Illustration by Eric Jackson

If you’re compiling your summer reading list, think about adding a few industry-related instructional posts to your lineup. Hot topics on the Pipeline blog included how to blend artificial intelligence with live-agent support, fun and motivational ideas for your training, coaching and team meetings, useful advice to get the most out of agent training efforts, a look at omnichannel WFM, and tips to help agents upsell more effectively. The following are our five most-read blog posts in June.

Blending AI with Human Support
The future of work and the impact that artificial intelligence will have on the workforce has been a hot topic lately. The publicity has been a bit unsettling, though, given the tendency to couple the acronym AI with the word “replace”—as in “AI Will Replace Half of All Jobs in the Next Decade” or “Could AI Replace Teachers, Lawyers, Drivers, Doctors, [fill in your job]?” These types of headlines might lead you to believe that call center agents will soon become unicorns, along with other support-type positions that include a lot of repetitive tasks and activities that can be automated.

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun
“Time flies when you’re having fun” is an idiom quite familiar to anyone that has been to a great party, family event, vacation or concert. First recorded around 1800, the idiom still applies today. Time flies while it is fun. If however, you are delayed at the airport for even a couple of hours those hours stretch out before you as if they will last forever. Your experience skews the perception of time.

5 Ways to Get More Out of Your Agent Training
When trying to meet and improve service level agreements, reviewing agents’ performance and providing adequate training is imperative for success. Unfortunately, making time for agent training doesn’t always seem possible. Contact centers are notorious for being extremely busy and agent time is closely monitored to ensure that customers’ calls are promptly answered. There are a few things that you can start implementing immediately to help meet training needs while investing less time and effort and improving your outcomes.

Workforce Management in the Omnichannel Age
The contact center credo is simple: When somebody calls, somebody should answer. As such, ensuring that a sufficient pool of agents is available to competently handle incoming queries at any given time is key to mission success. Too few and customer experience suffers, resulting in both frustrated customers and overwhelmed staff. Too many and operational efficiency suffers, resulting in both excessive expenditures and underutilized expertise.

7 Tips for Effective Upselling
I have had the same home phone provider for 25 years. I subscribed to that same company’s Internet service 18 years ago. Three years ago, I became a mobile phone customer with that same firm. This spring, I saw a flier in my mailbox advertising that same company’s TV service. So, I called and switched from cable TV to Internet TV. I am glad I did, since bundling all of my telecom/TV services saves over $1,000 a year versus using different providers.