Presented by Zendesk

Everyone’s talking about “The Great Resignation” with employees across industries impacted by it. Whether they’ve pursued a new job opportunity or been left behind to pick up their former teammates’ slack, people are feeling the pull and the data proves it. Since July 2021, the number of folks quitting their jobs in the U.S. and globally has soared to unprecedented heights.

The customer service industry, where employee retention is already historically challenging, has been hit especially hard. According to 27% of organizations surveyed by Zendesk and Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), staffing turnover has become problematic, up from 16% in 2020. Across the globe, the support team members still on board are increasingly overwhelmed: 52% of organizations say their employees get swamped regularly, while 30% report that their teams are struggling nearly all the time.

“Fundamentally the labor market is tight, and there are fewer people to carry the load in a lot of places as businesses struggle to hire across all departments,” says Shawna Wolverton, EVP, Product at Zendesk. “There’s a huge opportunity right now to bring efficiency and better tools to the table for your employees, so that that burden is lessened.”

Transform employee frustration into employee satisfaction

Customer service tools, powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), can automate workflows to not only improve an agent’s workload, but also improve the customer experience. In fact, companies that have accelerated their CX investment and use of tech are 4.2x more likely to say agent retention is excellent. And 17% of CX organizations said they plan to add chatbots and self-guided support in the next 18 months.

“When employees use tools that give some of that rote, repetitive, could-have-been-done-by-a-robot work to the actual robots, they are freed up to do the work that people are uniquely qualified to do,” Wolverton explains. “The work of adding tags to a ticket to route it, or searching a knowledge base to find an article that will help the customer, that’s not the fun part. The satisfying part is helping that customer, having a conversation, making an impact in that interaction.”

These AI-powered solutions are tremendously powerful, but until now, they’ve only been available to certain companies with bigger budgets. Automation tools traditionally require the skills of specialized, and expensive, AI and ML developers. Code is also costly to write, maintain, and run, in both time and resources.

Admins with little to no tech experience or aptitude can click and create experiences with built-in automation for their agents, without writing a single line of code. They can focus on solving the business problem while the third-party software company takes on the burden of capability creation, security upgrades, and scale. Low-code/no-code solutions are democratizing the technology and not only changing the game, but inviting more players to be a part of it.

Harness the power of AI to provide faster, more reliable customer service

We are continuing to see AI getting better but it needs to be applied in the right places. For example, teams can automate more of their processes and manual tasks, improving workflows and reducing busywork for agents. Costs are reduced, and customer demand is more easily met, which has proven to lead to happier, more productive support teams.

“Solving customer problems and leaving a customer happy is what gets an agent excited about getting up every day and going into the job,” Wolverton says. “We strongly believe getting all of that repetitive work and processes automated so that they can focus on the rewarding work is what’s going to keep their motivation high and keep them in your organization.”

It’s also about letting customers help themselves, she adds — more and more, customers want their answer fast, and waiting on the phone for the next available agent isn’t going to cut it. If you can get people their answer quickly and accurately through a search or through a bot, and then only escalate when the issue becomes more complex and a human is uniquely qualified to handle the issue, you’re going to have far more satisfied customers.

The accuracy comes from models trained on millions of tickets worth of successful and unsuccessful interactions — what it looks like when a customer is happy, when a customer is angry, and so on. Because it’s such a discrete area of focus, especially in customer experience, there’s overwhelming evidence that these models are able to predict and triage accurately, Wolverton says. And they can be easily developed and deployed on bots across multiple channels, including messaging, voice, and email.

“With low code and no code solutions, you can have the power of that team of PhDs without having to make that kind of investment,” she explains. “Most people who adopt these tools and processes will find that there’s a tremendous business benefit.”

Deliver great customer experiences to deliver business results

The ability to do transactions in some of these bot experiences is what really excites me in terms of what’s next     ,” says Wolverton. “What we’re trying to do at Zendesk is ensure that everyone gets the benefit of these tools that make the employee experience better, that make the customer experience better, and make businesses more successful all around.”

Foundationally, this means using basic point-and-click customization and configuration, without developers, to improve agent efficiency significantly. When agents can instantly see how an issue was solved on other tickets, immediately identify a customer’s sentiment, know how to triage a problem automatically – and end-user bots and automation allow customers to get answers at any time, day or night — you get more satisfied employees, and in turn, happier customers.

“It’s going to be a critical part of how businesses deliver great experiences to their customers,” she says. “We’re really excited about it.”

Find out more about the State of CX Maturity study from Zendesk here.

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