Repetitive tunes, uncertain responses, and long queues on a hotline: We’re familiar with the tropes of poor customer service. But for organisations this is more than an annoyance; bad service can cost their customers’ business and trust.

Digital agents could change all this. A combination of cutting-edge AI, chatbots and cloud technologies are working alongside humans to reshape the way organisations function and connect with customers. From telcos to tax agencies, they are allowing companies to be much more responsive to citizens’ needs and use data to streamline their operations.

We look at how digital agents can enhance the human touch.

Customer is King

With digital agents, organisations can improve their customers’ experiences, by reducing their wait times and allowing people to access information 24×7. This is critical for essential services in governments, such as healthcare, jobs and welfare where there is a high demand at the moment.

For instance, DXC Technology has been able to reduce 50% of the 80,000 monthly calls being answered by a government agency’s agents using a flexible combination of self-service content, physical agents and AI-based chatbots. DXC uses Amazon Connect, an omnichannel, cloud contact center that provides a seamless experience across voice and chat for customers and agents. This allows agents to “personalise and automate calls or chats, greet customers by name, and predict why they are communicating,” says Purusharth Tripathi, Vice President, Delivery at DXC Technology.

Digital agents can support staff to deliver accurate information to customers, at a time that is convenient to the customer, and in multiple languages. When these platforms are connected across countries and services, customers can get more uniform and predictable experiences. Digital agents are also able to access records and information across services where available, so that customers have a personalised experience and don’t have to repeat themselves. Cloud technologies like the ones offered by Amazon “make it easy to differentiate and enhance the service experience by accessing data from disparate systems” says Tripathi.

Streamlined businesses

Digital agents make business operations more cost effective and streamlined. For instance, DXC has deployed over 300 digital agents and bots for clients which are helping to take care of up to 35 per cent of customer interactions. This enables service centres to become more efficient and can reduce costs by up to 40%.

Digital agents allow companies to incorporate data analytics from customer calls into business insights. For instance, agents can use analytics to track peaks and troughs in call times or the sentiment of a caller. Comprehensively, this data would enable companies to predict workflows and manage resources to provide a better customer experience in the long run.

Data from customer interactions then also allow companies to understand their clients’ needs better. For instance, one US government agency provided individuals with a symptom checker, and a self-service agent for additional information. Frontline assistance was able to go completely digital in five days with functions to monitor and advise citizens. With analytics, health agencies can monitor common enquiries on the self-service agent, and symptoms to track infection spread.

This suite of technologies also has benefits for an organisation’s long term resilience. It can allow agents to be agile and work remotely from any location with an IP address, with agents no longer required to sit in a call centre to assist customers. This flexibility is important in the new normal, where people are increasingly looking for ways in which they can continue to work remotely.

Digital Transformation

As these technologies are advancing, digital agents will increasingly become the future of customer experience. Life-like avatars will be able to listen and speak in natural language and express the empathy that customers require.

Organisations facing high demands from their customers are making digital agents a core part of their transformation strategy. An Australian government agency recently used the tech to communicate with citizens affected by a series of bushfires. Within days, the agency was able to set up an entire digital communication system, enabling support messages to directly reach affected parties through a secure platform.

Digital agents are rapidly changing customer communications and transforming customer experience. Organisations can be nimbler in times of uncertainty and serve customers with improved experiences at more convenient times, while building resilience to better manage future disruptions.