutions.

However, despite the increasing role of AI in customer service, human agents retain a distinct advantage over AI systems. They possess emotional intelligence and critical thinking skills, which enable them to address complex problems with empathy and cultural sensitivity.

Related Article: How to Leverage Your AI-Powered Customer Support Strategy

Ongoing Training and Skill Development for Agents

As the role of the contact center agent shapeshifts, customer service leaders must prioritize ongoing training and development. 

In order to keep pace with all the rapid technological advancements, agents need to acquire new skills and stay informed about the latest trends. 

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