Less than half of customer support agents have either the tools or training required to provide customers with the increasingly detailed information about products, services and company policies they demand, a study has revealed.
The survey among 750 cutomer experience and content managers in North America, EMEA and Asia-Pacific conducted by market researchers Ovum on behalf of Software-as-a-Service-based customer engagement applications provider LogMeIn, indicated that only just over a third of agents are able to achieve a first contact resolution due to such lack of support. For example, around 57% of them do not have access to artificial intelligence- (AI) based tools, while 53% do not use a knowledge base.
But the situation is worse among field agents than it is among those working in contact centres. For instance, only three out of 10 of the former have AI software available to them compared with 44% of contact centre workers. As a result one in five of field agent interactions require a call-back and 13% need to be transferred elsewhere.
Ken Landoline, principal analyst at Ovum, said: “We know there is a direct correlation between agent frustration and customer discontent, and 85% of customer-facing employees expressed a very high degree of frustration because they can’t meet customer expectations…Employees want to step up but are hampered by mediocre training and outdated, inefficient tools.”
AI adoption in the early stages
This situation must change though or “customer loyalty and revenue will ultimately suffer”, he warned.
As for those organisations that do use AI for customer service purposes today, adoption is very much in its early stages. Some 38% of respondents said they were in the process of formulating an AI strategy, while 28% had an early-stage strategy in place.
As a result, those that have implemented the technology tend to introduce ad hoc point solutions for a few selected use cases (44%). Around three out of five have used it to automate routine tasks, while half employ it to assist their agents in real-time.
In terms of other software, three quarters of agents also have access to a feedback system to let managers know about any issues they are facing during the course of their day. A further third use automatic pop-ups that recommend possible next actions.