An agent's workplace is typically high-pressured and fast-paced, with the goal of answering as many calls as possible in the least time. They often work in shifts and handle high enquiry volumes, which can be stressful and lead to burnout. Additionally, they must deal with angry and unhappy consumers, which leaves them emotionally drained.
Businesses are now recognising the value of employee experience (EX). They are taking positive steps such as fostering a positive work culture, allowing agents to develop their careers and offering incentives to retain them. Companies are also using solutions to improve EX by streamlining workflows, collaboration, and communication.
With recent interest ignited by the success of ChatGPT and its influence in academia, business, popular culture, and more, the big question remains—aside from customers, how can ChatGPT help employees in an organisation? And how can customer service and support agents future-proof themselves, so they are better equipped to face a future of machines?
We answer these questions and more as we explore the impact of ChatGPT on the employee experience and how you can help your agent teams navigate it.
What is the employee experience?
First, let's revisit what the employee experience is all about.
Like the customer experience, EX refers to the overall impressions and feelings that an employee has towards their job and the company they work for. It includes every stage of their journey, from hiring through to onboarding and offboarding, as well as training, development, performance reviews, and career advancement opportunities.
The employee experience also includes employees' physical and emotional well-being, as well as their sense of belonging and engagement with their employer. In other words, the employee experience is the sum of all interactions, perceptions, and emotions an employee has about their work, colleagues, and the company culture.
So, why is EX important?
In the United States, for example, 55% of employees said in 2021 that they can be themselves at work, while 60% are able to effectively balance work and personal life commitments. A positive employee experience can lead to increased employee engagement, motivation, and productivity. It can also result in better retention, as well as improved customer satisfaction, and higher revenue.
On the other hand, 29% of respondents in the same survey frequently feel anxious about going to work or starting their workday. This negative work experience can lead to lack of engagement, low morale, and high turnover, all of which can harm a company's performance.
What is ChatGPT?
In case you have not been following the media, ChatGPT is making waves for its uncanny ability to write answers like a human, including successfully sitting for graduate school exams, writing school assignments, composing poetry and rap, and holding insightful conversations. While we are captivated by its convincing-looking answers, the overall experience still comes with a lot of caveats.
ChatGPT is categorised as a chatbot, but it is different from other chatbots that you may have used on consumer websites. It is trained on a large model of text from the Internet, unlike other chatbots that depend on rule-based or decision tree-based algorithms. Interestingly, its developer has stressed that it is primarily a text generator because it uses statistical tools to predict the next word in a text based on the preceding words.
What this means is that ChatGPT is limited to the volume of text that has been trained (up to 2021) and that it is not capable yet of understanding whether the answers it has generated are correct, harmful, nonsensical, or just plain wrong. While the future looks bright for ChatGPT and other AI-assisted chatbots, like a live agent, they still need a human to moderate their answers and ensure the customer experience is consistent.
How can ChatGPT enhance EX?
Currently, ChatGPT is accessible via a minimalist text box on a web page. When it is finally available as an API or through services, it should be capable of being seamlessly integrated into popular software solutions and platforms like CINNOX. For example, instead of switching between a web page, agents may be able to use ChatGPT by having a floating AI assistant on their screen or hovering prompts during real-time chats.
One of the likely key benefits of ChatGPT is its ability to understand and respond to natural language questions from live agents. This means that employees can communicate with the tool in the same way they would with a human colleague or supervisor. This can be useful in situations where employees need to quickly ask for information or clarification, or when they need to report a problem or issue. With ChatGPT, they can simply type out their question, and the tool will understand and respond accordingly.
Live agent: What's the best way to solve this customer request for a refund on a spoiled grocery item?
ChatGPT: The best way is to immediately issue a promotional credit of $3.95 to them for the broken eggs. Don't worry about troubling the customer for photo proof as the item value is below $5.00. I hope the customer will be happy!
