AI for the Enterprise

How Watson empowers agents to deliver excellent customer service

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Empowering customer service agents with new technology is the key to great customer interactions, leading to an increase in repeat business. This approach is often overlooked when compared with other customer service pain points, such as increasing customer satisfaction or decreasing operation costs, but in reality, these objectives are all interlocked.

Agent attrition impacts businesses more than they realize. A recent study by inContact shows that every 10% of attrition can result in a 1% churn in customers. This impact is amplified when learning that, according to the study, average employee turnover in call centers is more than double the industry average–not to mention the cost required to hire, train and mentor a replacement agent.

When a call center agent leaves their position, their workload is then invariably passed onto co-workers. The additional work and effort required by agents to maintain their current performance as well as juggle additional responsibilities can have a significant impact on agent productivity and customer satisfaction. A poor experience can decrease the probability of customer re-purchase by up to 32%.

Challenges that customer service agents face

Agents consistently face challenges which impact their productivity and the ability to deliver a quality interaction:

  1. The ability to find the right answer to a customer’s question. Not only does this negatively impact the initial interaction, the agent is then required to re-contact the customer at a later date, affecting continued productivity.
  2. The lack of consistency between channels. This can lead to mixed messaging for the consumer and also be highly confusing for the agent in working out what the right response is. Agent productivity is impacted by the constant need to switch between multiple apps or windows, where businesses are using a numbers system for customer support.
  3. The need to keep up with new or changing information. This often leaves agents frustrated as they constantly feel out of sync, whilst simultaneously misinforming customers, resulting in a poor experience for both agent and customer.

How to retain agents and boost agent productivity

These pain points can be overcome with the introduction of Watson Customer Care Virtual Agent.

Acting as the first line of support, Watson provides a conversational AI solution to handle simple, FAQ questions. This leaves call center agents free to focus on resolving more important and high impact issues, rather than routinely answering the same questions over and over again.

Watson empowers agents to be more productive when implemented in an assist mode using Agent Assist. The solution provides a central source of information, removing the burden of searching across different systems for answers. AI solutions have been shown to deliver an 80% reduction in agent research time in call centers. They provide agents the ability to find the information they need faster – so they can resolve customer queries  in real time, without the need for a follow-up phone call.

Watson assists by using a step-by-step chat flow, trained to an agent’s unique domain so they can trust the information they are receiving and relaying is correct, while the business ensures a consistent message is delivered to the customer. The result? Happy customers, empowered agents.

Contact center agents are a valuable resource, Watson has the power to drive agent productivity and agent retention while reducing customer support costs and increasing customer satisfaction.

Discover how Watson can help you deliver exceptional customer experiences.

Content Manager, IBM Watson

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