R2-D2 had Luke Skywalker. KITT had Michael Knight. Every good robot sidekick has a human counterpart with a knack for finding trouble—and those autonomous androids always know just how to help. When talking about attended AI, though, perhaps the best pop culture example is Tony Stark’s AI, JARVIS. 

Picture Tony’s face inside the Iron Man suit, reading stats on the display screen and making split-second decisions with the help of his trusty tech. With JARVIS to take care of monitoring systems, compiling data, and giving recommendations, Iron Man can focus his attention on saving the day. 

Support and guidance: The key to better agents

But what does that have to do with the contact center space? Quite a bit, actually. Attended automation can be the JARVIS to an agent’s Iron Man, guiding them to pertinent information and suggesting the best course of action while taking care of repetitive or low-value tasks in the background at lightning speed.

Readily available self-service solutions mean most customers won’t contact an agent directly unless they have no choice, and these customers often have complex issues or may be upset or frustrated. In these situations especially, the human element of customer service is vital for empathy and nuance. The last thing an agent needs when helping an upset customer is to navigate multiple programs and complex policies while the customer’s impatience grows.

With attended AI as an agent-assist tool, the agent can focus on interacting with the customer and providing outstanding service rather than fumbling around for the right info or keeping a customer on hold for an extended period. Basically, the agent—and, by extension, your brand—gets credit for an amazing customer experience with a little support from some very cool technology.

What is attended automation?

Attended automation leverages AI and machine learning to guide and support human agents by surfacing answers, handling repetitive tasks, and preventing errors. The automation is “attended” by the agent—it does not replace the human. Unlike self-service tools or a chatbot programmed to handle limited tasks or conversations before turning over a customer to a live agent, attended AI works alongside the agent from the very beginning of the call or contact.

Attended automation software sits on an agent’s desktop and has access to the same programs and information the agent does—but it can surface and compile this data faster and more accurately than an agent ever could. The agent monitors the automation and provides the human interaction that’s at the heart of customer service, without the hassle of switching between tabs, screens, or programs. Essentially, it allows agents to work smarter, not harder.

The benefits of AI automation for contact centers

If you’re already familiar with the concept of robotic process automation (RPA), you probably understand and expect an agent assist tool will be able to:

  • Retrieve customer data
  • Auto-populate forms
  • Present a branded script
  • Log basic call details

But here are some things attended automation can do that you may not have considered:

  • Prevent unintentional overpayments and intentional ones (fraud)
  • Enforce policies and approval processes
  • Highlight personalized insights 
  • Draft professional, perfectly on-brand emails 
  • Decrease ramp time without sacrificing training quality

Attended automation can significantly reduce average handling time (AHT) and ramp time, increase productivity and accuracy, and improve customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores. In short, AI-driven contact center automation has the potential to deliver happier agents, happier customers, and, ultimately, a happier bottom line. That’s the kind of secret weapon anyone can get behind.

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