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    Will AI Assistants Replace Frontline Managers?

    Over the last year, I’ve talked to lots of bosses from call centers. We mostly talked about the people who oversee the frontline workers and what companies were doing to help them. Most bosses felt like they weren’t getting much value from the fancy technology they bought to help these supervisors.

     

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    Three challenge kept popping up

    Challenge 1: Not Enough Face-to-Face Time

    Investments are heavily focused on equipping supervisors with reports and tools aimed at pinpointing the challenges and opportunities faced by agents. Additionally, coaching tools designed for analyzing individual interactions are readily accessible, enabling managers to assess agent performance and offer constructive feedback. 

     

    However, a common issue arises where managers find themselves spending more time engaging with these systems than interacting directly with their employees. This trend becomes even more pronounced in remote and hybrid work environments, further exacerbating the lack of face-to-face interaction between supervisors and their teams.

     

    Challenge 2: Inconsistent Team Performance

    Skilled managers play a crucial role in ensuring consistent team performance. However, many organizations struggle with varying levels of performance among their teams. According to the leaders I’ve spoken with, only about 20% to 30% of managers are considered high achievers. This presents a significant challenge: how to cultivate consistency across all teams.

    Challenge 3: Quick Shifts into Management Roles

    Often, top-performing agents are swiftly promoted to supervisor positions without adequate preparation or formal training. Sadly, this scenario leaves the new manager ill-equipped to thrive in their newfound role.

    Tackling These Challenges

    The crucial question is: How can we effectively and consistently develop managers into stronger leaders? The solution lies in providing support to managers in both their supervisory roles and as individual employees. In a previous article, I discussed the advantages of AI copilots for contact center agents. Now, I’ll delve into how AI copilot technology can enhance the manager experience.

    AI Copilot Technology: Its Benefits for Managers

    Managers often find themselves juggling numerous responsibilities and facing constraints on their time and attention, which can hinder their ability to effectively connect with and support their teams. According to NLcasinospot we’ve discovered that managers spend a staggering 50% to 60% of their time on administrative tasks, leaving little room for personal interaction and consistent support. 

    Here’s how AI copilots can alleviate some of these challenges and enhance the manager’s role as a supervisor:

    • Coaching Focus: AI copilots identify performance outliers and provide daily insights, helping managers prioritize coaching efforts based on performance metrics and business objectives.
    • Symptom Evaluation: By analyzing large volumes of agent conversations, AI copilots swiftly uncover the underlying causes behind low performance, enabling managers to address issues effectively.
    • Feedback Loop: AI copilots analyze employee feedback and training outcomes, offering additional insights to managers. For instance, if an agent is struggling due to feeling overwhelmed, this information can guide a more empathetic coaching approach. The copilot also recommends effective actions based on successful interventions in similar cases.
    • Recognition and Rewards: Recognizing employees for excellence is crucial for morale and motivation. AI copilots identify opportunities for recognition and equip managers with insights and tools to acknowledge outstanding performance.
    • Development Planning: Leveraging copilot data analysis and recommendations, managers can create efficient, personalized improvement plans for agents, setting relevant goals based on performance metrics and past actions.
    • Follow-Up: AI copilots facilitate more effective coaching by reminding managers of organizational protocols and processes. If an agent fails to meet their goals, the copilot alerts the manager through various channels (such as in-platform notifications and email), prompting further action.

    AI Copilots and Enhancing the Supervisor’s Employee Experience

    Supervisors are employees, too, and require a performance experience that supports their growth and well-being. Here’s how AI copilots can deliver just that:

    • Goal Alignment: AI copilots align and measure manager behaviors, in addition to team KPIs, based on how they lead their teams. Managers can set and track personal goals related to coaching effectiveness, frequency of one-on-ones, and more.
    • Performance and Skill Evaluation: When AI copilots identify areas for performance improvement, they trigger evaluations to pinpoint root causes such as behavior, skill, or knowledge-related gaps. Managers can easily review their evaluations and determine where to focus their efforts.
    • Reflection: AI copilots send contextual micro-surveys to uncover potential improvement opportunities and insights regarding managers’ well-being and confidence levels. This feedback helps managers receive empathy and support from their own leaders.
    • Training and Coaching: AI copilots send managers microlearning modules, such as simulations, to help them build skills and competencies in areas where gaps have been identified. Consistent training across teams ensures uniform performance and service delivery.
    • Development: AI copilots escalate knowledge and behavioral gaps to managers’ supervisors, who can then respond with coaching actions or development plans.

    Concerns About AI Copilots

    While AI copilot technology holds immense potential, there are also valid concerns to consider. Will it replace managers? No. Although copilots boast impressive capabilities, they lack the ability to connect with agents on a human level. For instance, if burnout is identified as a root cause of low performance, only a skilled manager—equipped with empathy—can effectively address this issue.

     

    Will managerial skill sets become irrelevant? Again, no. Human experience, creative problem-solving skills, and empathy will always be essential.

    If a manager lacks empathy, a copilot cannot necessarily resolve that. However, it can facilitate empathy and leadership skill development by enabling more frequent, focused coaching sessions and manager training.

    Lastly, there’s a risk that managers might rely too heavily on AI copilot analysis and neglect to utilize their own skills to determine the next course of action or connect with agents

    In Conclusion

    Frontline managers play a crucial role in shaping agent performance and driving contact center success, underscoring the importance of enhancing the manager experience. With AI copilots, managers can alleviate the burden of administrative tasks that consume a significant portion of their time, freeing them to focus on connecting with their teams. This shift enables managers to foster trust and wield greater influence on business outcomes through a consistent, people-centric, and empathetic approach.

    By leveraging AI copilots, contact centers can unlock opportunities to deliver enhanced customer experiences while maximizing returns on investments in manager-related technology.

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