Using Smart Solutions to Create Low-Effort, High-Value Tech Support

Low-effort support should not be viewed as synonymous with lazy. From a consumer perspective, when a product or service is not working as planned, the idea of having to give a maximum amount of effort to get an issue resolved doesn't sound all that appealing. And, from an agent perspective, if technology is able to help automate quick issues so she doesn't have to spend company time and resources to simply tell someone to restart their device, this is a win too.

Smart technologies aren't intended to or able to fully replace humans. Contact centers are still very much in need of empathetic, friendly, helpful tech support agents who add a personalized touch to customer interactions and put a face and name to a brand. But these solutions make those human agents' jobs easier by helping them find the right information quicker and get to a resolution with less effort, and that, of course, is good for the customer, too.

Five smart solutions that will help improve the tech support experience by creating low-effort processes for both the customer and the agent include the following:

Robotic Desktop Automation

There are some tech support cases that require agents to have multiple screens open on their desktop at once to look up warranty information, file a claim, add information into a CRM system, and so on. Many of these processes entail manual steps that can be and should be automated.

With robotic desktop automation, certain processes or support queries are designed to trigger automated workflows in which a bot automatically pulls up and interacts with the correct systems and apps, populates information in the right fields across different windows, clicks through to the next steps, and searches for and locates additional information.

Processes that take minutes when done manually can be reduced to a few seconds with this type of robotic desktop automation. This ultimately can save companies money by cutting out inefficiencies. Customers and agents both spend less time on calls, including less time on hold. This also saves the agent from having to perform actions that are easy but repetitive and sometimes frustrating, like having to toggle between screens and windows or copy and paste information from one system to another.

Mobile Messaging and Text Support

Getting on a phone call to talk through tech troubleshooting isn't for everyone. In some instances, it can be more work for customers to try and describe their problems and then to try and find model numbers or dig up manuals so the agent can tell them which page to reference. It can get to be a lot.

Mobile messaging channels and text apps offer a much smoother experience for customers. A picture is worth a thousand words, and there's no way to add a visual experience to a phone call.

With visual aids to reference for messaging support queries, agents can often resolve issues faster, be more productive, and, in turn, improve customer satisfaction.

Messaging has the added benefit of concurrency: Agents can handle two or even three conversations at once, which helps drive down labor costs.

Agent Assist Bots

Agent training bots and virtual assistants can provide backup for occasional needs. They also help agents get more comfortable finding answers on their own.

If a customer calls with a question that an agent doesn't know how to answer, instead of having to put the customer on hold and search for an answer manually, an agent can simply click into the training bot or assistant and select a query. The technology will then automatically guide agents through the resolution process, highlighting in real-time where they can find information, and/or prompting them with the questions they need to ask to obtain the right information.

Live Video Support

Mobile phone camera support allows agents to see exactly what customers are seeing, including how products could be malfunctioning. It might be difficult to resolve an issue using only voice. Agents can activate their video cameras and text customers relevant links to click. Once customers click the links, they can then point their phone cameras at the products and the agents can begin troubleshooting based on what they're seeing for themselves.

Artificial Intelligence

Contact centers can tie AI into their cloud-based knowledge management platforms to improve resolution rates and make agents more effective. As agents type keywords into search bars, the AI serves up the right information much faster than agents can through a manual search. This is good for both the customer and the agent. And for the contact center, it lowers costs by reducing handling time.

Contact centers can also deploy AI with natural language processing to cloud-based phone systems or messaging platforms. The AI will then hear the customers' queries or read them as they are type into messages and instantly populate the agents' screens with predicted responses. Agents only needs to deliver the answer and personalize the interaction.

When live agent capabilities are combined with smart technologies, customers get faster service and first-call resolution rates increase, resulting in improved customer satisfaction and Net Promoter scores. Agents' jobs are less frustrating, stressful, and manual, so they are more satisfied with their jobs. Attrition, which costs time and money, goes down. And the happier and more effective agents are, the better ambassadors they become for the company.

Tom Jones is vice president of business development at Hinduja Global Services (HGS), a provider of business process management.