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AI: The Secret to Unlocking Optimal Employee Wellbeing

After a year where the emergence of technology like generative artificial intelligence (AI) has sent ripple waves across the customer service industry, many have begun to fear that AI is here to replace human agents. However, the reality is that AI can improve agents’ roles in the contact center due to its augmentation capabilities — acting as a trusted sidekick to allow for more meaningful and fulfilling tasks and interactions.

When deployed effectively, AI can have significant benefits across the contact center. AI is a key means of not just helping to foster increased engagement and enhanced productivity among agents, but it also is a crucial component of supporting supervisors in the contact center, so they can best ensure agents are meeting overarching goals. As a result, AI can improve overall satisfaction with work not just among agents but also among their management. In this article, we’ll explore how AI systems are capable of creating better work conditions in the contact center and ultimately improving the employee experience (EX).

Improving Job Satisfaction through Conversational AI

The average call center agent turnover was 35% in 2021 and 38% in 2022, which is the highest rate ever seen. To combat these rising figures, leveraging technology like conversational AI in the call center can lead to better outcomes for both customers and employees, resulting in improved job satisfaction, reduced turnover, and lower employee burnout.

Instead of replacing human agents, conversational AI can augment their work to handle customer interactions more efficiently and effectively. Agents can use AI-powered tools to access information and suggestions, guiding them through complex calls and making them more effective in helping customers and, overall, more positive to interact with. For example, it can surface relevant articles, provide links to the appropriate documentation for a specific customer inquiry, and offer guidance on modifying behavior during the course of a conversation. Among management, conversational AI is a key component that’s necessary for helping supervisors coach more effectively by offering detailed insights regarding areas of improvement to better enable their agents. For example, conversational AI can analyze both spoken and written interactions between agents and customers. This helps supervisors identify areas for improvement in communication skills, compliance with scripts, and adherence to company policies. Additionally, sentiment analysis can provide insights into customer emotions, allowing supervisors to address issues promptly.

When conversational AI is used strategically to enhance employee engagement, call center agents can feel more confident, happy, and have a reduced mental load and, in turn, are more likely to channel their satisfaction towards delivering high-quality work and cultivating meaningful customer relationships. In tandem with agents, supervisors can also feel more empowered and confident in knowing that by leveraging these capabilities, they are more effectively supporting their agents.

Upskilling Using Real-Time Feedback

In the transformative contact center space, introducing new technologies, software, and communication channels that will help to bolster employees’ skill sets is of paramount importance. One key example of this is through AI analyzing customer interactions in the moment to determine sentiment. By understanding whether a conversation is positive, negative, or neutral, the system can offer real-time feedback to supervisors and agents. This enables agents to learn from and improve upon issues to lead to a better outcome on the next interaction or be acknowledged for exemplary performance on the spot, fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptability for agents. Along with this upskilling, employees will become more satisfied and confident in their abilities.

Additionally, AI algorithms can predict potential issues or escalations during a customer interaction based on historical data. This enables supervisors to intervene proactively to prevent customer dissatisfaction or to provide additional support to agents when needed. As a result, businesses can optimize their operations, improve agent performance, and enhance customer satisfaction in real-time. This proactive approach contributes to a more efficient and responsive contact center environment.

Optimizing Workflows for the Long-Haul

Ultimately, AI can be leveraged to optimize workflows and enable employees to become more adaptable so they can concentrate on more strategic, value-added tasks. More specifically, AI-driven workforce management tools can predict staffing requirements, optimize scheduling, and help balance workloads among agents. With a better structured and balanced workflow, employees can become more adaptable and resilient in the face of change as the contact center continues to evolve.

For instance, AI can sense what humans need in the moment to augment their innate skills. And supervisors, in turn, can see this feedback and provide more strategic support for their workforce in real time. This all impacts the productivity and success of the entire organization through human and machine collaboration — positioning the contact center to embrace innovation, maintain a competitive edge, and meet the evolving demands of a dynamic customer service landscape. By optimizing workflows and reducing stress factors in this way, AI can create a more positive and productive work environment that leads to happier, engaged employees.

Revolutionizing EX with AI

All in all, when utilized effectively, AI can be extremely advantageous across contact centers. Rather than replace agents, AI is crucial for retaining engaged employees for the long haul. Its ability to render feedback in real-time to bolster employee skillsets can help optimize workflows in their entirety. Given these capabilities, it’s undeniable the integration of conversation AI in contact centers is indispensable for ushering in a new era of efficiency, employee satisfaction, and operational excellence.

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