The workforce is rapidly changing. According to Zurich, Gen Z is expected to make up nearly 30% of the workforce by 2025. As CMO of Kustomer, I have shadowed many customer service agents, doing hundreds of ride-alongs and stakeholder interviews, many of them with individuals from this rising generation.
What I’ve noticed is that Gen Z does things differently, and they expect their work life to be like the rest of their life – supported by technology and AI. The problem is, it’s not.
Work is the one area where customer service agents do not get much support from AI. While this trend is changing, AI in enterprise sales is at a tipping point and it’s a good thing because if you look at the day of a typical Gen Z customer service agent, you’d be shocked at what happens. I know I was.
Let’s look at Jack’s day:
- 6:30am: When Jack wakes up at 6:30am, his room temperature automatically adjusted to his liking by Nest.
- 7:00am: As he quickly prepares for his morning run, his Fitbit uses its built-in GPS to show him the best route to run and indicates his friends are already beating him on exercise for the day.
- 8:00 am: Driving to work, Jack encounters an accident and without touching a button, Google Maps, using satellite technology, proprietary data, and crowdsourced information, presents an alternate route and includes an explanation as to why one is preferred over the other.
- 8:30 am: As the morning commute is coming to an end, Jack flips on Spotify and activates its DJ feature to receive personalized recommendations based on his music profile.
- 9:00 am: Work starts and the fun ends; Jack is left to support customers using his gut and intuition. At 9 am, Jack jumps into a shared email queue of tickets from customers who have questions about their latest orders. It seems inefficient to have multiple agents randomly pick and choose which tickets they want to respond to, but his boss tells him it’s the way it is done, so Jack begrudgingly starts his work without complaint.
- 11:00 am: Jack takes an inbound phone call. He hates taking phone calls because he enters the call with no knowledge about the person on the other side. This call happened to be negative from the start. The customer was angry when Jack asked him to repeat information the customer had already given to a different agent over chat. Jack agrees it’s stupid but it’s not his fault the chat system doesn’t connect with the phone system.
- 12:00 pm: Jack opens up one his favorite apps: DoorDash, thanks to its quality recommendations and personalizations. Today, he orders Thai food.
- 1:00 pm: Just before he starts work again, Jack checks his Amazon account for a package he is expecting to receive today. Once done, one of the recommendations catches his eye. Like most of us, Jack is a sucker for those recommendations, so he takes the bait and makes the purchase.
- 2:00 pm: Jack gets a notification again that he has another question in chat regarding shipping delays regarding a recent order. This should be easy to answer, but since the product information is in a different system, solving this question will require Jack to log into and actually send an email to the shipping department to get an update. Embarrassingly, Jack writes to the customer and tells her he’ll get her an answer in a few min if she wouldn’t mind patiently waiting.
- 5:00 pm: On his way home, Jack feels hungry again so he pulls out his phone and opens up Yelp to find a recommended restaurant near him that has high ratings. He finds an Indian restaurant and orders takeout.
- 8:00 pm: Wanting to relax for a couple of hours, Jack opens Netflix and notices a new recommended show has appeared: Bridgerton. They decide to give it a go so they lean back and begin their binge session.
- 11:00 pm: Jack gets ready for bed and wonders why his work life can’t be like the rest of his life? Why can’t AI route the right customer to the right agent? Why can’t AI answer basic customer inquiries so he can focus on more important ones? Why can’t AI tell him everything he needs to know about a customer before he speaks to them?
If you don’t think most, if not all, of your customer service agents feel the way Jack feels, you’re mistaken. Gen Z are not idiots. They know when something is broken and customer service is broken.
But how do you go about fixing this?
First, utilize AI to answer basic customer inquiries, whether that be tracking a package or informing on return policies. In fact, according to a study from IBM, 80% of routine customer questions can be handled by a chatbot. This frees up customer service agents’ time to focus on more challenging or intricate inquiries, allowing your team to be strategic and provide increasingly better service.
Second, route the right customer to the right agent with AI. It’s natural that certain agents will have greater knowledge in different areas of the business. With the power of AI, you can accurately direct a customer to the best representative to handle that problem. The best part is this accounts for nearly half of AI use in customer service currently, making it an easy addition to the job.
Finally, streamline conversations so customer service agents are informed of a customer’s issue and previous conversations with the use of AI. Restating their issue repeatedly appears as a top complaint amongst consumers, and not only is frustrating for the customer, but wastes precious time. With AI, you can streamline that communication to ensure the agent is aware of the problem before communication even begins.
Welcome to the service revolution where math + data + applications are fundamentally changing the way we service our customers.