For the past decade, contact centres have looked to different forms of scripting tools to help codify the ideal conversation journey, and to try standardise the questions and answers provided by agents.
Tools linked to customer relationship management (CRM) platforms and knowledge bases tend to apply different forms of decision tree logic to achieve this, with advances such as case based reasoning applied to try cope with the explosive nature of ‘exception cases’.
Yet few contact centres have succeeded in delivering a real-time call navigational solution capable of reflecting the true nature of customer conversations. Key reasons include:
- Decision tree logic assumes a sequential flow. This requires you to predict that every conversation will start at a specific point with a specific question, followed by another one and so on. Yet customer conversations are dynamic, and may start anywhere, and jump to unexpected places at any time. By cementing the customer conversation journey, these tools restrict high impact conversations and tend to undermine the agents ability to reduce their Average Handling Times (AHTs) and improve their First Call Resolutions (FCRs).
- As contextual variables increase, decision trees explode. This is because every time an additional factor is added, the resulting decision ‘branches’ replicate. In no time, this becomes unmanageable. And that is when authoring teams look to simplify their logic, and leave more up to the agent.
- Experts struggle to explain their logic in decision trees. Asking an expert ‘What question would you ask now?’ is challenging when in depends on the situation and context. It can seldom be captured in a generic logic flow. Yet decision tree logic assumes fixed logic paths, and forces subject matter experts to generalise.
As a result, many contact centres have reduced their use of forced scripting, and have referred back to their knowledge bases – hoping that agents can rather search, find, read and interpret support content while engaging on a dynamic customer call.
Unfortunately, this seldom succeeds. Firstly, the cost and effort of maintaining support documentation at the level that is helpful to an agent is significant. And due to the inevitable detail captured into documents, agents find it very difficult to leverage their support content in real time.
And so most contact centres find ourselves back where they started – relying heavily on agent training and quality assurance teams to try enforce a level of call consistency and accuracy.
This default is now set to change. With the advances made in Intelligence Augmentation (IA), agents are now being offered digital expertise capable of navigating them through every known call so they ask the right questions, offer the right answers, and take the right actions – without the requirement of knowing everything beforehand.
Call Navigators effectively act like a real-time GPS, dynamically adjusting to the changing conversation context. These technologies support wide ranges of logic types, and are increasingly built to enable non-coders to capture and maintain complex call logic.
As a result, agents are no longer required to know the content of a call – they can rely on the accuracy of the call navigator’s logic to adapt to the call reality. And just like a GPS, the route taken in every call is tracked for call reporting and analytics.
Agents, empowered with Intelligence Augmentation, can effectively answer any call without having to know the call content, and the logic can be continually optimised to ensure optimal AHT, FCR and NPS outcomes. This means training can be focused on call etiquette and key aspects of emotional intelligence rather than specific products, policies and procedures.
From a customer self-service perspective, agents fielding thousands of calls using their call navigators can also provide the much needed training data required for chatbots to learn and become production ready.
Intelligence Augmentation is the natural first step in any contact centre’s evolution into the digital age. It starts with empowering the people you have with the expertise they lack. And once you have this perfected, the expansion into the self-service world becomes a lot simpler.