Digital transformation has changed customers’ expectations when it comes to customer service. They don’t pick up a phone and call in with a query or complaint. They tag your organisation in an angry post on Facebook, or tweet their unhappiness so all their friends and family can see (and they don't only do this during convenient business hours). While you may have offered them a communication channel and expected them to use it in the past, they now expect you to meet them on their preferred communication channel.
Not only that, but customers today expect a company to have multiple communication channels. Companies must look at including omni-channel integration, real-time service, virtual agents and analytics in order to meet growing customer expectations. But can a traditional contact center agent meet these high standards?
One solution that has been bouncing around the contact center industry for many years is the idea of a super agent. Many companies have failed to bring this concept to life, but perhaps there’s a different way to approach the super agent idea - a secret weapon that might finally overcome the challenges of creating the super agent.
But first, let’s take a look at what you should look for in a potential super agent.
The characteristics of the real super agent
When looking for a super agent, you are looking for an exceptional individual with a wide range of skills. Here are the skills you should look for when identifying a potential candidate:
Ability to multi-task
The super agent will no longer be dealing with a single channel of communication. Customers shift channels and the super agent needs to be able to gather all of that information to get a complete understanding of the customer's problem. Also, the modern super agent will not only be handling a single customer, but needs to be capable of handling multiple customers across different channels, often concurrently.
Good communication skills
Whether the super agent is dealing with a customer via voice or text, they don’t only need to be able to reply in the correct manner. Super agents also need to be able to listen and empathise with the customer so that they can respond appropriately to their needs. This will help them present the solution in the best way possible.
Tolerance for high levels of stress
As wonderful as it would be for contact center super agents to be fielding compliments from their clients, the contact center super agent is often going to be exposed to unhappy customers and their complaints. Your super agent will need the mental resilience to ensure they keep their cool when facing extremely disgruntled customers on a regular basis.
Has a good understanding of an organisation and their products
A super agent is required not only to have an exceptional understanding of a company and its products, but could also be required to update their knowledge of those products frequently. Certain industries, such as the mobile phone industry, are continually updating their products and offering specials in order to entice new customers or to increase spending with existing customers.
Is adept at analysis and problem solving
A super agent doesn’t work from a script, but is able to take into account the unique characteristics of each situation in order to solve the problem in such a way that both the customer and company benefit. They also need to be able to process information from multiple sources.
Has a positive attitude
Even when dealing with the most difficult customers, the super agent needs to be able to keep a smile on their face and communicate in a positive manner.
Taking all these skills and characteristics into account, it’s obvious that finding an individual with all these skills is incredibly difficult. Is this why others have failed? Does this spell the end of the super-agent?
The secret weapon revealed - enter the “virtual assistant”
Yes, finding a candidate with all the suitable skills and characteristics is incredibly difficult, but could we circumvent this problem with the right tools? Would it be possible to equip the right contact center agent in such a way that they could transform into a super agent?
Merchants believes that this dream is finally a reality.
Using the latest in AI and machine learning technology, a “virtual assistant” bot is able to assist the agent, real-time. This virtual assistant means that your agent can be trained and ready to assist customers much quicker, as agents are no longer required to commit huge amounts of product, process and technical information to memory. Agents also no longer have to rely on scripted interactions designed from case-based reasoning or decision tree models, but can help the customer in a more fluid fashion, as the tool is able to assist the agent in gathering information by asking questions or presenting knowledge that is relevant to the customer’s case. This not only gives the customer a better experience, but also helps alleviate the need to multitask and handle cognitive load by providing the agent with a simpler, more relevant system. This means the contact center agent is better able to focus on problem-solving and delivering fantastic interactions with their customers.
Thanks to Merchants, the super agent, an idea that has been decades in the making, is finally closer to existence.