Preparing Contact Center Agents for the Tech-Driven Future

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Published:  March 25, 2024

Technology has always played a big role in customer service delivery, with automation raising efficiency beyond the level humans alone could achieve. And just when it seemed the benefits of automation had reached their limit, new AI capabilities have arrived to expand those limits further still.

For many years automation has been capable of performing predictable, repetitive tasks faster and more consistently that human workers; but it’s never been able to adapt independently to shifting conditions or “solve” problems. Today, a new breed of AI-powered automation is emerging as a truly complementary partner to human workers. Though still in its infancy, AI has demonstrated an ability to digest a critical mass of data and instantly generate a reasonable substitute for human-level output across multiple domains. Safeguards still need to be developed, but it looks like AI’s ability to solve problems won’t be far behind. How should today’s workers prepare for this new reality?

Intradiem hosted a mid-February meeting of the Forefront Executive Council in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to address that question. Each year Forefront brings together forward-thinking industry leaders in the U.S., Canada and the UK to share best practices on AI-assisted automation, and how technology is revolutionizing customer service by improving the experiences of contact center agents and customers. This latest Forefront event drew 41 attendees from 21 companies to discuss common challenges and share ideas on how to prepare contact center agents for a tech-driven future.

Intradiem CEO Matt McConnell opened the two-day session by highlighting the need to use technology in the service of people. “Your reputations are on the line with each customer service interaction, so effective support for frontline agents is critical,” Matt said. “AI and intelligent automation are demonstrating that they can help agents deliver experiences that consistently exceed customer expectations.”

Keynote speaker Kate O’Neill led a session on “The Tech Humanist Future,” sharing strategies to help businesses navigate the changing landscape and prepare for an increasingly tech-driven future. O’Neill described how organizations are using AI to create more meaningful connections with their customers and employees. That will the way for a more engaged, supportive workplace culture, which should contribute to greater customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Forefront attendees participated in a breakout session dedicated to customer service “moments of truth,” which refers to high-stakes interactions that require the nuanced understanding that only a human agent can provide. Participants divided into small groups and discussed the importance of maintaining the human-centric core of their customer service operations, and what the moment of truth means for their customers and their brands.

Attendees also participated in a panel discussion around the theme, “Transforming Contact Centers: Unleashing Value Beyond Costs.” the panel was moderated by Amy Gregory, Intradiem’s VP of Customer Enablement, and featured contact center leaders from the healthcare, banking, insurance, telecommunications, retail, and utilities sectors. The conversation focused on the need to maintain a healthy work environment while keeping operations costs under control.

On the second day, Chris Busbee, Senior Vice President of Product Management presented an overview of Intradiem’s product roadmap, and Senior Vice President Ted Lango shared insights on how to preserve and promote the human side of AI. AI is transforming the way people work, in every sector and in every functional role. Contact centers are especially ripe for the improvements AI will bring—which includes transforming automation from static execution tool into a dynamic, proactive partner to human workers.

Several Forefront gatherings will take place across North America in 2024, including in Toronto on March 27, Atlanta on April 24, and San Francisco on May 8.