Another benefit of ChatGPT is its ability to automate certain tasks and processes. This can be especially helpful in scenarios where employees need to access specific information or complete certain actions regularly. With ChatGPT, employees can simply ask for the information or task they need, and the tool will automatically provide it or complete it for them. This can save agents significant time and effort, allowing them to focus on value-added tasks and responsibilities.
Live agent: Please retrieve all the live chat interactions in the past month where customers have rated the conversation as poor. And put them in a PDF file for me.
ChatGPT: Sure, I have retrieved all the live chat conversations rated as "poor" and the PDF file is available to download here.
In addition to its ability to understand natural language and automate tasks, ChatGPT also has the potential to enhance employee engagement and satisfaction. By providing employees with a fast and efficient way to communicate and access information, ChatGPT can help to improve the overall employee experience. This can lead to higher levels of productivity, job satisfaction, and employee retention.
ChatGPT: Hello, here is today's quick survey! Do you think that your managers value your feedback?
Live agent: 2
ChatGPT: Thanks for your honest reply. What is the main reason you chose this?
1. I sometimes get asked for feedback
2. My feedback is not taken seriously
3. I sometimes don't get a chance to give feedback
Of course, as with any new technology, there are also some potential challenges and limitations to be aware of when it comes to ChatGPT and the employee experience. One of the biggest concerns is data privacy and security, as well as the potential for the model to be biased or make mistakes. Therefore, it's important for businesses to carefully consider these potential risks and implement necessary measures to address them.
How live agents can future-proof themselves
It's been said that ChatGPT and AI will displace the service jobs of those who depend on working with words or dispensing advice, like writers, copywriters, screenwriters, and even doctors and lawyers! While software machines are likely to take over routine tasks like, for example, writing apologetic replies to hundreds or thousands of complaint emails received every day, this means that humans can focus on value-added tasks like finding and resolving the root cause of these complaints.
It is still early for people to place the same level of trust, responsibility, and liability in smart chatbots as they do with live humans, but there may be a future when we can confidently depend on truly autonomous software to drive, dispense medical and legal advice, and resolve customer issues without having to worry about the outcomes.
So, instead of viewing AI-powered chatbots as displacing them from their jobs, contact centre agents should instead see it as an opportunity to move up the value chain and upskill themselves. Here are some things they could do in the meantime to prepare themselves for a semi-autonomous future.
1. Continue being a live agent
Yes, you read it right! Live agents can continue to be better live agents. There will always be customers who prefer the human touch when it comes to the customer experience. Besides the convenience of communicating your hotel booking request in a single spoken sentence, a live agent could also turn the conversation into a WOW one by personally congratulating you on reaching an anniversary, for example.
Also, chatbots like ChatGPT are powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms that allow them to improve their performance and accuracy over time. The more data the chatbot is trained on, the better it can understand and respond to a variety of customer scenarios. This dark data can come from various sources such as customer interactions, employee interactions, live chat transcripts, emails, and more.
2. Manage and moderate chatbots
Chatbots, like humans, can adopt various personalities and even mimic the communication styles of famous individuals, both historical and contemporary. To ensure the best customer experience, chatbots may be organised into teams like live agents and supervised by a human team leader. This strategy enables monitoring multiple real-time chats simultaneously, with the option to step in if needed to maintain the customer experience.
An ideal team leader for a chatbot team is a live agent with a wealth of experience in handling customer enquiries and resolving issues. The role of the team leader is similar to that of a coach, working to continually enhance the performance of chatbot team members through every interaction. If a team leader takes over a chat, the AI model has the opportunity to learn and improve, for example, by recognising when a response was inadequate, off-topic, or inaccurate.
Chatbots and agents must work together
ChatGPT and other AI-assisted chatbots have the potential to positively impact the EX of employees by enabling them to communicate with it in a natural language and automate certain tasks and processes. Although smart chatbots are still limited in their abilities today, it is expected that they will become more accessible and integrated into software solutions in the future. Live agents can navigate the future of AI by helping to generate more valuable interaction data or by moderating chatbots in real-time.