How Agent Assist Works
Harmonize existing systems and assist every agent in real-time, so that they can sell to, serve, and save customers just like your best agents.
Building Blocks for Agent Assist
Most of the hype around agent assist is related to the rise of real-time speech analytics and conversational AI, as well as the growing adoption of robotic process automation in the contact center. Contact center technologists will be wise to recognize that both are vital elements of an effective agent assist, and that there are several other key components that need to work in tandem to ensure that the agent assist lives up to its hype.
Real-time Conversation Intelligence has moved beyond keyword spotting. Listen to the conversation between the customer and the agent, transcribe to text in real-time with surprising accuracy, spot intents that agents might need assistance with, and look for non-verbal cues as well to detect the customer’s tone and emotion along the way. Traditionally, speech analytics has been faulted by the leading analysts for being too expensive and not being connected to real-time agent guidance and task automation. That’s changing now with Agent Assist.
Many contact centers say that they spend 50 to 75% of their classroom training helping new agents get familiar with the systems they need to use. As the cost of human error and missed sales opportunities are high, there is plenty of value in using a robot to automate certain mundane tasks with, well, robotic precision. The kind of RPA needed to help contact center agents is quite different from that which is used in back office settings where the agent could go hands off while the bot does its magic. Often referred to as robotic desktop automation, this is a form of attended RPA which tracks agents’ activities in real-time and jumps in to automate manual tasks working side by side with your agents.
Dynamic Process Guidance builds upon the core foundations of Call Center Scripting in that it helps agents confidently handle challenging conversations. Besides guiding the agent in real-time based on the ebb and flow of the conversation, agent assist uses process guidance to deliver a flexible and intuitive user experience for agents who may need nudges only during certain critical moments in the conversation. By delivering a personalized and guided user experience, agent assist helps agents conform to best practices 100% of the time, while enabling them to engage in authentic conversations with customers.
Workflow Automation simply automates a process or workflow that agents need to follow to fulfill a customer’s request. We are not talking about implementing case management, automating back-end systems integrations or using robotic process automation here. Focus on how you have documented your processes and best practices in your training materials, knowledge management systems and job aids. Agent assist helps you automate those agent workflows and guides them on what cannot or should not be automated, so that you no longer need to create job aids. What’s better? Your agents learn new ways to help your customers every time they use one of these guided workflows.
Agent Assist enables agents to learn as they serve, sell to or save customers. Going one step beyond simply automating knowledge search or extracting insights from an existing knowledge base, agent assist harmonizes process automation and knowledge consumption. By integrating to relevant back-end systems in real-time and delivering personalized responses to the question at hand, agent assist avoids the need to manage or present knowledge that is disconnected from business systems and customer data. When needed, agent assist leverages cognitive search and insight extraction services to surface relevant insights from knowledge management systems.
While agent assist attempts to proactively and preemptively help the agent by understanding the customer’s needs and anticipating the agent’s needs in real-time, it is no magic bullet. It is supported by an intelligent virtual agent that can answer quick questions from the agent. The virtual agent may respond with a personalized answer specific to the customer – agent context, trigger a robotic desktop automation, launch a guided workflow to help with next steps or simply surface relevant content from a knowledge base. In any case, your agents will not need to place your customers on hold, or reach out to subject matter experts every time they receive a challenging customer request.
According to Gartner, 18% of all phone interactions can be streamlined when the agent is able to digitally engage the caller. Agent Assist helps your agents connect with callers through their smartphone. If the caller had already been to your website before calling the agent, agent assist can also help your agents connect with the caller’s web session. Once connected, the customer and the agent can share context easily, exchange location details, pictures, videos, digital signatures and more to get on the same page quickly, drive sales and accelerate issue resolution.
Agent Assist can be delivered in various form factors. Embed the web application within your favorite agent desktop application. Surface it in a toolbar that slides in and out when needed. Enable the overlay mode so that agents get alerted in a timely manner even as they move away from agent assist and / or your core servicing application. And, of course, render it as part of a unified agent desktop to empower the ultimate universal agent. Often, our clients pick different user experience options for different agent groups, knowing that they can reuse and render the same agent assist capabilities in different form factors over time. Now, that’s the modular and flexible approach that boosts agent adoption and contact center performance.
Your agents are engaged in conversations with your customers about your processes. Both, conversations and processes, run longer than any given customer interaction. Agent Assist ships with an open and extensible context store that securely tracks just the right amount of customer context so that customers can pause and resume interactions between self-service and assisted service, get transferred between agents, but not have to repeat themselves ever. From rich screen pop to warm desktop transfers to entire guided workflows that can be paused and resumed, agent assist is instrumental in helping you deliver an effortless customer experience.
