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Latest 17 Jul 2018 | Customer Service

Social Customer Care Agents: Why AI is a Help, Not a Hindrance

Being a part of a social customer care team can be extremely stressful. Not only are you expected to know everything about every part of the business, you’re also expected to experience abuse, complaints, media crises and general negativity as part of your day to day job.

Whilst having the necessary skills to handle these contacts is essential to the success of the customer care operation, it’s also essential to have the correct tools and support from behind the scenes. These kinds of conversations are going nowhere fast. However, they are changing as the general public gets used to the idea of social customer care, and also as the technology changes to support it. So, what do agents think of this?

Conversocial has seen a massive shift from public to private over the last year especially. The approach of the customer is now “I want a resolution to my problem, I don’t want to be seen to be complaining by my friends and family on social media, but I can still go public if it doesn’t go my way”. So, although the initial conversation between customer and agent may not be as stressful, there is always the potential for a public explosion which creates a different kind of pressure.

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There is also the expectation from some customers that complaining on social channels means that they will get their own way. This is a hangover from around 4 or 5 years ago when social customer care was still in its infancy. Businesses who were still figuring it out would give customers whatever they wanted in the fear that the business would be seen as ‘bad’ or ‘uncaring’ online, and so would create a bad reputation. The world of social customer care has now moved on, and businesses tend to be unafraid to keep to their policies and explain them to customers, rather than bending the rules more often than they would on legacy customer care channels. Obviously, this can sometimes create friction and so more difficult conversations for the agents to handle.

Conversocial can help agents with this in many ways. When training agents, the most common reaction is ‘It’s so straightforward to use!’. Taking the focus away from tedious processes and background work enables agents to do what they do best – provide brilliant customer care. The analytics allows managers to see where the issues are that customers are facing, and so can report back into the business to make essential changes that make everyone’s lives easier.

One of the biggest changes that have been a stress reliever for agents is to allow them to work on their specialist subjects. All businesses have many different areas, and no agent (no matter how good) will know everything about every part of a business. Often, we see agents having to look up information, ask other members of the team for help, or refer conversations to managers for more help. Allowing agents to work in their areas of excellence reduces this effort – again, agents can focus on providing excellent customer care and giving the customer better conversations, rather than wasting time.

Automation helps with data gathering especially and has a surprising number of benefits. Response times and handling times are dramatically reduced, with agents not having to spend time on this part. Agents can then spend their time focusing on finding a resolution and building a relationship with the customer.

Another way that technology is helping is with automation on private messaging.  Although some people think that AI is taking over the world (it’s not!) a human touch will always be needed to create the best customer experience. Customer care needs creativity to find the best solution, and a relationship needs to be built between business and customer. Data gathering, on the other hand, does not need this.

Automation helps with data gathering especially and has a surprising number of benefits. Response times and handling times are dramatically reduced, with agents not having to spend time on this part. Agents can then spend their time focusing on finding a resolution and building a relationship with the customer. This part is also helped by customers calming down a lot before even speaking with an agent. Customers know that their message will be handled and that they won’t be ignored. Customers also have to think about what information to provide, giving them time to settle down. By the time they speak to an agent, customers are much less agitated.

As well as this, automation relieves the agents from asking the same questions over and over again (name, email address, order number, etc……) before being able to address the matter at hand. Boredom is a very real danger, with similar questions and complaints being dealt with by agents. Taking away this part makes the job much more interesting, and keeps the agents engaged, making for a much happier social customer care team!

The stresses of being in a social customer care team has changed and evolved with the platforms and customer expectations. However, there is now more support than ever from Conversocial. Agents now have the skills, tools and confidence to like their jobs more than ever before.

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