As a customer service leader, are you feeling pressured to adopt AI but unsure where to start? Does finding ways to improve customer and agent experience through AI innovations feel like an endless struggle? Having asked hundreds of people these questions, the majority answered yes.
People intuitively know that providing excellent customer service requires empowering agents. yet frustrating problems like high training costs, high attrition, agent burnout, and outdated systems get in the way. So, how best to fix these issues to boost agent productivity and morale?
And what about the customer side? How do you leverage AI innovations without losing the human touch so vital for customer loyalty in key moments?
These are the topics that keynote speaker Stacy Sherman shared at the Reuters Customer Experience NY event. You can watch one of several video interviews and read the summary below.
AI Innovations and Use Cases That Support Agents and Customers:
1. Real-time call monitoring
AI can listen to agent-customer calls and alert supervisors when keywords like “lawsuit” come up, allowing for rapid intervention.
2. Automated note-taking
AI takes notes during calls, freeing up agents to focus on listening and conversing.
3. Unified customer data
AI compiles relevant customer data from across siloed systems into a single interface for agents.
4. Chatbots for agents
AI chatbots provide agents with quick answers to customer questions during calls, reducing hold times.
As Stacy Sherman points out, these solutions emphasize supporting agents, not replacing them. Agents are still very much needed for empathy, relationship-building, and resolving complex issues.
5. Training Agents with AI Simulation – a most favorite approach
In addition to assisting agents during live customer interactions, AI can play a pivotal role in onboarding and preparing agents upon joining the organization. AI-powered training simulations expose new hires to realistic customer conversations to build confidence and skills without any customer impact.
Consider an agent preparing to handle their first phone call after limited training. The pressure and lack of experience could contribute to a poor experience for the agent and customer. Now imagine that same agent completing several AI training simulations first. They’ve practiced conversations, built confidence in finding answers, and received coaching on strengths and areas for improvement.
This use of AI generally targets skill gaps through personalized coaching while readying agents to have more natural, human-centric interactions with customers.
When Stacy asked customer service agent Tressa Boles her views about AI simulation, she confirmed:
“AI simulation would definitely be helpful because I was so afraid due to my cognitive functioning issues, I wouldn’t be able to think of the right things and the right words to say on the spot.”
Preserving Human Connection in Customer Experiences
While AI can absolutely be leveraged to make agents more efficient, effective, and prepared, the human factor remains critical in CX, especially during emotionally charged moments.
As Stacy Sherman recounts from her experience in the elevator industry, AI limitations become very apparent when customers find themselves trapped in an elevator. A bot may efficiently communicate the technician’s expected time of arrival (ETA) at the scene, but the trapped customer needs empathy and reassurance from a human first and foremost.
“AI needs to enable agents to be present and attentive rather than distract them with manual processes.” – Stacy Sherman
Agent and Customer Experience with AI Innovations
Artificial intelligence, including AI customer service agent training simulation, must complement and enhance human capabilities in CX, not attempt to replace them entirely.
As long as the human connection remains central to the customer and agent experience, AI adoption through use cases like the ones described will lead to loyalty and business growth over the long term.
Press Play To WATCH On Youtube
Customer Experience (CX) and AI Topics + Time Stamps from CXQA Live
[0:00] Introduction to using AI to make agents more productive and empathetic
[2:05] AI use cases that boost agent performance on calls
[4:38] Example of still needing human connection during emotional customer situations
[8:20] Using AI simulations to train agents and build confidence
[12:10] Importance of the human factor in customer experience
[15:30] Tips on developing an ‘agents first’ AI strategy for your contact center
Take notes, as many gems are shared to advance your AI CX strategy without sacrificing the human touch!
This article is part of the Vistio Knowledge Collective.
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About Stacy Sherman: Founder of Doing CX Right®
Customer experience and marketing global keynote speaker, LinkedIn Learning instructor, author, advisor, and host of the award-winning DoingCXRight podcast. Known for her Heart & Science™ framework that helps you gain profitable clients and brand loyalty–fueled by an empowered workforce. Stacy’s been walking the talk for 25 years as a strategist and practitioner at companies of all sizes and industries, i.e., Liveops, Verizon, Schindler Elevator Corp, Wilton Brands, and AT&T. She’s also a board advisor at multiple universities, featured in Forbes and other top-rated publications.
Her Why: To cultivate loyal relationships and meaningful experiences that enrich people’s lives. Contact Stacy about DOING Customer Experience (CX) and Service Right. Continue reading bio >here.
Keyword themes: Doing CX Right podcast business customer service, contact center, marketing agent experience, artificial intelligence, AI innovation.