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AI to the Rescue: How to Ease Employee Onboarding and Offboarding in the Contact Center

Contact center attrition rates continue to be a top concern for managers, and for a good reason. According to the 2016 U.S. Contact Decision Makers’ Guide, the average annual turnover rate for agents in U.S. contact centers is 29 percent, with an average lifespan of just 3.3 years. For contact centers, this creates a high volume of employees who need to be onboarded and offboarded on any given day. To further this problem, onboarding and offboarding processes have traditionally been complex and time-consuming.

With increased customer demands putting even more pressure on agents, contact centers must find a way to effectively onboard and offboard employees to ensure consistent customer touchpoints. Not only will this improve the customer experience, but if an employee is onboarded with the right training and a core understanding of business processes, it will increase job retention and satisfaction – the ultimate goal for contact centers.

Contact center agents blending sales and service course - people smiling at computers

Organizations like The Results Companies, which provide customer support in 28 contact centers worldwide, is taking steps to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies to support employee onboarding and offboarding. The company oversees more than 22000, agents, and handles over 100 million interactions annually servicing their partners in new sales, care, retention and win back. With new technology processes in place, onboarding/offboarding processes that used to take the company an hour each time is now accomplished within seconds with 100 percent data accuracy. For a large global company like The Results Companies, the use of AI-enabled robotic process automation (RPA) was a no brainer.

To streamline employee onboarding and offboarding, it’s critical to review the three main buckets involved in this process:

Understand the Power of Training

When it comes to onboarding, it’s important that employees are properly trained so they can handle incoming requests in a timely and effective manner. Those organizations who have a goal of lowering attrition rates within its contact center will be one step closer if its agents feel empowered with the right tools and information. In the past year, more contact centers are leveraging AI and machine learning to add an intelligent layer across different scenarios. For instance, certain automation functions grant employees access to key actions and contextual information in a single view during a customer call. Working with a smart, automated system will largely reduce the amount of training time required since AI is meant to make these systems more intuitive and interactive, and allow employees to do much of the learning on the job.

Lighten the Burden on the Human Resources Department

Every new or departing employee needs to be documented in a contact center’s HR system, in addition to a variety of HR tasks that need to be completed in the onboarding and offboarding process. Whether it’s typing up an offer letter to candidates, reviewing resumes, conducting background checks, organizing benefits documents or transferring accounts to a new owner. These tasks can be extremely tedious and put a strain on the HR department from a bandwidth perspective, especially given the high call center turnover rates. To help assist with this work, many HR departments are integrating AI technology to automate manual tasks like producing offer letter templates or scanning incoming applications for keywords.

Strengthen IT Security and Compliance

According to a study from security firm OneLogin, 20 percent of IT professionals said their organization had experienced data breaches by ex-employees, and 48 percent of professionals said they are aware that former employees still have access to the corporate network. This is why it’s so crucial for IT departments to cut off access to departing employees. Alternatively, new employees must be correctly entered into the IT system and given relevant access based on their job function. It’s also important for call centers to make sure onboarding and offboarding processes align with compliance and company protocols. Machine learning-based automation tools can help by automatically deleting past employees from IT systems and providing new (and existing) agents with compliance-related scripts. In addition, RPA can help streamline the complex scope of GDPR by quickly and accurately handling a high volume of operational processes that integrate into enterprise applications. AI capabilities are able to detect privacy data within unstructured data to ensure nothing is missed during the data deletion process.

According to Gartner, 15 percent of all customer service interactions will be handled entirely by AI by 2021. While contact centers might be hesitant to integrate AI solutions, they need to embrace it in order to compete in the long-term. The Results Companies is a great use case on how AI and machine learning technologies will undoubtedly help with onboarding and offboarding processes. AI can also be applied to all facets of the call center – from improved customer service to reduced call times. This means increased revenues for organizations and happier agents – a perfect combination for call center success.

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