This goes beyond just callers and agents.
In my previous posts, I highlighted the Why, What, and How of Augmented Intelligence. In this post, I’d like to highlight who stands to benefit from applying artificial intelligence (AI) to call centers. It’s actually a much bigger question than you might think because the benefits of augmented emotional intelligence go well beyond just the agents and their callers.
For example, supervisors or team coaches in contact centers can leverage AI in two ways:
- To reinforce their existing agent coaching on every call – not just the handful they review monthly or the ones they observe live.
- To save valuable coaching prep time by automatically surfacing areas of improvement and recognition for their team, which is made possible by objective and timely measures of their team’s performances on the phone—whether they talk over callers, speak too fast or too slow, or empathize with the customer.
To help illustrate this, a call center supervisor tells a quick story about their recent experience with Cogito:
“I’ve always been someone who didn’t want technology telling me what to do, but it’s cool to sit with them during a call and see [Cogito notifications about] the things I have been coaching them on. They may give me pushback or think they are doing okay, but seeing it in real time proves to them that they really do need to work on these things.”
Interestingly, these augmented intelligence notifications can identify patterns that may be otherwise missed. For example, they may indicate when an agent is simply having a bad day and needs a little extra acknowledgment. Take this real-life story:
“One morning I logged into Cogito and I was watching my reps’ CX Scores update in real time. I noticed that one of my reps had taken several calls in a row that were trending downwards. I decided to check in on him in between calls to see how his morning was going—I didn’t mention the CX Score at all—and afterwards his calls started trending upwards almost immediately.”
Of course, the customer service representatives themselves stand to gain from improving their performance. Many are compensated on the basis of metrics such as sales (of course), service levels, average talk time, first call resolution, and customer satisfaction scores. As one rep told us about her CSAT scores, “I’m getting all fives,” which is their highest ranking possible. That’s got to be good for her career.
What Types of Improvements Are We Talking About?
While every organization has their own KPIs that matter the most and results may vary, many of our Cogito clients have reported some of the following positive business outcomes:
- NPS gains as high as 14%.
- AHT reductions of 7% and greater.
- FCR improvements around 8%.
- Sales yield gains of around 5%.
In a large, mature business, even one- or two-point improvements in net promoter scores, average handle times, and first call resolution deliver big dollars. That’s what Cogito customers are seeing, but the benefits extend even farther than operational efficiencies and cost reductions in the organization.
Brand Loyalty, Differentiation, and the Value to Senior Managers
Brands have to fight for relevance in a world of increasingly undifferentiated providers of goods or services. Commoditization is an especially large challenge within mature industries such as telecommunications, financial services, and insurance. In these industries, digitization efforts over the past few years have relegated many basic transactions to automated systems, IVRs, self-service, chatbots, and apps, which, in turn, reduce obstacles to switching to another company.
The single most popular way to fight commoditization and differentiate the brand is with superior service. Augmenting the emotional intelligence of call center agents to make better connections with customers is a way to improve service and increase brand loyalty. Doing this in a way that can be measured is an added bonus.
Who benefits? (Or, a better question may be, who doesn’t?)
- Chief executive officers can deliver greater value to shareholders. (For example, look at the recent efforts by John Legere, CEO of T-Mobile, to ensure that customers talk to a “Team of Experts”. Happier customers result in less churn which leads to increased profitability.)
- Chief marketing officers improve customer loyalty and have direct line-of-sight to customer satisfaction. (Apple is a great example of a company that differentiates itself by striving to deliver empathy in every customer interaction.)
- Phone sales professionals present themselves as more trustworthy and empathetic, which increases their opportunities to sell, upsell and cross-sell.
- Heads of service gain predictive insights into employee engagement and gain a tool to exceed their operational and customer satisfaction goals. (For example, Humana uses Cogito to get real-time insights into the voice of the customer.)
- Service representatives (from companies such as MetLife, for example) deliver empathy in every interaction and have better conversations with customers, thereby improving everyone’s satisfaction with the call as well as the representatives’ abilities to meet performance goals.
- Supervisors lead teams of happy, high-performing agents and are empowered to focus on strategic growth initiatives.
The list goes on, but you get the idea.
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