While companies frequently seek ways to reduce the time it takes to train agents, the report findings suggest that less training reduces agents' confidence and competence, which can lead to higher absenteeism.
FREMONT, CA: ASAPP, Inc., the artificial intelligence (AI) research-driven company, has published a new, first-of-its-kind report CX: The Human Factor. The report identifies the key challenges confronting three million US contact center agents who work in an industry with one of the highest employee turnover rates. Three key themes emerged from interviews and a survey with agents: technology, training/coaching, and career opportunities, demonstrating a focus on short-term savings that ultimately increase the long-term costs for customer experience.
Agents make up 2 percent of the US workforce, and 74 percent of respondents see themselves as brand ambassadors for their company. Despite this, 51 percent of agents who received inadequate training report being pessimistic about their careers, which can result in poor performance and burnout. While companies frequently seek ways to reduce the time it takes to train agents, the report findings suggest that less training reduces agents' confidence and competence, which can lead to higher absenteeism. Training and career advancement opportunities would improve their jobs, according to 38 percent of agents. The impact of training at the beginning of a job, as well as throughout an agent's career, has a direct impact on their happiness. In the transition to work from home, ongoing coaching and support for agents have been inconsistent, with 37 percent of respondents saying it was difficult to receive feedback during the pandemic.
Technology Gap and Metrics that Matter
45 percent of agents believe that technological advancement in contact centers is lagging. Self-service technologies such as interactive voice response systems (IVRs) and chatbots are directing agents' attention to more complex calls, while the vast majority of agents are motivated to solve simple customer problems. As contact centers strive to align business objectives, they are turning to artificial intelligence to increase automation, boost human productivity, and enable a company to scale services radically. Agents, on the other hand, are still unaware of the value that an AI platform can provide them by automating the customer journey and assisting the agent through complex customer interactions:
• 51 percent of agents believe AI will solve repetitive customer problems.
• 40 percent of agents believe AI will improve the customer experience
• 40 percent of agents believe AI will eliminate their jobs