Introducing a New Kind of Human Talent for Customer Engagement: Digital Agents

Reagan Miller | April 17, 2015

Recently my colleague Hollis Chin posted "A New Breed of Agents Requires a New Breed of Tools." It’s a great read that describes how contact center agents’ interfaces will need to accommodate the ways new agents have grown up with 21st century technology.

But there’s another side to this story: The concept of “what is an agent” is changing as well. To provide the fluid, data-driven experiences of customer service and sales in a world of digital natives, you’re going to need a new type of human talent: Digital Agents.

Digital Agents are people who break the mold. They are digital natives themselves, raised on digital interactions. They are expert in providing service in digital channels such as chat, mobile, and social media. They can nimbly jump in to help customers regardless of where they are in their online journeys.

In fact these Digital Agents relish the idea that the assistance they provide to consumers is based on context, continuity, resolution, and outcomes. Customers like using self-service and try to get information on their own. But when they can’t get things done that way they escalate to a human agent late in their journeys. Digital Agents are brought into these journeys, quickly gleaning insights made possible by predictive analytics and data sources. That helps them understand a customer’s context and provide continuity. A Digital Agent uses sophisticated tools to search for answers and solutions, and then relays those answers via text or rich media in real-time, regardless of channel. They are trained to be focused on fast resolution and outcomes for the customer.

Need an analogy? How about this:

Imagine that a Digital Agent is an expert airline pilot but is blindfolded for most of a journey. The customer is flying the plane on her own, unaided. Then suddenly the customer needs help from the Digital Agent and takes the blindfold off. The Digital Agent must figure out where the customer has flown the plane and where she is headed (context and continuity) and must quickly use the controls (tools) to take the customer to her destination (resolution and outcomes).

To be a great pilot, a Digital Agent must be media savvy, situationally aware, enabled by predictive analytics and technology, empowered by insights, and focused on outcomes.

So Digital Agents are, in a sense, great pilots in customer journeys.

As a contact center manager you’ll need to identify these people and plug them in new ways. You can learn more about that by viewing a recording of our April 22 webinar, "Introducing the Digital Agent, a New Category in Human Talent."

View webinar recording.