You have numerous ideas of what you can automate, and how you can boost agent performance. Forrester says that 8 out of 10 tasks performed manually in the contact center today can be automated. But it takes forever to launch a solution, measure results and drive meaningful improvement to KPIs.
The best part about building your agent assist using a low code platform is that you can go test your hypotheses and learn from your contact center operations in record time. With advanced analytics, you can tap into why agents adopt, why they abandon, why they get stuck and where they get stuck. Rinse and repeat. Test and learn by designing additional experiments. Make every agent your best agent.
5 Ways Intelligent Automation Optimizes the
Customer Experience and the Agent Experience
Popular Agent Assist Use Cases
Not an exhaustive list by any means, but hopefully enough to get your creative juices going. We recommend you use it as a cheat sheet to explore use cases, a topic we cover in greater detail in the Best Practices section of this guide.
Agents are required to remember their credentials for a variety of systems. When single sign-on goes only so far, the need to manage these credentials in a secure manner can overwhelm not only your agents but also your IT team that supports your agents’ password reset requests. Agent Assist provides a secure vault for your agents’ credentials and uses robotic desktop automation to automate sign-on to relevant applications in a timely manner. You don’t have to worry about security, and your agents don’t have to get distracted from their customer interactions. See what these agents had to say about the password vault.
Agent Assist automatically launches relevant applications using contextual information gathered prior to and during the customer interaction. Agents are no longer required to copy and paste the same info into multiple systems.
We discussed how conversation intelligence helps agent assist understand the topics the customer and agent may talk about. With RPA, agent assist is also equipped with desktop intelligence that identifies intents and extracts contextual information based on the agent’s interaction with various systems on the agent desktop. Agent Assist uses the contextual insight to enrich real-time intent recognition and the applicable automation of relevant next steps.
The contact center agent desktop is a highly secure environment in which the agent may not be allowed to use a physical notepad or any other digital notepad to take notes or even inadvertently copy sensitive information. Agent Assist steps in with a smart clipboard that keeps track of relevant information and makes it easy for agents to securely share such details across applications on the agent desktop. That is secure automation at the fingertips of your agents who badly need that assistance.
They say prevention is better than cure. That’s certainly applicable when it comes to recording sensitive information and then having to purge or redact it to comply with regulations. Most call and screen recording systems provide an API to pause and resume recording specifically for this purpose. However, it takes IT access, effort and in some cases additional licensing costs, to use such APIs effectively. Agent Assist’s RPA powered blackout capability steps in to pause and resume the recording exactly when the agent enters and exits the screens in which they handle sensitive information. That’s yet another way in which low code automation and RPA can accelerate process compliance and low IT effort.
Robotic Knowledge Automation
Many contact centers maintain very detailed instruction manuals for their agents. Agent Assist uses robotic desktop automation, real-time process guidance and natural language processing to automate the process based on instructions found in existing knowledge articles. Think of this as just in time RPA generated by Agent Assist as it reads a knowledge article. Agent Assist renders the steps which it could not automate as instructions for the agent, so that the RPA bot and the agent can share the same work stream. If you have it documented, you can have it automated as well.
Though agent assist typically favors attended RPA and desktop automation, it can also leverage unattended RPA when needed and isolate the application to be automated away from the agent desktop.
Anything that should be automated should be automated. It’s only logical to expect RPA bot and intelligent virtual agents to work together to deliver amazing customer experiences. We have discussed how agent assist can combine conversational AI and RPA to help agents. Agent Assist also has the ability to engage the customer using a virtual customer assistant, and securely share session context between customer and agent sessions, breaking barriers and blending different types of automation technologies to truly deliver on hyperautomation.
Agents spend a certain amount of time at the end of each customer interaction dispositioning the interaction, documenting their notes, and creating follow-up tasks as needed. The quality of their after call work tends to have an outsized impact on the customer experience in terms of next issue avoidance, as well as on the operation’s ability to retrospect on customer interactions at scale and improve systems and processes. Agent Assist tracks contextual information from the conversation as well as from the desktop and is uniquely suited to automated after call work not only to make it more efficient but also to make it more effective.
Agent Assist Powered By Low Code Contact Center Automation
Low code automation platforms that are purpose-built for modern contact centers can simplify the creation and continuous improvement of agent assistants. Check out how Jacada Interact, our very own contact center automation platform, is equipped to deliver on real-time assistance even during the most complex customer interactions.