It wasn’t long ago that AI felt futuristic. But with the recent acceleration in digital innovation, today’s AI technology is mature enough to offer businesses real, tangible benefits that impact the customer experience. Mindful innovation has shown that AI can be a valuable workforce addition — not a substitute, as many feared.
There’s a place for both humans and AI in customer service. While 55% of customers say they prefer to speak to a human, a full 54% also said they would always choose AI over a human customer service rep if it saved them 10 minutes. It’s also been found that “humans and AI actively enhance each other’s complementary strengths: the leadership, teamwork, creativity, and social skills of the former, and the speed, scalability, and quantitative capabilities of the latter.”
The contact center has become a proving ground for how AI workforces and humans can collaborate to deliver great customer experiences — each drawing on their unique strengths to create happy customers, improve retention, and increase revenue. AI technology is now baked into cloud contact centers through features such as Agent Assist, chatbots, and virtual agents. Virtual agents powered by conversational AI have emerged with the full capacity to serve as a secondary workforce.
Working in tandem, humans and AI can resolve more issues faster and ensure customers receive the level of attention and expertise needed for the best possible outcome. Let’s break down how a hybrid human-AI workforce benefits companies, agents, and customers.
Automated resolution of Tier-1 issues
Virtual agents are available 24/7 and don’t get tired of repetitive, mundane tasks, which makes them perfect to take on Tier-1 issues. AI is great for automating high-volume transactions and providing information, like sending copies of insurance policies or looking up an order status. Instead of waiting for an available human agent to help with these simple and straightforward requests, customers receive immediate service and efficient resolution.
Agents are more engaged
AI lifts the burden of Tier-1 issues from human agents and frees them up to focus on complex or urgent issues. When agents find their work interesting, important, and fulfilling, they’re more likely to stay with their company.
Everyone wins when agents are engaged. Not only do agents and employers, but customers do too. McKinsey & Company found engaged and satisfied call-center employees are:
- 8.5x more likely to stay than leave within a year
- 16x more likely to refer friends to their company
- 3.3x more likely to feel extremely empowered to resolve customer issues
Increased agent efficiency
If the call needs to be escalated to a human agent, the AI provides the agent with an automated summary of the conversation. With context on what has already happened, agents can easily jump straight into helping the customer without making the customer repeat themselves.
After the call, AI handles all of the manual logging that agents would normally do and more. It auto-logs and resolves tickets in the CRM and support software, generates a full call transcript, and auto-tags calls with their disposition and issue type. No more after-call notes for human agents, which means agents can jump into another call immediately.
Insights into unstructured call data
AI helps human agents easily analyze unstructured call data to measure CSAT, determine common product issues, and get real-time insights into call center performance. By sorting and categorizing calls, AI gives you an easy way to identify your most common call drivers and trends in customer behavior. With all of these insights at your fingertips, customer service organizations are equipped to continuously improve the customer experience and delight customers.
By collaborating to serve customers in tandem, AI and humans are able to do more for customers than either could do alone and do it faster with greater accuracy. Adding an AI workforce to the contact center creates an elastic layer of service that’s always available to answer calls and resolve issues, letting brands automatically scale their customer service capacity up and down as call volume fluctuates. Deploying a hybrid workforce leverages the best of both AI and humans to create the exceptional customer experiences needed today.
Download our guide on The Contact Center of the Future: Human-AI Collaboration for Happier Customers to learn more about how voice AI and human agents work together to give customers the seamless, conversational self-service they expect.