That's a good news-bad news situation for businesses.
As of March 2022, 44% of employees identified as "job seekers." Whether you call it The Great Resignation or The Great Reshuffle, the cold, hard truth is that it's likely almost as many of a company's employees are looking for a new job as are not.
Companies are scrambling to fill open positions while holding on to their existing employees. Those leaving cite everything from pay to working conditions to a simple desire to explore new careers and opportunities. One thing we do know, however, is that employee engagement has been in decline since well before the pandemic, while workers saying that they are actively disengaged continue to sit at about 13%.
That's a good news-bad news situation for businesses. The majority of your teams remain in what you might call a salvageable state, even if they aren't engaged and happy today. At the same time, that number is likely to increase without changes. And as employees become disengaged - or overwhelmed - their ability to serve customers becomes equally hindered.
Customer-facing roles are crucial and areas where dissatisfied employees can reduce customer satisfaction. So, it's an area where companies should look for every opportunity to support their teams and their customers.
In other words, businesses need tools that can improve employee satisfaction, and they need solutions that can improve the customer experience.
Artificial intelligence solutions can do both. While using AI for hiring has had its ups and downs, using it as a tool to better an employee's environment and workload while also ensuring customers receive the best experience possible is a win-win.
Self-service has long ago stopped being an optional element in the customer experience. Today, 89% of customers expect a brand to have an online self-service portal.
In addition to being a customer expectation, self-service functionality alleviates customer agents' pressure to service every call or contact that comes in. Customers can find out shipping times, check on orders and returns, and even update times for a service call without speaking with an agent.
With AI, self-service can go well beyond canned questions and answers. AI chatbots leverage natural language processing (NLP) to understand the questions or issues that a customer relates to the bot. The chatbot can then combine the queries with real-time insights from across channels to gather information about the customer. Together, the bot can answer questions, direct customers to information and articles, and deliver personalized service as if they were a human agent.
A single agent isn't scalable like a chatbot, which can answer multiple questions simultaneously. However, agents can understand and manage complex cases. Suppose an AI bot determines that a case must be escalated to an agent. In that situation, it can do so automatically and provide the agent with all relevant customer account info and information about the current contact. This allows customer service team members to dedicate time to helping those customers who need them while the chatbots can handle multitudes of other queries.
With a record number of workers changing jobs, the stress on those employees that stay is enormous. Workloads increase, making employees more irritable and less engaged.
Customer service sufferers as employees become overburdened and burnt out. Hold times increase as there are fewer people to help them with questions and issues. Plus, burnt-out employees have a more difficult time displaying the empathy required for excellent customer service.
Chatbots are one way to release the pressure on employees while offering customers a path toward quick answers and assistance. AI can help reduce burnout in other ways, as well. For instance, AIs can optimize agent availability and wait times, meaning customers will spend less time on hold, and agents will deal with fewer frustrated customers.
Even in the field, service agents can use CRM data and AI solutions to create personalized service plans for customers, potentially reducing the number of service calls to a given account. Plus, AI predictions based on previous calls and customer information can allow field agents to proactively address questions and concerns, reducing the time customers need to wait for a service call or even eliminating the need to call into customer service for assistance.
AI can do more than serve up customer information and route calls to the best agents for resolution. They can also offer recommendations for knowledge articles and even responses.
When a service agent begins helping customers, they want to feel they can provide what the customer needs, while the customer wants to speak with someone knowledgeable that can help them. An AI like Salesforce's Einstein in Service Cloud can find precisely the right articles based on customer need so that the agent has accurate and timely information in front of them during the call. Plus, the AI can combine insights from various departments and even perform sentiment analysis on the conversation, helping agents address questions and frustrations with knowledge and appropriate answers.
Beyond that, Einstein can suggest the next best actions for a given customer based on their account history, query, and conversation. This could include troubleshooting recommendations or even up or cross-sell opportunities. Harvard Business Review reported that AI for sales increased leads by more than 50% and reduced call times by 60-70%. Agents can help customers faster and help those agents reach sales goals more quickly and easily if sales quotas are involved.
Given the current resource environment, companies need every advantage to help them retain their good employees. At the same time, customer expectations continue to soar, and offering the best experience is paramount to success. AI solutions, like Salesforce Einstein, help companies address both concerns - the employee and the customer experience - at the same time, streamlining interactions and ensuring each can smoothly reach their goals.
Adding AI to your customer service doesn't require massive investments in infrastructure or development. With cloud offerings like Service Cloud, AI solutions are within reach of nearly every business, regardless of size. If you'd like to know more about how AI can up your customer service game and create more engaged employees, Six Consulting is here to help. With extensive experience in Salesforce and Einstein, Six Consulting can ensure your AI program gets off on the right foot.
“One thing we do know, however, is that employee engagement has been in decline since well before the pandemic, while workers saying that they are actively disengaged continue to sit at about 13%.”
expect a brand to have an online self-service portal.
AI for sales increased leads by more than 50% and reduced call times by 60-70%.
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