By Anand Subramaniam , SVP Marketing eGain
CX performance has dropped, or stayed stagnant at best, over the last couple of years, according to most industry surveys. The Forrester CX Index trend says it all. The percentage of companies offering “excellent customer service” (score of 85% to 100%) has been: 1% in 2016, 0% in 2017, and 0% in 2018.
Forrester Consulting surveyed 5,000 consumers on our behalf about their biggest pain points in getting customer service. The top hurdle, by far, was lack and consistency of agent knowledge.
Despite continued investment in onboarding and training, why are agents struggling to answer customer questions? The reasons are manifold, but here are some key ones:
The famous Moore’s law not only applies to compute power but also to the explosion of information and content, even when it is specific to a business.
Agents are expected to answer increasingly complex questions from customers, who are likely to be irate since they would have already tried out self-service in vain. In some cases (e.g., BPOs), agents may be serving customers of multiple clients, which compounds the challenge!
Demographics, science, and legacy tools conspire to make their job even more difficult
Then there is the “forgetting curve”: A concept pioneered by Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, it refers to the rapid deterioration of human memory over time. This memory decay is also called “transience.” Ebbinghaus’ research showed that humans retain only 25% of information after two days of learning something. Research by the University of Waterloo says we retain only about 2%-3% a month later. And then there are Daniel Schacter’s seven sins of memory which describe, apart from transience, six more ways memory is sabotaged—absentmindedness, blocking, misattribution, suggestibility, bias, and persistence.
Millennials and Gen Z like to live “guided” lives—GPS for driving, and robot advisors to manage finances. They would rather “look it up” or search for answers than retain knowledge in their heads. Instead, much to their dismay, they find themselves using legacy knowledge base tools, which make them wade through tens or hundreds of irrelevant search hits, pore over documents, or hop across multiple applications to find answers when the customer is on the line.
Facts and figures are not the same as analytical and problem-solving skills. Knowing a company’s products and policies isn’t the same as resolving issues or providing contextual advice to the customer. Training does a good job with the former but agents (and customer self-service systems) need a solution for the latter, which can also complement the former.
The answer lies in a modern knowledge management (KM) system, infused with AI, that can guide agents (and customers in the case of self-service) to the answer needle in a haystack of content and through customer conversations. Modern AI-infused KM also addresses all the other issues mentioned earlier:
Here are some real-life results from our blue-chip clientele, powered by our knowledge and AI guidance tool:
Telco giant achieved 30% improvement in NPS (Net Promoter Score), 23% improvement in FCR (First-Contact Resolution), and 100% improvement in agent speed-to-competency across 10,000 contact
Leading telco reduced unwarranted handset exchanges and returns by 38% through
Leading manufacturing company deflected 33% of calls to guided customer self-service
All these clients had significant agent training programs but also thought that in-band search and process guidance for agents and customer self-service systems would be a great complement to training. They were more than right—the proof was in the results pudding, which was nothing short of transformational!
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