Real-Time Agent Assist: AI Technology For Customer Support Teams

What is agent assist? Learn about AI agent assist software and how it increases efficiency, improves agent performance, and boosts business success.

Support agents are integral to the customer experience, which is a key driver for overall brand performance. Placing a priority on setting support teams up for success should be a no-brainer for businesses; yet only 14% of agents feel as though they have the resources to deliver effective customer service. 


This leaves a vast majority of agents, 86% to be exact, feeling unequipped to provide customers with adequate support. A number that certainly doesn’t bode well for efficiency, service quality, agent satisfaction, and KPI achievement. It makes an already very demanding job even more difficult. And by failing their agents, companies are also failing their customers. So not only is there a risk of agent churn, but customers may also leave a brand for good. 


Fortunately, many employers are recognizing the importance of supporting their agents and are leveraging tools for support teams, specifically real-time AI agent assist, to do so. The efficiency-boosting technology helps improve agent performance, achieve customer service KPIs, and empower support teams to better help customers.


In this article, we will be covering...

- What is agent assist?

- How agent assist technology works

- The benefits of agent assist technology

- How agent assist improves customer experience

- A real-life agent assist success story

- Best practices for implementing agent assist technology


Let's get into it!

What TF Is Agent Assist?

Powered by artificial intelligence, real-time Agent Assist is a customer service software that helps agents during live customer support interactions by providing them with easy access to relevant information. It can be used by both in-house support teams and contact centers to improve efficiency and help agents deliver faster, more accurate, and high-quality support. 


So, how does agent assist work?


AI Agent assist technology leverages a subfield of artificial intelligence called Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyze, understand, contextualize, and measure the meaning and sentiment of language and customer conversations. Integrating with existing business tools, such as a helpdesk, agent assist surfaces applicable information and delivers it to human agents. 


In need of a visual? This video explains Thankful’s Agent Assist in less than 90 seconds. 👇



Let’s recap - and add some more color!


Thankful’s Agent Assist uses Natural Language Processing AI models that are trained on millions of support tickets and built for retail and ecommerce customer service. This enables the NLP to better understand what each customer really wants. 


Agent Assist operates within your existing helpdesk, routing, prioritizing, tagging, merging, and translating all customer queries. It then pulls in all relevant customer data and detects sentiment, which is crucial for delivering service that is contextually appropriate and personalized to each individual. Thankful’s agent assistance tool even provides agents with suggested next responses and actions that align with brand policies, processes, and language. 


Thankful’s Agent Assist automatically sends all of this information directly to your helpdesk - no extra work from your agents is required. With all the information they need right at their fingertips, they won’t have to spend time looking for customer context, SOPs, and workflows. It’s that easy!

What TF Are The Benefits of Using Agent Assist In Customer Support?

Boost Agent Productivity and Efficiency

AI agent assist technology is designed to streamline the support process and make your team more efficient. It keeps agents well-informed; equipping and empowering them to deliver exceptional service with greater accuracy… in less time! So if you find yourself wondering how to improve customer service productivity, an agent assist tool could be the best customer service tool for you. In fact, brands that use Thankful’s Agent Assist have seen a 43% increase in customer service agent productivity along with a 44% increase in support ticket resolutions.


Improve Customer Service KPIs

A lot of agents’ time and energy is spent searching for the information needed to resolve customers’ problems. Not only can this negatively impact ticket handle times, but it can prevent service organizations from hitting their KPIs.


With an agent assist, your support team has everything they need right at their fingertips. The instant and easy access to information enables them to respond to and resolve queries more quickly. It has helped teams see a 30% decrease in time to first resolution!


Reduce Agent Training Time

The process of onboarding and training new agents is time-consuming and intensive. It requires a lot of company resources and demands effort from both the trainers and trainees. And this is not something to skimp out on. Failure to properly train your agents will result in lower quality customer service; threatening your KPIs, customer loyalty, and ultimately your bottom line. Not to mention, you’ll end up having to do the hiring, onboarding, and training process all over again. 


By providing convenient access to SOPs, suggesting responses, and recommending actions, Agent Assist could help new hires get up to speed and reduce their ramp-up time after onboarding. It equips them with the information they need to deliver more accurate and better quality service, which can put them on the right track to achieving their performance goals.


Decrease in Low-Skill Tasks

In addition to saving agents’ valuable time, agent assist technology for customer service decreases low-skill tasks by 38%. When agents are freed from some of those redundant and often unfulfilling tasks, they can put more of their attention toward the high-value and rewarding functions of their role. This can help agents improve customer service skills while simultaneously delivering enhanced CX.

Get more actionable tips on how to empower your support team here.


Increase Agent Satisfaction

Anyone who has worked in customer service knows just how stressful and taxing the job can be. It likely comes as no surprise that low agent satisfaction in contact centers and for in-house reps is a common pain point for support teams. Agent Satisfaction Survey (ASAT) scores have a strong correlation with performance, the quality of service being delivered, and agent turnover rates. This is why CX leaders are often looking for ways to manage stress in the workplace and ways to reduce agent churn. 

Implementing agent assist technology for customer support helps to alleviate some of the pressure agents are under, cut back on low-skill tasks, and increase their capacity to focus on the more gratifying functions of their role. All of these benefits elevate work experiences and increase agent satisfaction by 25%.


Deliver The Service Your Customers Need

When it comes to service experiences, customers have more demands than ever before. They also have more brand options to choose from. So if a customer is unhappy with the service one company offers, they can easily jump to a competitor. And all it takes is one negative experience for over half of consumers to leave a company forever. Needless to say, brands don’t want to fall short of meeting their customers’ demands.  


