September 6, 2023
6 mins read

Generative and Conversational AI: The New Age of Agent Assistance

September 6, 2023
6 mins read
Isuru Rajakaruna Isuru
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In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, discussions surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) often lean towards a dystopian narrative: a world where humans are overshadowed, if not entirely replaced, by machines.

Particularly in the customer service sector, there’s a growing apprehension that support agents might become relics of a bygone era, edged out by a frighteningly efficient AI.

However, this view is overly simplistic.

This article seeks to shift the dialogue from replacement to collaboration.

By delving into the dynamic interplay between generative and conversational AI assistance and human agent intuition in different situations, we’ll uncover the ways AI can augment, not override, the human touch, ensuring richer customer and agent experiences.

1. AI as a dynamic knowledge base

Generative AI functions as a real-time repository of information, enhancing rather than replacing human intuition and expertise.

Here’s a typical scenario already playing out in many contact centres:

Situation: A customer is frustrated due to a malfunctioning international roaming service.

Generative AI Assistance: As the customer describes their issue to the agent, Generative AI, acting in its capacity as a dynamic knowledge base, immediately presents the agent with a checklist of troubleshooting steps for international roaming issues.

Simultaneously, the AI scans the company’s latest policy updates and pinpoints a recent change pertinent to roaming charges in the customer’s current country.

Human Intuition: Armed with this context, the agent recalls a similar issue faced by another customer last week. Combining this experience with the AI’s insights, the agent confidently guides the customer, explaining the recent policy change and its potential effects, and offers a tailored solution.

By seamlessly merging AI’s vast, dynamic knowledge base with the agent’s unique insights and past experiences, you can achieve a synergy that delivers efficient, informed, and compassionate customer service.

2. Elevate agent efficiency with contextual summaries

AI’s summary generation capability acts as a succinct record, streamlining communication and amplifying an agent’s ability to respond swiftly and effectively.

Here’s how it can work in a contact centre scenario:

Situation: A customer has interacted with a brand multiple times — once via email, then on live chat, and finally through a voice call, each time providing pieces of their complaint.

Generative AI Assistance: As the agent accesses the customer’s profile, the AI simultaneously synthesises the scattered pieces of information from different touchpoints, creating a concise summary of the customer’s interactions and pain points.

This summary might read: “Issue with product X, initially reported via email on [date]. Followed up with live chat querying potential solutions. Expressed urgency in last voice call.”

Human Intuition: Recognising the customer’s efforts to resolve the issue, the agent uses the summary to quickly grasp the problem, ensuring the customer doesn’t need to repeat themselves, and offers a relevant solution that’s personalised and more efficient.

3. Boost agent confidence with sentiment analysis-based coaching

Real-time sentiment analysis is revolutionising the contact centre landscape by helping agents better engage with customers who have more complex problems.

Situation: An agent is assisting a customer who’s expressing subtle signs of dissatisfaction and impatience, making the conversation challenging.

Conversational AI Assistance: As the AI detects the negative sentiment shift, it immediately coaches the agent with more insightful cues such as:

“Suggest a callback if the resolution requires more time.”

“Validate the customer’s feelings: ‘I understand where you’re coming from and I’m here to help.'”

“Mention a similar case that was successfully resolved to instill confidence.”

“Offer alternative solutions or a special discount as a goodwill gesture.”

Human Intuition: Recollecting a previous interaction where a goodwill gesture turned the conversation around, the agent acknowledges the customer’s feelings, and offers a special discount.

Once again, the potent combination of AI and human intuition ensures that agents are not just reacting, but confidently managing customer interactions with both efficiency and empathy.

4. Accelerate agent onboarding with industry-specific AI insights

Onboarding new agents in specialised industries with intricate processes and high call volumes can be daunting. Getting them up to speed swiftly, without compromising on the quality of service, is paramount.

Situation: A new agent, just a week into the role, is handling an insurance policy query. Despite training, the sheer volume of policies and regulations makes it challenging to provide an accurate and confident response.

Generative AI Assistance: Recognising the agent’s inexperience and the complexity of the query, the AI swiftly provides:

  • Overview of the specific policy in question
  • Common customer queries related to this policy
  • Recent changes or updates to this policy, if any
  • Compliance pointers specifically for insurance communication

Human Intuition: The agent, recalling a related topic from their training session, merges the AI’s precise industry insights with their foundational knowledge. With increased confidence, the agent then addresses the customer’s query, ensuring accuracy and compliance.

5. Help agents avoid compliance risks

In today’s compliance-heavy industries, agents often bear the brunt of navigating intricate regulations. Missteps, even unintentional, can lead to penalties for the company and stress for the agent.

Enter AI, imbued with the power of compliance flag detection, ensuring that agents tread the path of compliance with confidence.

Situation: An agent is assisting a patient in a government hospital with stringent data protection laws. The customer, frustrated, asks the agent to email them a summary of all their interactions with the company over the past year.

Generative AI Assistance: As the agent considers the request, AI – which has been listening in the background – detects the potential for a data protection compliance violation. Instantly, a pop-up window appears, cautioning the agent about the potential breach. It provides a concise breakdown of the specific regulation at risk and offers an alternative solution to handle the customer’s request within the bounds of the law.

Compliance flag detection then marks this as an “amber flag” event, indicating a near miss but valuable learning opportunity.

Human Intuition: Recalling the company’s emphasis on compliance and the potential repercussions of violations, the agent carefully explains to the customer the reasons they cannot fulfil the exact request but offers the alternative, ensuring the customer’s needs are met in a compliant manner.

By actively assisting agents with real-time, context-aware compliance guidance, AI not only helps the company avoid costly violations but also significantly reduces the stress and uncertainty agents might feel, improving their mental wellbeing.

6. Empower agents to focus on complex queries

In the world of contact centres, it’s easy for agents to feel trapped in a cycle of repetitiveness. The perpetual loop of answering routine queries can lead to disengagement and, subsequently, a higher turnover.

So how can AI turn things around in the near future?

Situation: Day in, day out, an agent is tasked with handling a barrage of calls. Many are mundane, asking for basic information like order status or processing straightforward refunds.

Generative AI Assistance: As another such call comes in, AI identifies the nature of the query using a combination of

  • Caller Profile & History
  • Keyword Spotting and
  • Predictive Analysis

Without missing a beat, it automatically processes the routine order status request or initiates the refund procedure, alerting the customer in real-time – without the agent having to do anything.

Human Intuition: With the mundane tasks handled, the agent can shift focus to more challenging, and thus more engaging, interactions. Perhaps it’s a call that needs a human touch, like addressing a distraught customer or offering intricate product details. Such calls engage the agent’s deep problem-solving skills, increasing job satisfaction and fostering a sense of purpose.

By offloading the tedious tasks to AI in the near future, we don’t just improve efficiency; we breathe fresh life into an agent’s daily routine, ensuring they remain engaged, stimulated, and more likely to stay committed to their role.

AI augments, not replaces, human agents

As our exploration reveals, AI’s transformative capabilities chiefly aim to empower agents, accentuating their strengths and simplifying their tasks.

At the heart of this synergy is the understanding that while AI can process and assist, it is the human agents’ ingenuity and intuition that breathe life, understanding, and a personal touch into every interaction.

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