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  • Writer's pictureCass Ferris

Enhancing The Customer Experience By Using AI To Improve Agent Quality Through Better Coaching

Updated: 18 hours ago



Even in an increasingly digital world, human-driven channels (live agents) remain the favored contact method for consumers seeking answers to complex questions. The same can be said for consumers seeking a heightened brand experience. In both cases, the “human element” remains the most critical factor in a positive brand experience.



This reality implies that training and coaching agents has never been more critical. In the past, ongoing training was the result of listening to random calls and looking for opportunities to improve performance through active coaching. Ironically, through Automated Quality Management (AQM), AI is providing tools that enable Quality Managers to identify coaching opportunities in near real-time, vastly improving the ability to impact agent performance and ultimately customer satisfaction.


In no uncertain terms, the pandemic permanently changed the landscape of the customer experience. As a result, contact centers are investing more in digital technologies, such as AI and automation software, to assist with the sharp increase in volume that resulted from closed doors and isolation.


Using AI to create a human-centric customer experience may seem like an oxymoron, but implementing AQM programs allows quality professionals to shift their priorities from analyzing data to more human-centric processes that guide agents toward becoming more empathetic and delivering extraordinary customer experiences.


In prior CX Insights issues, we’ve discussed how the contact center can be used as a valuable method to collect Voice of the Customer (VOC) feedback. AQM and VOC are similar in that they are both the automated collection and analysis of CX intelligence with a purpose of enhancing the customer experience. Where VOC relies on the customer taking an active role in providing their feedback, AQM observes, transcribes and analyzes interactions between agents and customers.


Automation significantly increases the breadth and depth of interaction intelligence available to contact center leaders. This deeper dive translates into consistent, positive experiences for the customer through a greater opportunity for coaching, professional growth and a better employee experience for the agent.


| TRANSITION THE QUALITY LEADER’S ROLE FROM ANALYST TO COACH

Quality management in a contact center is not a new concept. Contact centers began listening to, transcribing and analyzing calls over 40 years ago. However, when collected manually, only 1-2% of interactions were transcribed, resulting in a loss of customer experience intelligence. Automation increases the sample size to upward of 100%, depending on the organization.


The use of AQM has shifted the analyst’s role in the following ways:


Time Saver

With less time spent on gathering, sorting and calibrating data, more of the analyst’s focus can be applied to strategic quality management and coaching agents.


Objective Data

Automation removes human subjectivity and evaluates all interactions on the same scale.


Holistic Performance Evaluation

AQM provides macro and micro views on contact center health metrics, measured by sentiment, effort, emotional intensity and internal quality score. Analysts see the big picture to identify positive and negative trends in data and can then drill down and dissect to reach the root cause of those trends.


Real-Time Growth for Agents

Because AQM data is updated in real time, there is no waiting for monthly, quarterly or annual performance sessions. This leads to an overall better agent experience, with increased employee engagement, performance and recognition.


MORLEY EXPERIENCE:

Prior to Morley implementing an AQM program, analysts spent 20-25 minutes listening to a sample of calls and then another 30 minutes providing feedback to agents. With AQM, it takes roughly 10-15 minutes to pull a more comprehensive data set.


Multiply this by hundreds of managers and thousands of agents, and you can see how this small change translates into big benefits. AQM allows Morley Quality Analysts to deliver coaching more frequently and more accurately in less time.


Insight 1: The shift in the Quality leader’s role from data-centric to human-centric is the epitome of managing heartbeats, not spreadsheets.


| EMPOWER AGENTS TO DELIVER EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCES

Cogito surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers, ages 18 to 65+, to gauge their experiences and sentiment on customer service. The survey results emphasize the correlation between a positive employee experience and a positive customer experience.

AQM can bolster the agent experience by providing a more objective, more transparent collection of data that agents trust, thereby empowering their self-improvement.


Frequent, unbiased coaching can increase agents’ abilities to understand their role in the customer experience and increase engagement and growth. This is especially important in a virtual work environment where engagement can lag.


On the flipside, AQM also helps to detect early signs of agent attrition through negative trends in sentiment, empathy or response times. This allows leaders time to address and resolve budding employment issues and reduce turnover.


From the customer perspective, AQM measurements help businesses understand the overall health at each stage of the customer interaction and identify early indicators of customer dissatisfaction. Real-time data cuts the amount of time between issue identification and a solution.


MORLEY EXPERIENCE:

Based on feedback, we have found that Morley agents like seeing changes in their metrics in the AQM dashboard. It gives them a sense of ownership in their performance.


Using the non-biased system and providing a bigger picture of their performance enhances coaching sessions by increasing trust and removing doubt. Agents are aware of their struggles before being coached and are receptive to improvement opportunities that will positively impact their AQM dashboard results.


Morley Testimonials:

“I absolutely love AQM! I like knowing what my strengths are and my weaknesses as well, so that I am able to be the best advisor possible. I like getting feedback and suggestions."


“I love the AQMs! They help me learn so much about what I could do better and work on. It’s difficult to think about while also assisting the customer at first. Going back over it really helps me figure out a better process for handling in the future."


Since implementing AQM, Morley has recorded a steady, positive trend in call health metrics, which indicates higher customer satisfaction levels.


Insight 2: Employment experience and customer experience are intrinsically linked. Customers reap the benefits of a system that improves the employee experience.


| RECOGNIZE GAPS & ADAPT YOUR AQM


When implementing any new program an adjustment period is expected, and AQM is no different. Initially, the AQM’s word library might be limited and unintentionally record false negative experiences.


Context is often subjective in highly specialized or technical areas. Fortunately, AQM is intuitive, and Quality Analysts can refine the program to best meet business needs and standards.

 

MORLEY EXPERIENCE:

Morley Quality Analysts adjust the program daily. During a recent review, a negative sentiment score resulted when AQM “misheard” the agent’s comment (it appeared the agent said, “I already said . . .” when actually, the agent said, “Alrighty, is it okay . . .”). The interaction took place on Tuesday and the analyst updated the AQM system (and the agent’s score) on Wednesday.


Insight 3: What begins as growing pains, transforms into an intuitive process that provides agents with the tools they need to continually improve their performance.


Summary

When paired with VOC and CSAT scores, AQM provides real-time insights on agent interactions and customer brand perceptions. It’s a digital tool that is helping customer service agents and Quality Analysts to enhance both employee and customer experiences in a human-centric way.


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