It’s that special time of year, when retailers around the world look to bolster their ranks with seasonal staff to meet the surging demand of the holidays. Advances in training and support tools that aid the onboarding process of these recruits can ensure that new agents are ready to deliver a cheerful (and on-brand) experience in record time. High-quality training can prepare an employee not only to provide excellent service to customers, but to act as an ambassador for a brand while building loyalty, increasing revenue, and cultivating a lasting positive reputation. Training combined with hands-on experience navigating nuanced and emotionally charged customer interactions on behalf of a specific brand can produce agents with the expertise, strategies, and knowledge to turn any challenge into an opportunity. And AI-powered tools provide information and insight that brings the skills of temporary seasonal employees closer to expert-level contact center agents during the most high-stakes time of the year. 

Real-time data = really fast solutions 

Onboarding seasonal workers means providing a basic framework of the fundamentals and then sending them off to the races as soon as possible, but there’s a lot to learn in the process. Not only are seasonal employees tasked with learning new technology, but they also need to gain product knowledge and brand awareness—fast. By pairing inexperienced agents with AI-powered contact center platforms like Talkdesk Retail Experience Cloudwhich includes tools that analyze language and provide guidance during customer interactions—new hires have access to a valuable wealth of information that mitigates their lack of product and company knowledge. Even a veteran CX agent may need to put someone on hold from time to time to check with their manager or look up a specific product or policy. But AI helps to reduce friction for both the agent and the customer, providing instant information and solutions. With technology that listens to customer interactions in real-time, analyzing the customer’s needs, then tapping its knowledge base to proactively present the correct process, answer, or policy, agents (new and old) are positioned to improve CX across the board with less effort and faster resolution times. As a result, seasonal agents don’t need to sweat locating detailed return guidelines they’ve never seen before, and the customer enjoys continuity during a call free of breaks and wait times. And with tools like Agent Assist, which also transcribes interactions in real-time while generating suggested solutions and next steps,  agents are free to focus on actively listening to customers instead of taking notes or looking things up while offering an empathetic ear.    Additionally, Agent Assist can listen for certain words or phrases, prompting the agent to upsell or take a customer deeper during an exchange. For example, if a customer says they are going on a trip soon, the agent may be presented with a set of travel products to mention to the customer, elevating a seasonal worker’s abilities to those of an accomplished veteran.    All these benefits mean that AI can decrease ramp-up time, improve compliance, and help ensure that seasonal agents consistently ‘wow’ your customers even during their first few days on the job. 

Identifying retail trends and personalizing coaching

To complement assistance during interactions, Talkdesk CX Analytics tools such as Interaction Analytics and QM Assist can also support contact center leaders in big picture analysis after a call has ended.  Interaction Analytics aggregates data from  every single customer interaction and identifies trends to guide managers in ensuring high quality and consistent CX. By providing instant access to topic trends, common keywords, customer sentiments, and more, contact centers have access to observations that would take an army of individuals to analyze manually.  Additionally, because users set the rules for analytics, these tools allow managers to flag key priorities and analyze all calls (as opposed to the standard 3% of calls that are  synthesized by manual audits) to quickly and effectively ensure compliance across the board.    For example, if a company wants agents to use the phrase, ‘happy holidays’ instead of ‘merry Christmas,’ QM Assist can flag agents who are going off book, triggering a manager to intervene and correct the misstep with targeted coaching.   This allows managers to identify which seasonal hires shine, which need additional coaching, and which aren’t working out in record time.    Analysis of customer interactions can also reveal valuable information about customer sentiment relating to certain words, phrases, or even groups of agents. If a certain topic surfaces frequently in conjunction with negative customer sentiment, the software allows you to search for that topic and drill deeper, identifying opportunities to shift strategies.

Guard rails for success at every stage of the CX journey

While Agent Assist helps an agent during a call, and CX Analytics tools provide leaders with insights to coach their team after the fact, there is another remaining tool that provides a backstop if a situation requires an immediate response or intervention. CX Sensors are mechanisms that are triggered following certain events, during any part of the customer experience. These sensors trigger automatic actions, reducing any lag between the event and the response. If certain flagged phrases are used, CX sensors can trigger an automated notification. A manager can be notified to intervene quickly and take over the call. This is especially helpful if, for instance, an agent doesn’t know the exact time to escalate a situation. Or, it can trigger an automated action. For example, if a customer is threatening to cancel an order because it won’t arrive in time for their family holiday celebration, a signal can trigger the release of a follow-up apology email with a coupon code for as an automatic strategy to curb customer dissatisfaction. 

Tools for the happiest of holidays

CX Sensors, Interaction Analytics, QM Assist, and real-time Agent Assist tools are innovative ways AI helps top brands avoid crises, reduce churn, and improve loyalty with temporary workforces onboarded faster than ever.    During a competitive holiday season, AI tools can create lasting impressions that reverberate throughout the entire year.   

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