What Is Agent Assist?

Get to know the new buzzword. Ignore the hype and learn what’s still understated about Agent Assist.

What

Agent Assist is software that boosts the performance of contact center agents by assisting agents in real-time, during live customer interactions.

How

Agent Assist helps your agents diagnose what your customers need, automates their mundane tasks, and guides agents in real-time to next best actions in a simple and instructive user experience.

Why

So companies like you can onboard new agents more effectively, increase operational efficiency in your contact centers and grow revenue faster without having to grow your contact centers at the same rate.

Make Every Agent Your Best Agent With Agent Assist

 

Customers are 10x more likely to recommend when employees answer all customer questions, and 2.4x more likely to stay when companies solve customer problems more quickly #agentassist #jacada #forrester #cx #nps

Forrester's ROI of CX Transformation, 2021 Tweet

Agent Assist is a key technology that enables modern contact centers to execute well on the four pillars of great customer service:

  • Getting Connected: Help contact center agents connect with customers with complete context of their self-service journeys.
  • Process Orchestration: Enable contact center agents and other staff to follow processes, while complying with best practices and industry regulations.
  • Knowledge & Insight: Assist contact center agents and other members of the customer service workforce to quickly answer customer questions and deliver actionable recommendations that drive customer loyalty.
  • Resource Management: Make every agent the best agent in the contact center, by simplifying their on-the-job experience so much that it not only leads to better customer experience outcomes but also reduces agent onboarding time, agent stress level and agent attrition. 
Four PIllars of Great Customer Service
Many contact centers have attempted, in the last few decades, to execute on these pillars of great customer service without using a dedicated tool or competency. Quite often the tools required to execute on these four pillars come from contact center platforms, CRM platforms, knowledge management systems and workforce engagement management systems.
As you’ll find in the rest of this guide, the majority of contact centers, regardless of contact center size, unfortunately suffer from growing complexity, thereby requiring a targeted strategy, competency and technology to assist agents in real-time, not just before or after the moments that matter during a live customer interaction.
So who uses Agent Assistance solutions?

Company Sizes: Large enterprises have long found value in the technology, but it’s important to point out that agent assistance isn’t just for big companies. In fact, Small and Mid-Sized Businesses (SMBs) make up the largest growing segment in the agent assist technology space right now. (That’s any company with between $5 and $500 million in annual revenue.) And thousands of companies even smaller than that use agent assist as well.

Industries: Companies across all industries are using agent assistance. The early adopters were primarily in telecommunications, media & entertainment, technology, banking, financial services and in business process outsourcing services. But increasingly, companies across all categories – including utilities, healthcare, travel & hospitality and ecommerce, among others – are adopting agent assist for its real-time, interaction-oriented approach to enhancing customer lifetime value and operational excellence.

What is Included in Agent Assist?

Real-time Conversational AI (Text & Speech Analytics)​

Robotic Process Automation (Desktop Automation)

Scripting & Process Guidance

Workflow Automation

Knowledge Integration

Digital Customer Engagement
Intelligent Virtual Agent
Flexible & Modular UX
Context Store
Usage Reporting & Analytics

Most Agent Assist products offer some combination of these capabilities. In a subsequent section, we will explore these capabilities further and explain how they work together to help every agent in your contact center sell to, serve and save customers just like your best agents.

What Agent Assist is Not?

