“Customer service agents are a company’s frontline brand ambassadors,” said Patrick Martin, GM of Service at Coveo. “Beyond providing support, an enabled agent can build relationships that promote repeat business and brand loyalty resulting in upgrade and upsell opportunities. Our research shows that there is a lot of value in empowering agents with the right tools and the trust required to create industry leading agent and customer experiences. Forward thinking companies are beginning to recognize the benefits of a collaborative support model and the influence that contact center agents can have on the growth and profitability of their business.”
Customers are also adapting to digital self-service solutions and expect to be able to resolve simple issues on their own. This allows agents to spend their time on higher-level problems that require creativity and knowledge — allowing companies to design an agent experience (AX) that is more rewarding. In order to do this successfully at scale, contact center environments require the right cloud technology and AI to provide the frontline agents with relevant information at the point of need.
2023 Relevance Report: Service Agent key findings include:
If you see customer service as a cost center, you’re already falling behind. Customer service is in a state of metamorphosis:
- More organizations are seeing the value that agents can bring to the customer experience and help organizations differentiate themselves from their competitors and contribute to company growth. In fact, 49% of surveyed respondents reported their organization sees the contact center both as a source for answering questions and handling issues as well as a center for retention and growth.
- Organizations that achieved success through a collaborative working model focused on four broad areas:
- Understanding their current situation, including successes and pitfalls
- Established a strong knowledge management process
- Built or refined their self-service foundation
- Encouraged a cultural mindset shift within their organization
Contact centers that take advantage of the overall value agents provide, beyond break-fix support, will better meet customers’ evolving expectations and help fuel business growth.
It’s time to stop throwing more tools at your team. Agent “swivel chair syndrome” persists:
- Agents report accessing an average of five systems regularly (78%). These disparate content silos appear even for agents in organizations reporting that they’d switched to a collaborative model (35%) — indicating that adopting a new service process is only one step to resolving long-standing pain points.
- 36% of respondents say struggling to find information to do their jobs left them feeling burned out/overwhelmed, further costing the company in time and money.
- 80% of respondents agree that having quick access to information has an impact on essential contact center metrics like case handling time or mean time to resolution.
Connecting the tools you already have and investing in relevancy of information will make it easier for them to find answers faster, leading to greater satisfaction with their roles.
Tiered support models are becoming a thing of the past. Agents believe there is a correlation between collaborative swarms and agent positivity:
- Agents within service departments that leverage a collaborative support model (61%) or where the contact center is seen as a growth center (62%) report that information and expertise was easier to find within their organization.
- Agents within companies either beginning a transition (82%) to collaborative support or already practicing it (87%) report a higher likelihood of feeling encouraged to collaboratively solve customer problems.
Collaborative support models help agents gain proficiency and respond faster to customers, giving everyone a better experience in the end.
Support enablement should be a priority for all support models:
- Eighty-seven percent of respondents who report working in a collaborative support model receive ongoing training.
- Regardless of working environment or channel management, agents report that the training they received to support growth efforts could be better.
Enablement beyond onboarding is crucial to keep agents happy and at the top of their game.
AI as friend or foe: Agents have mixed opinions about AI:
- When asked if they were attracted to job environments that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning, respondents’ answers were split: 34% agree 26% disagree.
- Agents within companies considering (47%) or transitioning to (67%) a collaborative support model are more in favor of AI.
- A similar pattern occurs for companies that view the contact center as a lever for growth (35%) and both for issue resolution and growth (37%).
Understanding your use cases for AI can help put agents’ minds at ease as you’re looking to augment their workflows, not replace them with automation.
Coveo surveyed 250 U.S. frontline agents on how they are set up for success within their organization. As part of Coveo's 2023 Relevance Report: Service Agents, Arlington Research was commissioned to undertake a study across the USA to discover trends relating to customer service agents. The survey comprised a nationally representative sample of the working population with 250 adults aged 18+ taking part. All respondents were self-identified as customer service agents in companies with more than 100 employees.
Download the full report here.
About Coveo Solutions
We believe that relevance is critical for businesses to win in the new digital experience economy and to serve people the way they expect while ensuring optimal business performance, and that applied AI is an imperative to achieve these goals.
Coveo Relevance Cloud™ is a market-leading AI Platform that optimizes relevance into digital experiences such as commerce, service, website, and workplace applications. Coveo injects search, recommendations, personalization, and merchandising AI models, including testing and analytics. Coveo’s AI platform is cloud-native SaaS, multi-tenant, API-first, and headless, and can easily integrate into almost any digital experience, with AI models designed to learn from every interaction to serve the next. Our solutions are designed to provide tangible financial value to our customers by helping to drive improvements in conversion, revenue, and margins, reduce customer support costs, increase customer satisfaction and website engagement, and improve employee proficiency and satisfaction.
Our AI platform powers digital experience relevance for many of the world’s most innovative brands, serving millions of people and billions of interactions, and is supported by a large network of global systems integrators and implementation partners. Coveo is a Salesforce ISV Partner, an SAP® Endorsed App, and an Adobe Accelerate Exchange Partner.
Coveo is a trademark of Coveo Solutions, Inc.
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