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Empowering customer service with artificial intelligence

May 26, 2022


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In recent projections, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) confirms economic recovery from the pandemic will continue to accelerate job growth in many industries. In March 2021, BLS reported an all-time high of 8.1million job openings, marking a 43% increase from March 2020 when Covid-19 related shutdowns began. By January 2022, the number of job openings surpassed 11 million.[1] This dramatic increase in available jobs has created a highly competitive hiring environment.

Public utilities have been hit particularly hard by staffing shortages[2] in part due to this competitive job marketplace. Compounding the increased hiring competition, companies were already grappling with the “Great Resignation,” a staffing crisis that started in 2021 because of factors including the Covid-19 pandemic and a wave of retirements.[3] Experts believe the trend will continue through 2022.[4]

Customer service and dispatch agents are especially difficult to hire because demand for customer service agents has spiked in response to a greater need for customer communications across all industries.[5] Customer service has become more important as businesses adapt to changing policies, economic conditions, and resource availability. As if the challenge of matching jobs with good candidates wasn’t difficult enough, the customer service industry is also characterized by one of the highest turnover rates and one of the highest employee replacement costs, estimated at roughly 30% of a customer service agent's salary.[6]

How are public utilities addressing this challenge? One answer is technology, namely artificial intelligence (AI).[7] Not only can AI technologies help organizations do more with less, they can also empower staff to make better decisions and more efficiently manage challenging situations. These benefits can improve performance across the entire enterprise. Modern applications of AI are also helping organizations attract talent, reduce job stress, and boost staff morale when employees feel more successful in their roles.

In incident management, AI can help improve decision making in multiple ways. For example, AI technology can help customer service staff more effectively triage calls and reports about a service interruption by promoting information consistency and automating reporting functions. These tools empower customer service staff to efficiently gather valuable information for response coordination while improving the quality of service due to efficiency gains and enhanced customer communication tools.

During a major service disruption, customer and system reports can quickly overwhelm customer service and dispatch teams. Despite established operating procedures, staff are often managing large volumes of information and customer communication under pressure, which can lead to errors and inefficient response efforts. With the help of AI technology, standard operating procedures can be incorporated seamlessly in call answering, categorization, and dispatch routines to standardize the information management process.

When customer service and dispatch coordination occur more efficiently, teams can achieve a wide range of performance benefits. Common metrics such as call wait times and event response times are improved because staff are collecting information more quickly and accurately, while the information is being shared more expediently with response teams.

In the case of Daupler’s response management system, Daupler RMS, artificial intelligence is a cornerstone of the platform’s functional customer service and dispatch capabilities. Daupler’s solution enhances the collection of information, communication with customers and mobilization of response efforts. Response efficiency has the potential to significantly minimize service impacts with far-reaching benefits related to overall system integrity and operational performance. Learn about how Daupler is helping service organizations empower their customer service and dispatch teams by contacting question@daupler.com or filling out the demo form.

[1] https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/jolts.pdf

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamdunkelberg/2021/05/27/small-business-and-the-staffing-shortage-by-industry/?sh=52cd192524a3

[3] https://www.govtech.com/blogs/lohrmann-on-cybersecurity/whats-really-the-reason-behind-the-great-resignation

[4] https://planbeyond.com/about/original-research/great-resignation-market-research-report/

[5] https://www.netomi.com/hiring-customer-service-agents

[6] https://www.benefitspro.com/2021/04/28/keep-your-customer-service-agents-happy-4-ways-to-reduce-turnover/

[7] https://www.governing.com/work/can-911-staff-shortages-be-alleviated-by-ai-technology

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