Improving customer support and agent experience in the age of AI

Increasing customer expectations has become the leading cause for change in support team structures and processes. Simply satisfying your customers is not enough anymore, you need to do things that go beyond that.
Priyanshu Anand
February 1, 2024

Improving customer support and agent experience in the age of AI

Increasing customer expectations has become the leading cause for change in support team structures and processes. Simply satisfying your customers is not enough anymore, you need to do things that go beyond that.
Priyanshu Anand
February 1, 2024

Improving customer support and agent experience in the age of AI

Increasing customer expectations has become the leading cause for change in support team structures and processes. Simply satisfying your customers is not enough anymore, you need to do things that go beyond that.
Priyanshu Anand
January 31, 2024

Heading

Although there is little certainty as to what the future holds, certain trends in customer support have become clearer with the advent of AI. Customers have become more self-reliant and AI has only aided that by enabling better self-help options which also benefit agents by freeing up their time to focus on more complex concerns.

Also, with AI in the picture, expectations have skyrocketed, causing customers to churn out if certain support benchmarks are not met. In this scenario, just resolving queries doesn’t cut it anymore. Now, it’s become more about what else can you offer that the customer would appreciate. In a way, the bare minimum is what’s expected, but you need to be able to go beyond that.

Going beyond customer expectations

Increasing customer expectations has become the leading cause for change in support team structures and processes. Simply satisfying your customers is not enough anymore, you need to do things that go beyond that.

A higher customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is still one of the most important metrics to measure support success and the companies projecting higher CSAT scores are those that have gone beyond just solving customer queries toward pre-emptively solving customer concerns and nurturing them to become brand advocates, amplifiers, and ambassadors.

The foundation of great customer support that lasts begins with representing brand values that stand out and are easily recognizable as something specific to your brand. The trick is to find opportunities to remind customers why they choose you. A longer-lasting relationship means higher retention and it’s not a mystery that better retention is more profitable for business than acquisitions.

AI can help improve self-service and act as the front line for all things support. It can also predict what other issues a customer might face and help solve those concerns beforehand. Threado AI, being the only tool that provides support on Slack, can be leveraged to automatically answer customer concerns on support-specific channels where nurturing these customers becomes easier. With better support in support communities, customers remain happier and it makes it easier for you as a brand to nurture and turn them into advocates.

Harnessing your team's insights

Your support agents are more than just a point of contact for customers; they are reservoirs of valuable insights into customer behaviors and preferences. It's crucial to break down silos and integrate your support team more deeply into your brand's development strategies. Their frontline experience makes them an invaluable resource for understanding what truly engages your customers.

Delivering immediate, cohesive support

With most consumers remaining loyal to brands that provide swift customer service, the pressure is on to meet these expectations for immediacy. Consistency is key to maintaining your brand's identity across all customer interactions. Establishing a clear tone of voice (TOV) ensures that every interaction, automated or otherwise, reflects your brand accurately. When considering automation, opt for a generative AI solution capable of seamlessly integrating your TOV, ensuring that even automated responses are perfectly aligned with your brand's messaging.

Empower your agents with AI

Great customer experiences are crafted from great support agents - the former does not exist without the latter. However, support agents can only craft great experiences if they’re empowered to do so through the right tools, lower ticket volumes, and manageable targets. Support teams have one of the highest attrition rates and lowest employee satisfaction leading to higher churn. This is what makes hiring and training one of the biggest challenges in support and frequent changes in team structure lead to constant pressure to resolve customer concerns at the least and not focus on going beyond expectations which in turn causes customer churn.

The need for support leaders right now is to empower agents by helping them help customers and not just blindly list targets. A burnt-out team quickly translates to a bad customer experience, eventually lowering CSAT and NPS. Bad customer experience adds more pressure onto the team, leading to higher team churn.

AI-powered tools can help empower your agents by assisting them to resolve customer queries faster. Threado AI is the only agent-first assistance tool that focuses on enabling agents to them provide better support.

How does Threado AI assist customer support agents?

