AI is a customer service agent’s best friend. Here’s why

11 Aug 2023

4.5 min

Summer is here and we all know what that means, right? Summer sale announcements are starting to pile up in your inbox. For customers, this is a great opportunity to stock up for upcoming holidays in the sun, but for the almost 3 million people working in retail in the UK, this is a time to sweat for all the wrong reasons. 

Depending on the kind of business you operate in, summer can be your busiest time of the year. Even if you’re not selling sunscreen and flip-flops, this is when most of your employees will be thinking about taking some time off. 

When resources are stretched thin across the company, the people who do show up are carrying the team and the company’s reputation. And they’d rather be in the park with their friends right now. 

Experts agree that overall productivity drops in the summer months. “People’s attitudes change due to the heat, and they tend to focus on self-improvement and self-care. Sunshine boosts the serotonin and happiness in the brains of others and decreases analytical capabilities, thus diminishing desires to work”, career expert Wendi Weiner told Fast Company. 

So, how can you make their lives easier and ensure standards remain high?

Challenge them

Feeling intellectually challenged is one of several key aspects of a top fulfilling job. The opposite of that? Doing the same simple tasks over and over again. 

Earlier this year, we asked 200 CX leaders to estimate how many of their customer queries were WISMO (Where is my order). Most of the respondents to our survey  answered 40% and 50%, respectively.

As for returns and refunds, another common repetitive process, the majority of respondents estimated that 40% of their customers enquiries were related to this matter.

Whether it’s sending tracking links to customers or taking someone step-by-step through the company’s return process, it’s easy to do the math and realise that most customer service agents spend most of their time on tasks that require very low problem solving skills. 

The agents themselves understood this a long time ago. As most customer service agents’ performance is measured based on things like first response time and number of customer enquiries resolved, every agent knows that to be fast and efficient you need to create your own response templates. They already have a reply ready to send to most common customer issues, a bit like… automation.   

And what about generating returns labels? When an agent has to do this, there is a lot of information to copy and paste into a carrier’s system in order to generate the label. This is time-consuming and mindless work for a human to do. Wouldn’t it be so much better if it was automated through systems integrations?

Integrating AI into the business can successfully take a lot of these tickets off their plate and boost job satisfaction within your team by relieving them of the simple tasks, thus allowing them to focus on more complex issues. 

This will support employee retention whilst creating a happier, more engaged team.

Give them an 'extra agent' without increasing headcount 

If your immediate reaction to peak periods is to think about hiring extra staff, you’re not alone, but you’re not necessarily right either. Over 67% of CX leaders we spoke to in our survey hired more staff to address the peak period. Of those, 56% increased the headcount by more than half, and 9.7% doubled their staff. 

But what if you could bring in one agent that did not mind working weekends, bank holidays and late shifts? In fact, what if they were in all the time and could handle several customers simultaneously? Would that not improve the day of your agents?  

We have already discussed how to provide an excellent customer service experience without hiring more agents, but Antler is a case study on the benefits automation can have on your business and your staff. 

After an initial training period where occasional “rogue” actions were monitored and corrected, DigitalGenius developed what Antler describes as an “extra agent”. So much so that most customers have no idea that the bot is not human. 

To understand how automation can make your agents’ day better, get in touch with our team today.