Employee turnover is a major problem in customer service. Salesforce report that service organisations have experienced an average reported employee turnover of 19% in the past year.
For customer service leaders, this is a nagging pain. We recently spoke to one leader in this space who had resigned himself that he would have to constantly hire, and he would get one to two years out of most staff before they moved on. There is a cost to the business, both financially and in lost productivity, through these elements.
Burnout is often cited as a major factor that drives people away from the industry. With unpredictable peaks in traffic and increased pressure, agents at the coal face start to get worn down by customers who are, let’s put it mildly, not 100% happy. Career advancement is another factor at play that prevents agents from sticking around for very long.
Unhappy employees are unlikely to be great advocates for your business, and so customer experience suffers, and customer retention may be affected.
So how can retail businesses improve the employee experience, and in turn see improvements in their customer relationships. Here is how AI can help.
The Role of AI in Employee Retention within Customer Service
AI is revolutionising the customer support sector, not only enhancing productivity but also increasing worker contentment. It’s becoming an essential tool for reducing workloads and making processes smoother.
An efficient system makes happier workers; when daily frustrations decrease so does the turnover rate. Implementing AI is not just about enhancing customer service; it’s a strategy to boost employee morale and retain talent within your organisation.
Reducing the backlog
One key advantage that AI brings to the table is its ability to handle large volumes of data quickly. By automating tasks such as generating return labels or handling routine queries, employees aren’t doing menial copy and paste tasks while the queue of people to speak to them gets bigger. By speeding up some highly manual processes and reducing the backlog staff will feel less overwhelmed and experience a more rewarding workday.
AI-powered automation platforms can also do “ticket deflection”. While this term can be misleading, as we explored here, the idea that tickets are being satisfactorily resolved away from the customer service team is a powerful one for improving employee morale.
Speed of response
Beyond this, AI offers speed advantages which make everyone’s job easier. Quick responses are crucial in customer service; nobody likes waiting around – neither customers nor employees. Customers who aren’t dealt with quicker tend to raise more tickets, and get annoyed that they are not getting an answer to their initial question.
Modern AI tools like chatbots can respond to customers with a highly relevant and personalised response to ensure that they are at least feeling heard. If AI is connected with backend systems such as carriers and order management systems, then the chatbot can even answer and resolve the ticket.
This can happen in seconds, meaning that the customer gets what they want, and the agent may never even know about it.
Faster Processes through Centralised Information
Incorporating AI into your business doesn’t only increase speed but it consolidates information too. All relevant details are brought together into one place which means no more wasting time hunting down facts across disparate systems.
This centralisation creates a much smoother workflow for staff members who now have instant access to all necessary info right at their fingertips – leading directly towards increased productivity and satisfaction levels. Single platform solutions, empowered by artificial intelligence, play an instrumental role here.
Redeploying agents more effectively
For some people customer service is a vocation, a lifetime career path. For others it’s a short-term option in their lives.
If you have a range of young customer support staff who are leaving the business regularly, then one option to keep them within your organisation is to redeploy them. But if they are constantly busy dealing with tickets, you don’t have the spare capacity to do that.
Imagine you have a team of 5 young staff in your customer support team. What if you effectively deployed AI automation and could handle 20% of their workload? Then you could redeploy your staff to other parts of the business during normal weeks for a day a week.
For instance one of the staff could help out with social media one day a week, another could work in your warehouse or in store, and so on. You know your business, where could you do with an extra pair of hands once a week?
Then, when things get busy, you could pull these people back in. You have more capacity in CS, your business gets vital help, and more importantly you are giving your staff more experience and exposure to the rest of the business, furthering their careers.
More fulfilling tasks
AI plays a vital role in reducing the workload for employees by automating mundane tasks. It’s like having an extra pair of hands that never gets tired or calls in sick. For instance, generative AI can create return labels faster than humans could ever hope to do manually.
This efficiency boost doesn’t just lead to quicker processes – it results in happier staff too. When they’re freed from tedious jobs, employees have more time to focus on complex queries that need their expertise.
We’ve heard from our customers that they want to give their talented staff work that suits their talents. It’s not the most fulfilling job to be sending customers tracking codes throughout the day, but tackling a tricky problem and getting the opportunity to go the extra mile is much more rewarding.
An AI cannot use judgement in the same way that a human can to provide the best service. It is limited by how it is programmed. So if you empower your staff to use their judgement about when to offer discounts, refunds, or other freebies to try and improve the customer experience, that is a far better use of your resources.
It’s clear as day, isn’t it? AI is the secret sauce to boosting employee retention in customer service. It speeds up processes, making life easier for your team.
No more sifting through endless information – AI has got that covered. It brings everything together, reducing frustration and saving precious time.
But remember, implementation may not always be smooth sailing. Challenges will arise but they can be overcome with strategic planning and patience.
Looking ahead, we see a future where AI plays an even bigger role in keeping our employees happy and customers satisfied.
The bottom line? Embrace this game-changing technology today for a brighter tomorrow in your customer service sector!