With self-service on the rise, many people believe that the time is up for live human agents who have been the backbone of call center and customer service industry. Fusion respectfully begs to differ.
Having more than 15 years of experience in the call center industry, we have studied consumer behavior closely. And while customer support has changed a lot over the years thanks to technological advancements like self-service and AI, live agents still remain the most preferred choice for customer support, especially in the complex cases.
Here are a few of our observations on the role of live agents in the modern customer service industry:
1. People Still Want To Interact With A Human Agent
Customer service encounters through social media or self-service don’t always leave customers feeling great confidence. On the other hand, interacting with a fellow human can make your customers feel reassured.
Even the tech-savvy millennials who prefer self-service and other technology-rich customer service channels, resort to interacting with live customer service agents via voice or chat when they face a complex issue.
Therefore, live agents are still very much relevant in the modern customer service scene and if anything, they play a far more significant role today than the role it used to play earlier.
2. Customers Want Easy Access To Live Agents
No matter how technologically advanced a call center becomes, there is no alternative of human agents. Even today, customers are more comfortable to convey their unique issues to a human agent than to a chatbot or IVR. Therefore, customers must be given the choice to talk to a live human agent and the option should be clearly conveyed to the customer. Many businesses these days think so as well.
In the Customer Contact Week Digital market study, 64% of respondents agreed that customers must have easy access to a live human agent.
As a call center with over 15 years of experience, Fusion has also seen that a customer is far more comfortable in discussing their issues with a human agent than telling it all to a faceless machine entity. They crave for the empathy that only a live human agent can deliver.
3. Live Agents Can Handle Complex Issues Better
All the issues handled by customer service can predominantly be classified into two groups –
- Simple issues or inquiries
- Complex problems
Simple issues can be defined as issues that can be handled within a single interaction or a basic issue reporting that can be resolved by the company without additional customer input. These issues generally are frequent and reoccurring and therefore, addressing them with automated channels like knowledge-based systems, social media, improved website forms, text messages, and chat systems makes complete sense.
However, when the problem is complex, automated channels fail to effectively resolve them. For this reason, most complex issues are handled over the phone.
It takes more time to explain the problem in detail so that the customer service agent can understand it, analyze it, and work on providing the resolution. However, the process can be improved by integrating AI with human agents.
4. Artificial Intelligence Should Complement Human Agents Instead Of Replacing Them
While Artificial Intelligence or AI is the buzzword in modern customer support, it is still not in a position where it can replace a human agent. AI is to go a long way before it can master the art of natural language processing (NLP) and empathy. Instead, it can be used to aid a live agent and make their job easier.
For example – if one of your customers has an issue regarding their bills, a live agent will take some time to find relevant information. When AI is brought into the scene, it will be able to show the agent the past interaction history on the screen along with itemized billing so that it becomes easier for the agent to promptly resolve the issue and ask about the previous issue the customer faced. It will up the customer satisfaction level.
Human agents were, are, and will be occupying the central position of the customer service industry. The chance of AI replacing live agents looks very slim in the near future as AI needs a lot of improvement to be at par with a human agent in terms of emotional intelligence.