AI-powered agent assist technology is most known for aiding agents in delivering faster and more accurate support - two non-negotiables for today’s customers. But what other agent assist capabilities help agents provide service that takes care of customers’ needs?


Language translation - Help agents break through language barriers and support a wider range of customers.


Sentiment detection - Advanced agent assist software is able to detect customers’ sentiment and tone, then adjust its suggested and responses appropriately. With a better understanding of how customers are feeling, agents can be more prepared to meet their emotional needs. 


Customer context - Meet customers’ specific and individual needs. Agent assist provides agents with customer context, data, and tailored suggestions - empowering them to deliver highly personalized service experiences

Lessen repetition -  Did you know 92% of customers will spend more with brands that don’t make them repeat themselves? Thankful’s Agent Assist technology has intelligent ticket routing and merging capabilities so your customers won’t have to deal with the annoyance of reiterating information time and time again.


Record Data in Real Time

Tracking data can be time-consuming for your agents, but it is absolutely critical for analyzing and understanding your customer service organization and your company at large. That’s why Thankful’s Agent Assist records data in real-time; adding tags and dispositions, and even completing fields. 


From agents and customers to service operations and your brand’s bottom line, agent assist technology provides benefits all around. But how do these benefits translate into results? Let’s dive into a real-life application of agent assist. 👇

Example of a Company Using Customer Service Agent Assist Technology

Many customer service organizations are already using agent assist and reaping the benefits. Here’s how the Senior Director of Service Operations for a leading DTC healthcare brand increased agent productivity and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars:


With a mission of making specialized care more easily accessible, a premier DTC digital healthcare company is deeply committed to delivering exceptional CX throughout the entire customer journey. Since healthcare is so individualized, personalization is a huge priority every step of the way.


To uphold the company’s commitment, customer service experiences are held to a high standard and every support query is handled with the utmost care. Many of these interactions are highly sensitive and require contextual understanding in order to be effectively resolved. As a result, a significant amount of agents’ time was spent gathering information and tailoring the actions and responses to each individual customer’s needs. 

Unfortunately, this level of hyper-personalized support was becoming more and more challenging to maintain as the company experienced quick growth. So the Senior Director of Service Operations set out to find an efficiency-boosting technology that gives agents easy access to information. Agent Assist fits the bill! 


The Senior Director of Service Operations partnered with Thankful to implement and optimize Agent Assist for her support team’s specific needs. By quickly integrating with their existing helpdesk and business systems, Agent Assist was deployed across all the company’s text-based customer service channels. This enabled Agent Assist to route tickets and deliver relevant customer context and brand-aligned recommendations directly to agents within the helpdesk. The convenient access to information empowered agents to resolve more queries in less time while simultaneously delivering hyper-personalized and high-quality support. 


By leveraging Agent Assist, the Senior Director of Service Operations saw a 43% increase in agent productivity saving the brand up to $326,023 a year! Furthermore, low-skill tasks dropped by 38%, providing agents with the ability to invest more time and energy into the more rewarding individualization and empathetic aspects of service interactions.  


Download your own free copy of this case study here

What TF Are The Best Practices For Integrating Agent Assist Into Your CS?

Like any new technology implementation, it is critical to make sure your customer service organization is ready to integrate and maximize the benefits of Agent Assist. Before starting the integration process, your brand must meet the following readiness requirements

1. Your CS organization has helpdesk software
A helpdesk is required In order to leverage agent assist software as the technology is operating from within the helpdesk. If your brand does not have a helpdesk yet, it is a step you’ll need to take before implementing AI agent assist.

2. Your CS organization has standardized policies and protocols 
Established customer service policies and protocols are essential; without them, agent assist technology will not be able to function effectively. 

3. Your CS organization has structured and accessible data - 
For an AI solution like agent assist to be useful, it is imperative that data is stored in a database that is accessible via API webhooks.


Once your customer service org meets the criteria above, you’re ready to move forward. For best results, follow these 4 top tips: 


1. Re-evaluate and Revise Your Customer Service Policies and Processes

Even if your brand already has established support policies and processes in place, revisiting them is a critical step in seeing the results you want. 


Are the policies and processes meeting your customers’ needs? Is anything outdated? What could be improved? Through analyzing and reconstructing, you can develop even stronger policies and procedures that will set your CX up for success.


2. Choose The Best AI Partner

Whether your business is integrating AI Agent Assist, AI customer support automation, or another AI tool, having a third-party partner will help keep you on course and get the most out of your new technology. 


Find a partner that will be with you every step of the way, helping you to plan, strategize, and optimize; providing expertise on how to meet your brand’s needs and get the most out of AI agent assist. For more successful results, look for an advanced AI customer service solution that can align your brand policies and tone. 


The right partner will be with you every step of the way, guiding you through the planning and implementation process and beyond. Because, like all AI customer service technology, agent assist is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. An AI partner that offers support and expertise post-integration will enable you to continue to maximize Agent Assist’s capabilities over time.


3. Build Trust Between Agent Assist and Your Agents

As with any new tech, your support team should know why you've chosen to implement it. This is especially important in the case of agent assist as it will be directly working with and helping agents every day! So keep your agents informed and in the loop on the agent assist and its functionality, purpose, reasons for being utilized, and how it will benefit their role and day-to-day operations.


4. Refine Your Strategies and Processes

As previously mentioned (see #2 above!) AI is not a solution that you set and forget. It is a tool that you will be able to continue to refine and optimize over time. For this reason, it is beneficial to work with an AI partner and technology that makes it easy for you to test strategies, processes, and promotions.

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