We’ve talked about what agent assist is. Now we need to cover what it is not:
Fancy Word for Scripting
Call scripts have been around as long as call centers have. While they have their own negative connotations, they have their rightful place as well in boosting agent productivity, process compliance and customer experience. It’s easy to misconstrue an AI powered agent assist as nothing but a call script that is generated in real-time based on the live customer interaction.
Most call scripts are set in stone once designed, while only few scripting solutions are advanced enough to offer dynamic guidance based on the live customer interaction. Without the use of real-time conversational AI or robotic process automation triggers, scripting solutions are incapable of offering real-time guidance to the agent based on the curveballs that the customer may throw at agents.
Moreover, like the term suggests, agent assist addresses a diverse set of agent assistance and task management needs that are typically not addressed by other tools on the agent desktop — from simple scripting and guidance that help navigate tight corners and comply with processes to task automation that eliminates the need for repetitive data entry, and end-to-end workflows that help agents across convoluted processes, agent assistants come in many flavors that go way beyond dynamic scripting and guidance.
What’s more, agent assist combines robust, insight-focused capabilities from your CRM, contact center and digital platforms and other systems to create something that’s more than the sum of the parts. That means you get insight that can grow your business without necessarily having to grow your contact center at the same rate.
A Next Best Action Recommendation Service
The world of contact centers does not need one more recommendation service. The poor agent is already presented with numerous recommendations that steer them away from the customer, requiring them to place the customer on hold in several scenarios.
Your agents need actionable guidance that can help them execute on the recommendations your systems of insight may generate. For some businesses, it’s a next best offer system that recommends which product or service the agent should cross-sell or upsell. For others, it’s a proactive recommendation to boost the customer’s utilization of available services and reduce the risk of customer churn. While the availability of real-time conversational AI and attended RPA capabilities makes it easier to recommend next best actions, great agent assist solutions don’t simply surface such recommendations. They walk the agent and customer through the recommended course of action to ensure that the insights are converted to actions in real-time. For instance, it’s quite common for customers to ask follow-up questions when an agent presents the next best action. What good is the next best action or offer if the agent is unable to navigate the free-form Q&A with absolute authority over the subject matter? That’s where an agent assist steps in to offer dynamic guidance and boost customer trust in doing business with you.
A Way to Surface Your Knowledge Base
As the accuracy level and responsiveness of real-time call transcription has gone up, and compute and licensing costs for real-time speech analytics has gone down, the tech community’s excitement to automate call center interactions has also grown exponentially. While the technology holds promise, it’s the application that matters, as always.
Unfortunately, it’s become commonplace to suggest that call center interactions can be automated by simply surfacing knowledge search results based on keywords, intent or entity data captured using real-time speech or text analytics. As agents are overwhelmed with various tools on their desktop, they’re likely to ignore these knowledge search results or place the customer on hold to read them, both of which defeat the purpose of meaningful call center automation.
Certainly, there’s a wealth of insights in your knowledge and presenting the right information at the right time to the agent is still very close to the holy grail of customer service. That is why an agent assist makes knowledge actionable without adversely affecting the KPIs that matter.
A Way to Test and Improve a Customer-facing Virtual Agent
Clearly, automation use cases that are battle tested in the contact center with your staff can be considered candidates for customer facing automation as well. However, the agent assist is much more than a testbed for virtual customer assistants. Your contact center staff and the broader customer operation face unique challenges that require targeted employee assistance capabilities. An agent assist, or the employee virtual assistant, as it is sometimes called, is purpose-built to assist your employees as a digital buddy or digital twin, with the ultimate goal of boosting the customer experience and employee productivity.
A Solution That Delivers Value Without Effort
There is a sense of magic around an agent assist that guides the agent on next best actions based on a live customer interaction. That said, it’s important to understand how agent assist works, and the supporting environment it needs to thrive and truly assist agents deliver effortless customer experiences. Teams that design and implement agent assistants require a broad understanding of the agents’ needs, customers’ needs and the role of automation, AI and user experience to deliver results sustainably. The best agent assist products make it easier for teams to leverage typically disparate capabilities and competencies around conversational AI, robotic process automation and user experience design. We will step into this in greater detail in subsequent sections of this guide.

What are the Benefits of Agent Assist?

Software used to assist contact center agents in real-time to help them serve customers effectively and efficiently.​
Reduce Training & Ramp up Time
Reduce Errors & Boost First Contact Resolution
Reduce Average Handling Time
Boost Sales and Protect Revenue
Improve Employee Experience
Improve Customer Experience

Worksheet: Are You Ready for Agent Assist?

Most contact center agents are knowledge workers who need to double down as empathetic problem solvers for your customers. In today’s fast paced business environment, the work of the contact center agent is only becoming more and more challenging.
Contact center complexity comes in many forms. Some contact center agents deal with multiple applications (the average is 8.9 according to research from Gartner), while others may only have a handful. Regardless of the number of applications on the agent desktop, contact center agents are often required to master business best practices, company policies and industry regulations and competitive insights to win customers over and over again, one interaction at a time. Take this survey to assess how badly you need an agent assist.

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Why is Agent Assist Hot Now?