  • Threado agent assist: A Chrome extension that sits on top of any helpdesk or ticketing platform uses AI to summarize customer tickets or conversations. The bot is also capable of auto-suggesting responses based on customer questions and the agent can ask the bot to auto-improve responses to fit the tone, sentiment, and intent of the customer.
  • Omnichannel support: Apart from providing agent assistance for ticketing platforms, the bot can be installed as a chat widget within the product, embedded on the website, and installed on Slack or Discord to auto-respond to agent queries. Threado is the only support tool that offers support on Slack.
  • Improve knowledge base: Agents can leverage the bot to get well-formulated answers to customer queries and fill in the gaps of the unanswered queries by improving the knowledge base aka data on which the bot has been trained.

How can you prioritize agent assistance?

Choosing Tech Partners That Support Agent Development

In today's competitive landscape, retaining top talent is more critical than ever. Enhance your support team's morale and commitment by partnering with technology vendors that invest in agent-centric innovations. Consider companies like Zendesk, which has introduced a range of generative AI tools designed to boost agent experience by streamlining their workflows and enhancing their capabilities.

Tracking Agent Well-Being

Monitoring customer satisfaction is standard practice, but assessing your team's happiness is equally vital. Regularly engage with your agents to gauge their job satisfaction, just as you would collect customer feedback. This proactive approach allows you to pinpoint improvement areas and foster a supportive environment that encourages career growth.

Leveraging AI for Automation and Growth

Routine tasks can become a drain on your team's motivation and efficiency. Implement AI-driven automation to handle these repetitive duties, freeing up your agents to focus on more complex and rewarding work. Redirect the resources saved into comprehensive training programs, skill development, and career advancement opportunities. This strategic investment not only reduces turnover but also boosts overall employee satisfaction.

Augmented intelligence: The realistic way to AI

When it comes to the question “Is AI going to replace human agents?” then the answer is a resounding “No” and there are a whole lot of reasons why so. But most importantly, human agents have empathy or emotional intelligence which goes a long way when it comes to customer support.

Imagine a situation where a customer faces frustration due to unforeseen system outages, technical errors, or perhaps accidental technical mishaps. Such scenarios are beyond the ordinary and fall outside the empathetic capabilities of bots or any form of AI. Only human agents possess the ability to truly understand, empathize, and determine the appropriate course of action in these instances.

This is why automation or AI, although necessary, cannot be omnipresent. Start by automating everyday tasks like answering repetitive queries, summarizing tickets, editing responses, and more. A hybrid approach with AI in the foundation while human agents make all the decision is the right and practical way forward.

Although there is little certainty as to what the future holds, certain trends in customer support have become clearer with the advent of AI. Customers have become more self-reliant and AI has only aided that by enabling better self-help options which also benefit agents by freeing up their time to focus on more complex concerns.

Also, with AI in the picture, expectations have skyrocketed, causing customers to churn out if certain support benchmarks are not met. In this scenario, just resolving queries doesn’t cut it anymore. Now, it’s become more about what else can you offer that the customer would appreciate. In a way, the bare minimum is what’s expected, but you need to be able to go beyond that.

Going beyond customer expectations

Increasing customer expectations has become the leading cause for change in support team structures and processes. Simply satisfying your customers is not enough anymore, you need to do things that go beyond that.

A higher customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is still one of the most important metrics to measure support success and the companies projecting higher CSAT scores are those that have gone beyond just solving customer queries toward pre-emptively solving customer concerns and nurturing them to become brand advocates, amplifiers, and ambassadors.

The foundation of great customer support that lasts begins with representing brand values that stand out and are easily recognizable as something specific to your brand. The trick is to find opportunities to remind customers why they choose you. A longer-lasting relationship means higher retention and it’s not a mystery that better retention is more profitable for business than acquisitions.

AI can help improve self-service and act as the front line for all things support. It can also predict what other issues a customer might face and help solve those concerns beforehand. Threado AI, being the only tool that provides support on Slack, can be leveraged to automatically answer customer concerns on support-specific channels where nurturing these customers becomes easier. With better support in support communities, customers remain happier and it makes it easier for you as a brand to nurture and turn them into advocates.

