How AI Can Help Seasonal Call Center Agents Deliver Excellent Customer Experiences

With retail sales expected to top $1.1 trillion this holiday season, brands are shoring up human resources to meet demand with a record 700,000+ seasonal hires for the December holidays.

A large portion of these temporary employees will undoubtedly be call center agents brought on to tackle the high volume of sales and service calls received during the biggest shopping days of the year.

While the holiday season is considered the most wonderful time of the year — for consumers and retailers alike, there is a lot at stake with these hires. Seasonal call center agents are a critical touchpoint for millions of customers. The agent becomes the voice of the brand when the extreme requests keep flowing in and emotions are running higher than usual. Additionally, the purchases made during the holidays may be the consumer’s first experience with a brand, making these customer conversations even more essential to sales conversions during the season and beyond. With brands relying on temporary agents to provide a superior level of service, and customer experience increasingly making or breaking loyalty, how can brands ensure every agent is ready to delight customers this holiday season?

Personalizing the Agent Experience

Picture this: A frustrated father calls customer support on December 23. He ordered his son’s top toy choice from his go-to e-commerce site, only to find he was shipped the wrong item. Naturally, he’s devastated and extremely disappointed. In this instance, an experienced, full-time call center agent would likely know (1) operationally, how to resolve the issue quickly and (2) emotionally, the language and tone to use that embody the brand and keep the father calm in his moment of panic, while also ensuring he returns for his toy-buying needs in the future. Could a seasonal agent field the same call successfully? If brands are not 100% sure, they risk a lifetime of lost revenues from this customer.

Here’s where artificial intelligence comes in.

While in the past, this may have seemed like a nightmare scenario for incoming and seasonal hires, today, AI can help ensure all agents are able to successfully and confidently speak to customers with the correct branded language and tone. This includes knowing what phrases to say and not say, whether agents are speaking at an understandable level, and even knowing where they can improve during future calls.

With NLP (natural language processing) based solutions, call center teams can leverage the power of artificial intelligence to transform the human voice into actionable insights. Utilizing real-time feedback from these solutions, agents and managers are empowered to draw knowledge from phone conversations and immediately optimize those insights to help drive conversions and improve customer satisfaction.

Identifying the Right Solution

Artificial intelligence solutions specifically built for call center agents enable improved interactions between brands and customers. So, how do you find the best fit solution? For brands considering an AI-based solution, the most important criteria to search for is speed. You need a solution that can process and transcribe the human voice at the speed of a face-to-face conversation. Additionally, look for tools that can quickly and easily identify individual areas of strengths and weaknesses. This is particularly critical for temporary agents and incoming hires. By leveraging artificial intelligence in the call center, managers and agents are able to access real-time feedback on important aspects of customer conversations such as when to speak faster or slower, as well as have the ability to customize scripts for every call. This ensures the right messaging is used for any particular customer, in any specific situation, every time. For seasonal hires, this not only helps agents better remember brand voice and tone, but keeps customers satisfied during peak shopping times of the season.

Beyond helping agents at an individual level, NLP’s offer machine learning capabilities that enable instant visibility and access to feedback which helps agents improve communication and productivity during the call. Additionally, managers can utilize quick call-documentation to easily read or listen through historical conversation data and uncover insights and data-driven best practices that can be shared with all team members. As a result, managers gain deeper insights into the entire customer interaction, as the skills of agents evolve and improve — ultimately improving brand customer experience and conversion rates.

While the holidays are one of the busiest times of year for call centers, the use of artificial intelligence can help managers and agents better prepare for each customer conversation this season. With the ability to gather and utilize real-time insights and feedback, managers can better identify and ensure all agents — no matter temporary or full-time —  have the skills they need to effectively communicate with new or loyal customers, provide exceptional customer experience, and ultimately, increase sales.

Michael Brehm, Founder and Director of i2x

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