You know the drill. The seasonal holiday spike in ticket volumes is almost here and Black Friday is just the beginning. From that day and well into the New Year, support calls regarding returns, refunds, new orders, deliveries and simple product inquiries will keep pouring in.
Some customer service managers already have the go-ahead to hire holiday help, while others will be doing the best they can with what they have. Whether it’s time spent training new agents or empowering three customer service reps to do the work of ten, the holiday spike often requires fast ramp up and training for temporary hires and stress for thinly stretched support staff—adding up to extra expense and a risk to reputation. Unless that is, you have another solution.Meet your 24/7 super-agent: Machine Learning
Machine learning (ML) meets heightened expectations for quick, intelligent resolutions. It mines information otherwise hidden in online shopping carts, support tickets and interactions with products and promotions to understand patterns in customer behavior. It correlates that information into actionable insights to help new and current agents respond more effectively to customer inquiries, which is especially helpful during the holiday season. Equipped with machine learning as a 24/7 “super-agent,” support teams can handle a significant volume of tickets without increasing support time or compromising the quality of each agent-customer interaction.
1. Machine Learning Can Train New Team Members
In addition to the spike in transactions that weighs heavy on support, this peak shopping period puts a particular bent on the attitude of customers on the other end of the line. Many are rushed and can become irritated by slow or inadequate response. New, inexperienced agents can be more of a challenge than an asset when dealing with such a demand.
Machine learning applications watches your best agents to learn the most effective responses to customer inquiries. It can then recommend the best possible templates to new agents when similar questions arise. These built-in “best-responses” result in a drastically shorter learning curve to quickly get holiday hires comfortable and effective in their new role.
With machine learning, customer service managers don’t have to rely on a handful of go-to reps when in a pinch. Every rep is granted high performing attributes like deep intelligence, teamed with historical knowledge and quick thinking.
2. Machine Learning Can Shorten Response Times
Customer expectations around the holidays are generally heightened, and in inverse proportion to their patience. They want the answers to their questions and the solutions to their issues immediately. If they can't get them, they'll go elsewhere. Machine learning determines which issues to escalate quickly to defuse hot tempers from holiday shoppers.
Machine learning prioritizes and shortens response times by automatically determining which issues should be handled quickly. It can even match tickets with the best agent to resolve a problem. Think about an agitated customer calling about a damaged product they just received. With machine learning in place, this customer ticket is automatically escalated above a ticket about a less time-sensitive issue - like an inquiry about a product warranty policy. The ticket can then be routed to a representative most likely to save the sale.
3. Machine Learning Can Respond Automatically
One of the key features of machine learning is self-awareness. The application knows how confident it is in a particular response to a customer request, so it can take the easier tickets off the table, sending along the remaining tickets to be handled by your customer service team.
This approach ensures quick and consistent responses back to customers, but perhaps more importantly, it frees up your agents’ valuable time to focus on the more complex support inquiries that typically benefit most from a human touch. As a result, customers get better service and your agents feel like they are really making a difference instead of just answering the same questions over and over.
4. Machine Learning Can Start Right Away
Machine learning can easily incorporate into your current systems and support processes and start working immediately. There is no need to invest time and money into a training program, long installation or onboarding process that might take years to build and perfect.
Machine learning also automatically scales with your workload by becoming smarter and smarter with each ticket that comes in. And all of the information it gathers during the holiday season can then be used year round.
Integrating machine learning applications may replace or reduce the need to hire overhead for some organizations, which is the perfect holiday gift for your CFO this year. Machine learning also gives agents the tools they need to create engaging customer experiences and deliver superior customer service, which will sound like decking the halls with boughs of holly to support managers and their teams.
It’s not too late to put machine learning to work for you this holiday season. Find out how Wise.io can help you set your existing support team up for holiday shopping success. Or, download our case study to learn more about machine learning in action.