Certain things in life are better together. Peanut butter and jelly. Simon and Garfunkel. AI and agents.
The last one might come as a surprise to some, as many people believe AI and human agents typically work independently of one another, but in reality, they work best when they’re working together.
Both AI-powered chatbots and human agents have their strengths and weaknesses, and by blending them effectively in appropriate journeys, organizations will offer their customers the best of both worlds – and will also enjoy a number of supplementary benefits in the process. Let’s review just a few.
1. Relieve Repetition and Tedium
AI-powered chatbots are great at taking on many of the menial tasks that quickly become tiresome and repetitive to humans (e.g. password resets, account balance inquiries). Assigning these kinds of low-complexity journeys to chatbots is not only a faster, better experience for customers, it relieves much of the burden placed on human agents and frees them up to focus on resolving more complex customer journeys, which is often much more fulfilling.
2. Improve Agent Handoff
Sometimes customer journeys that start with a chatbot need to be escalated to a human agent for resolution. When this happens, chatbots are able to transfer the full context of the journey to the agent, which prevents the customer from having to start over. Additionally, when customers are talking to chat agents, the agent is able to use insights collected by machine learning technology to engage the customer with real-time offers tailored to their unique needs and interests.
3. Reduce Costs
Chatbots are the preferred method of communication for many, because they allow customers to self-serve and resolve problems without having to call and wait (and wait) to speak with a human agent. Whenever you can streamline your customer experience and reduce resolution times by deflecting away from the more costly call center, it’s an ideal outcome for your organization and your customers. Chatbots are also available to work 24/7 – including weekends and holidays – making them the perfect solution for handling questions that come in during off-peak hours.
4. Quicker resolutions
Consumers are getting more comfortable interacting with chatbots and AI-powered technology, and if they’re able to solve a problem using chatbots alone, they’ll be happy. Offering your customers an enjoyable – and fast – self-serve experience that essentially eliminates wait times is a win for your organization. When customers do need to speak with an agent, agents will have the entire journey context and access to a wealth of on-demand information, so they can quickly identify the problem and offer an immediate resolution. All of this will go a long way to reducing your average handle time (AHT).
Though blending bots and agents is an ongoing process, when done correctly, it will offer a number of benefits to your company and your customers. Before you begin, it’s important to review your customer journeys to find out where chatbots will make the most sense. Also remember to communicate with your agents – be sure they understand that chatbots aren’t here to replace them, they’re here to help them perform better. Get more advice for blending AI with agents here.