Last update: 27 Oct, 2021
Agent Guidance is the next strategic step to make contact centres fit for the future, says Ralf Mühlenhöver, VIER Head of Product Strategy & Marketing. In an interview with CallCenterProfi, he explains why it is needed.
CallCenterProfi: Mr. Mühlenhöver, when it comes to the future of contact centres, Agent Guidance seems to be the new "must have!". Why?
Mühlenhöver: Agent guidance generally describes the support of employees in service and sales, but also in other company departments. This primarily refers to technological support through smart assistants, etc. This is a great thing for anyone who wants to succeed in customer service in the future.
CallCenterProfi: What is it specifically about?
Mühlenhöver: It is about guiding employees through the conversation with customers and supporting them in initiating the right actions in order to conclude the conversation with a satisfactory result in an adequate amount of time. Not only KPIs such as AHT and FCR play a role, but also customer satisfaction and, quite clearly, sales metrics. No classic script can do this; AI-based solutions are needed.
CallCenterProfi: What is really new about Agent Guidance?
Mühlenhöver: Above all, that the right information is provided by means of technology. AI supports, based on speech analysis, live transcription and contact reason recognition in the telephone conversation, by providing the right information, for example about products. AI recommends actions, provides arguments and triggers downstream processes. And it also enables all relevant data to be displayed in one interface, regardless of where the information comes from.
CallCenterProfi: In addition to saving time, this makes the agent's job easier - what does that do for the customer?
Mühlenhöver: They also benefit from the time saved, from reliable information and better-informed contacts. And it saves customers the annoying effort of having to repeat all the information several times. Conversely, companies can create a smooth transition from self-service to personal contact. This is essential when it comes to positively influencing KPIs such as reducing call duration. And it significantly increases the chances of upselling.
CallCenterProfi: We're talking about technology here - smart routing and smart assistants....
Mühlenhöver: Of course! "Smart routing" is an important keyword, because it is important that a request is routed to the appropriate employee. A modern ACD and an IVR can do much more than just transfer a call more or less correctly or classify it in a rudimentary way. Instead of the IVR voice portal, a virtual assistant, also called a voicebot, greets the caller by means of natural language. And it can also tell right away what mood the caller is in - an angry, annoyed customer shouldn't necessarily be routed to the trainee, who just roughly knows the products and may be overwhelmed. That's a noticeable improvement, for both sides.
CallCenterProfi: So it's about the further development of employees through technology?
Mühlenhöver: Yes, because "empowerment on the job" through smart assistants is about using technology to increase the decision-making authority of agents, to confirm or correct them in their work. In this way, agents can continuously improve and act as service superheroes, taking service to a new, higher level. AI-based solutions make this possible. And all of this without admonishing fingers and nasty looks. Great!