The best tech support agents have a little secret: They aren’t doing their jobs all by themselves. They’re not cheating. They’re not slacking. But they are getting help from an outside source that lets them be more effective: smart technology solutions that enhance human agents’ capabilities by adding speed and precision.
These technologies aren’t intended to fully replace humans, of course. 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.
5 Smart Solutions That Improve the Tech Support Experience
Five smart solutions that improve the tech support experience for both the customer and the agent include:
Mobile Messaging and Text Support
Some customers don’t enjoy being walked through product setup or tech troubleshooting via a phone call, because it’s more work for them. They have to find model numbers or a name on their product; try to describe, using only words, their support query or problem; and dig up manuals or instructions so an agent can tell them what page to reference. For more complex support needs, they may need to take time to write down everything the agent tells them for later reference.
Mobile messaging channels and text apps offer a much smoother experience on the customer end. A picture is worth a thousand words, and there’s no way to add a visual experience to a phone call.
With messaging, customers can:
- Send photos so agents can tell them exactly where to find a model number or where a button is located.
- Send videos so agents can see for themselves how something is malfunctioning and begin diagnosis and support.
- Get a ready-made physical record within the messaging app of how-to steps or tips for easy reference.
- Send a picture of a receipt to get assistance with warranties or part replacements, or with adding points to a loyalty program.
With visual aids to reference for messaging support queries, agents can often resolve issues faster, helping them be more productive—and, in turn, improve customer satisfaction.
Messaging also has the added benefit of concurrency: Agents can handle two or even three conversations at one time, which helps to drive down labor costs.
Live Video Support
While mobile messaging support can be effective for many queries, and also allows customers to send a prerecorded video to get support, sometimes it’s easiest for both customer and agent to “go live” to resolve an issue.
Mobile phone camera support allows an agent to see what the customer is seeing—how a product is malfunctioning, for instance—to walk customers through a solution more effectively. If the customer calls with a support question that is challenging to resolve using only voice, an agent can activate their video camera and text the customer a link to click. Once the customer clicks the link, they can point their phone’s camera at the product and the agent can begin troubleshooting based on what they’re seeing.
Live video support also can be used to help guide a customer for other forms of product support, like software troubleshooting or which accessories to buy to complement other tech products. The customer can initiate a video call that shares their desktop, so the agent can see what is on the customer’s screen and guide them on where to click and what to do. The customer can also see their agent’s face, which adds a human touch to a tech support interaction, building trust and deepening the customer’s relationship with the brand.
“Agent Assist” Bots
Most agent attrition happens in the first 90 days of an agent’s employment—after they’re done with formal training, but before they’re fully up to speed. Some of this attrition can be avoided by deploying agent training bots and virtual assistants, which provide the backup that newer agents sometimes need and helps them get more comfortable finding answers on their own.
If a customer calls with a tech support question the agent doesn’t know the answer to, instead of putting the customer on hold and searching for the answer manually, the agent can click into the training bot or virtual assistant and select the query. The technology automatically guides them through the resolution process, highlighting in real time the areas on their desktop they need to click to find information, and/or prompting them with the questions they need to ask to obtain relevant information.
Robotic Desktop Automation
Some tech support queries—such as a consumer reporting a defective model that is under warranty—require an agent to have multiple screens open on their desktop at once so they can look up warranty information, file a claim, add the information to the CRM system and so on. Many of these processes entail manual steps that can be—and should be—automated.
In this scenario, 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, searches for and locates information, and so on.
Processes that take minutes when done manually can be reduced to a few seconds with robotic desktop automation, saving money by cutting out inefficiencies. Customer and agent both spend less time on a call, 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.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Contact centers can tie AI into a cloud-based knowledge management platform to improve resolution rates and make agents more effective, even for more challenging tech support queries. As an agent types keywords into a search bar, the AI serves up the right information, much faster than an agent manually searching. This is good for both the customer, in terms of their satisfaction, and the agent, in terms of efficiency. (And for the contact center; it lowers costs by reducing AHT.)
Contact centers can also deploy AI with natural language processing (NLP) to a cloud-based phone system or messaging platform. The AI “hears” the customer’s query as the customer speaks it into the phone, or “reads” what the customer types into a message, and instantly populates the agent’s screen with a predicted response. The agent only needs to deliver the answer and personalize the interaction.
A Better Experience Leads to Positive ROI
To create a more effortless tech support experience for both customers and agents, operational leaders can deploy a combination of these smart solutions that makes the most sense for their workflows—and immediately begin seeing the return on investment.
When live-agent capabilities are combined with smart technologies, customers get faster service and first-call resolution rates increase, resulting in improved customer satisfaction (Csat) and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). Agents’ jobs are less frustrating, stressful and manual, so they are more satisfied with their jobs, and attrition—which costs time and money—goes down. And the happier and more effective an agent is, the better ambassador for a brand they become.