Zendesk’s SVP of Global Customer Success, Renewals, and CX, shares her thoughts on why companies should emphasize the agent experience to elevate CX.
Carve Out New Career Paths With ACX
If your brand is looking to up their CX game, all signs point to automation.
The metrics speak for themselves. Using conversational AI, brands are achieving a 170% engagement rate with their customers, reducing customer wait times up to 98%, and deflecting inquiries by 80%+.
In the initial stages of an automated CX (ACX®) strategy, brands are typically looking to meet the above stats — and quickly — to relieve agents from spikes in customer support, an issue exacerbated by the pandemic’s sharp shift to digital consumerism.
But we’re learning that the right ACX platform can do much more than simply support customers' FAQs. It can become an interaction layer between brands and customers across the entire customer journey, allowing brands to capture, track, and action on insights all in one place. And, as teams come together to apply ACX across the entire customer journey, they can carve out new career paths.
Surprisingly, we’re not talking about your most tech savvy team members. Investing in a no-code ACX platform allows brands to outfit their ACX team where it matters most: with the people that know your customer best.
Let’s be clear, conversational AI is not meant to replace your human CX teams, its job is to empower your employees to do more meaningful work. And now, it also opens the door to new opportunities for growth and professional development.
Automation expects that you not only use your humans wisely, but choose them wisely. Here’s how you can get started.
Who should drive your conversational AI project?
Over time, your ACX project delivers increased efficiencies, reduces costs, and unifies departments—from support, to sales, to marketing and revenue-building — to meet broader business goals and drive net new revenue.
Likely, there’s someone in your organization who understands the value of automation and brings the project to the table. This is your executive ACX sponsor, typically a VP or Director of Customer Experience. The director of your ACX department is the person who will identify the right people to execute your automation strategy.
The Director of ACX is the person who will craft the vision of the role automation will play and tie it to your brand’s overall business goals. They’re also the person who can recruit the best project contributors to build a self-sufficient team responsible for driving the business’ automation strategy forward.
Who should be on your ACX team?
As we mentioned earlier, your ACX strategy spans across the entire customer journey, giving different teams the ability to apply their own use-cases and specific goals to the AI — to deflect redundant customer support questions, address WISMO inquiries, provide proactive and personalized marketing messaging, and more — all in a single ACX dashboard.
You’ll need someone to oversee the day-to-day operations, an ACX Project Manager. This person will grow your brand’s ACX abilities and oversee the execution of projects and individual initiatives within the conversational AI chatbot.
The ACX Project Manager should select a Bot Manager to perform the set up, management, and maintenance of the bot. The Bot Manager is the nucleus of your conversational AI. They will support the individual needs of each team across the company to implement into the chatbot, while executing the overall vision for your brand’s ACX.
To identify the best Bot Manager, pick someone with an expansive understanding of the customer, their interactions, and the processes at play to solve inquiries. This person shows the potential to go beyond the day-to-day role of a support agent and will be given the authority to decide how to apply their broad knowledge into conversational AI.
Again, your Bot Manager does not need to be plucked from your company’s technology or engineering team, and unless they are also customer support and experience experts, they shouldn’t. The right ACX platform is no-code (or low code), allowing non-technical people to bot build.
Your Bot Manager should, however, have the following qualities:
- Empathetic, logical thinker
- Strong analysis and understanding of CX
- Detail-oriented and adaptable
- Passion for innovation and challenging the CX status quo
- Product and CX expertise
A crucial piece of the ACX pie is ensuring that the people driving your strategy are given the capacity to execute. If you’re unable to dedicate the right resources to the project, it has the potential to fall through the cracks. Like any project, you get what you put into it.
Who are your best ACX allies?
To determine who can strengthen your automation, work backwards from your overall business objectives. Align your ACX strategy with your brand’s North Star, and how it will help you accomplish this.
This can be broken down into more concrete intentions, following three phases: efficiency, engagement, and revenue. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How can our CX be more efficient, while alleviating inquiry response pressure from support teams to avoid attrition?
- How can we use insights from these customer support inquiries to personalize every customer interaction to increase engagement, retain customers, and improve brand loyalty?
- Where are the opportunities to leverage automation to drive revenue from brand interactions?
To evaluate how, when, and where your brand interactions should take place, identify where your customers contact you now, and where customer data lives. This will give you the foresight to apply automation to all the necessary channels and highlight opportunities for where employees can get in on the action.
Other roles you can incorporate into your ACX strategy:
- Business Analyst: responsible for analyzing and leveraging customer data to enhance bot interactions and apply insights to product improvements
- Technical Resource: help to integrate ACX platform into backend systems to personalize conversations and use customer data to create more tactical interactions
- Marketing Ally: coordinate across the entire organization to ensure the bot is equipped with new marketing initiatives and following a consistent tone and flow
- Sales Ally: strategize how automation can generate and convert leads, run campaigns, and give product recommendations to customers
- Engineering Ally: involve in initial automation to unlock long-term opportunities in personalization and customization of ACX
Stacking your ACX team with the right allies can make or break this next step of digital transformation. Sharing this exciting new chapter of CX with your larger team enables their buy-in and builds relationships in support of automation. This is crucial to executing your long-term strategy.
It’s as simple as one, two, three: pick your people, formulate your plan, and ensure you’re partnered with the best-in-the-biz ACX pros.
Partner with the pros
Your brand needs the right ACX partner — a conversational AI expert with a deep understanding of what can set your CX apart from the competition. As your number one ally, they will assist you at every stage of the process.
At Ada, we call this an ACX Consultant. This is your dedicated ACX expert who will walk you through the motions and provide your team with hands-on training, from a successful implementation to optimizing your chatbot. They will be right there with you from launch — in as quickly as 30 days — to improving your conversational AI over time.
The ACX Consultant will continue to inform the growth and strategy of your bot, highlighting what’s working well and where you can take it to the next level. They are a part of your team and can guide you in strategizing, planning, and executing enhancements to your conversational AI. Just ask our clients.
Wave Financial’s Manager of Customer Experience Insights, Katie Larson, says it best:
“The ACX Consultants that have been assigned to our account have been essential to helping us get the most out of Ada. With their guidance, our team has been empowered to go beyond simply creating content for Mave, our chatbot. The ACX team has helped us to build flows that enable our most valuable customers to get to the right help quickly and easily."
Sarah Fox is a scuba-diving, animal-loving journalist turned content marketer. In her career, she’s covered stories on development, written profiles on notable philanthropists, and interviewed celebrities with a passion for giving back. When she’s not producing content for Ada, Sarah’s likely fawning over her dog somewhere in the woods.