Harnessing your team's insights

Your support agents are more than just a point of contact for customers; they are reservoirs of valuable insights into customer behaviors and preferences. It's crucial to break down silos and integrate your support team more deeply into your brand's development strategies. Their frontline experience makes them an invaluable resource for understanding what truly engages your customers.

Delivering immediate, cohesive support

With most consumers remaining loyal to brands that provide swift customer service, the pressure is on to meet these expectations for immediacy. Consistency is key to maintaining your brand's identity across all customer interactions. Establishing a clear tone of voice (TOV) ensures that every interaction, automated or otherwise, reflects your brand accurately. When considering automation, opt for a generative AI solution capable of seamlessly integrating your TOV, ensuring that even automated responses are perfectly aligned with your brand's messaging.

Empower your agents with AI

Great customer experiences are crafted from great support agents - the former does not exist without the latter. However, support agents can only craft great experiences if they’re empowered to do so through the right tools, lower ticket volumes, and manageable targets. Support teams have one of the highest attrition rates and lowest employee satisfaction leading to higher churn. This is what makes hiring and training one of the biggest challenges in support and frequent changes in team structure lead to constant pressure to resolve customer concerns at the least and not focus on going beyond expectations which in turn causes customer churn.

The need for support leaders right now is to empower agents by helping them help customers and not just blindly list targets. A burnt-out team quickly translates to a bad customer experience, eventually lowering CSAT and NPS. Bad customer experience adds more pressure onto the team, leading to higher team churn.

AI-powered tools can help empower your agents by assisting them to resolve customer queries faster. Threado AI is the only agent-first assistance tool that focuses on enabling agents to them provide better support.

How does Threado AI assist customer support agents?

  • Threado agent assist: A Chrome extension that sits on top of any helpdesk or ticketing platform uses AI to summarize customer tickets or conversations. The bot is also capable of auto-suggesting responses based on customer questions and the agent can ask the bot to auto-improve responses to fit the tone, sentiment, and intent of the customer.
  • Omnichannel support: Apart from providing agent assistance for ticketing platforms, the bot can be installed as a chat widget within the product, embedded on the website, and installed on Slack or Discord to auto-respond to agent queries. Threado is the only support tool that offers support on Slack.
  • Improve knowledge base: Agents can leverage the bot to get well-formulated answers to customer queries and fill in the gaps of the unanswered queries by improving the knowledge base aka data on which the bot has been trained.

How can you prioritize agent assistance?

Choosing Tech Partners That Support Agent Development

In today's competitive landscape, retaining top talent is more critical than ever. Enhance your support team's morale and commitment by partnering with technology vendors that invest in agent-centric innovations. Consider companies like Zendesk, which has introduced a range of generative AI tools designed to boost agent experience by streamlining their workflows and enhancing their capabilities.

Tracking Agent Well-Being

Monitoring customer satisfaction is standard practice, but assessing your team's happiness is equally vital. Regularly engage with your agents to gauge their job satisfaction, just as you would collect customer feedback. This proactive approach allows you to pinpoint improvement areas and foster a supportive environment that encourages career growth.

Leveraging AI for Automation and Growth

Routine tasks can become a drain on your team's motivation and efficiency. Implement AI-driven automation to handle these repetitive duties, freeing up your agents to focus on more complex and rewarding work. Redirect the resources saved into comprehensive training programs, skill development, and career advancement opportunities. This strategic investment not only reduces turnover but also boosts overall employee satisfaction.

Augmented intelligence: The realistic way to AI

When it comes to the question “Is AI going to replace human agents?” then the answer is a resounding “No” and there are a whole lot of reasons why so. But most importantly, human agents have empathy or emotional intelligence which goes a long way when it comes to customer support.

Imagine a situation where a customer faces frustration due to unforeseen system outages, technical errors, or perhaps accidental technical mishaps. Such scenarios are beyond the ordinary and fall outside the empathetic capabilities of bots or any form of AI. Only human agents possess the ability to truly understand, empathize, and determine the appropriate course of action in these instances.

This is why automation or AI, although necessary, cannot be omnipresent. Start by automating everyday tasks like answering repetitive queries, summarizing tickets, editing responses, and more. A hybrid approach with AI in the foundation while human agents make all the decision is the right and practical way forward.

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