In the digital age where negative online reviews can significantly harm the reputation of a business, high-quality customer service is key when it comes to finding new customers, retaining existing ones and creating a loyal customer base that will use your business time and time again.
A business can have a superior service or product, but if it’s not offering an experience that its customers are delighted with, it could soon find itself losing revenue.
So, what tools do companies use to make sure they are constantly progressing and ahead, or at least level with, the curve of change?
Making the most of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots, is a vital step to not just surviving, but thriving.
Any business that has, or still does, use the traditional call centre will be aware of its problems. No matter how much training a representative is given, it’s near impossible for them to meet the ever-changing demands of the consumer.
Whether the representative is waiting on hold while they are trying to get in touch with the appropriate department, or searching one of the many CRMs they have in front of them, the experience can be a slow and often frustrating one for the customer.
Each year $62 billion is lost through poor customer service, according to pwc’s Consumer Intelligence Series.
However, advances in technology have changed the game. This is where AI comes into play. According to the pwc research, AI can help plug that leak by going above and beyond what humans are capable of doing. Not only can artificial intelligence be used to lower customer effort, but it’s a more efficient way to direct the consumer to the information they need.
Some 60% of consumers agreed that AI can reduce the time it takes to get an answer while still being tailored to their preferences, while 38% said AI can offer a “superior one-to-one personalized experience.”
Advantage Communications worked with me to offer a program that is unique to our business requirements. They have collaborated and provided insight to deliver the best product for our company.
Simply speaking, AI is the umbrella term for a number of technologies that mimic the cognitive functions associated with humans, such as learning, problem-solving, and reasoning.
Artificial intelligence technologies typically used in customer service include conversational technologies, such as chatbots and natural automated phone software. These technologies are helping to substantially reduce customer effort by cutting out human error and connecting businesses with the customer on an omnichannel level.
The AI used in contact centers has three main functions:
According to Bloomberg Intelligence, artificial intelligence software is likely to be the most disruptive force in technology in the coming decade, and companies that embrace AI will get a competitive edge.
“Companies that embrace AI will get a competitive edge.”
One of the most exciting aspects in regards to the use of AI in contact centers for customer service is machine learning and a technology known as deep learning.
Deep learning allows AI technology to listen or read, depending on which type of AI software you are using in your customer service strategy, to conversations for both the content and tone of the customer.
Deep learning can be used to detect sarcasm, mimicking, change in volume, change in pitch and much more, helping to gain real-time insights into how customers are feeling and how they rate their experience with your company.
In turn, this provides real-time suggestions to customer service representatives. This allows them to evaluate each call and ensure that high customer service levels are met at all times.
These tools, along with the recent developments in artificial intelligence, have significantly benefited the way contact centers communicate with customers.
The use of AI technology has allowed customer service representatives to improve and scale their customer service effort, as well as helping them to improve the customer experience (CX) and reduce customer effort.
AI, chatbots and automated self-service technologies free up call centre employees from routine support requests so they can focus on more complex tasks that offer higher value to your customers. Not only that, but AI also gives customer service representatives more detailed and real-time information to help them handle complicated issues.
A recent study, from global management consulting business McKinsey & Company, claims marketing and sales departments are the top sectors that will be transformed by AI technology - and the transformation is happening now.
AI can help boost your revenue by improving the customer experience, keeping your customers happy and enticing them back with good service, but it can also create a personalized approach that allows you to up-sell your products or services.
AI technology combines customer demographics and past transaction data with social media monitoring to create individualized product recommendations, helping to increase your sales and boost revenue.
The McKinsey study cites the “next product to buy” feature that companies such as Amazon and Netflix have been successfully implementing. The AI sales tactic targets individual customers with recommended products they might like, and McKinsey claims this leads to a twofold increase in the rate of sales conversions.
No longer is customer service merely about making a customer happy after the sale. It’s about creating a seamless and easy experience that is proactive, as opposed to the conventional reactive approach of dealing with problems when they occur.
Moreso, the McKinsey report mentions a case study, in which a travel company used AI technology to offer additional services such as hotels and airlines via a recommendation system algorithm that took into account product and customer data.
This personalized approach offered to the company’s customers led to a 10% to 15% increase in revenue for the company.
As customer effort is in the spotlight, there is a lot you can do to deliver effortless experiences by designing services for your customers that are easier to understand and use – including taking advantage of the latest AI tools.
Many customer service organizations now include a measure of customer effort in their follow-up surveys and polls, whether it is Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).
Millennials are becoming the most important customers for the business industry, making up the largest demographic group of modern consumers. This tech-savvy demographic demands effortless experiences – quick, slick, and often in the nick of time.
So, how do you deliver high value, high-performance customer service that will leave customers, and in particular millennials, saying “that was easy..”?
Through artificial intelligence of course. AI empowers customer support agents to offer a seamless service and makes the experience your customers have with your company significantly easier, more efficient and 100 times more enjoyable.
Here are some specific ways that AI can decrease customer effort and help solve problems:
Seeking help: Artificial Intelligence allows customers to stay within their chosen method of interaction such as social media, e-mail, or route calls more effortlessly to the best possible resource.
Waiting: Artificial Intelligence decreases wait times substantially by either offering virtual assistance through chatbots or instantly connecting customers to a live person as required.
Explaining: Artificial Intelligence spares customers from having to explain their personal information, purchase details and other data. AI is designed to “learn” from the data about each customer and either work directly with them to solve problems or serve up the necessary details to a live agent.
DIY: Artificial intelligence has improved self-service significantly. Besides chatbots that can automate many of the most common back-and-forths that go on between companies and their customers, the technology can dynamically access the most relevant and specific details to help customers resolve their own issues.
Proactive: Artificial intelligence reduces customer effort by anticipating what they might need before they need it, and offering content or tools to proactively mitigate pitfalls they could encounter with a product or service.
Agility: The data collected through artificial intelligence can be used to learn about what customer effort looks like across a particular geography, size of the account, customers who purchased a specific product or other segments. AI can help develop strategies that could directly lower the overall average of CES scores.
How big is the AI role in customer service and customer experience?
According to a recent Gartner Report Survey Analysis, “Customer Experience Innovation 2017—AI Now on the CX Map. 55% of established companies either have started making investments in the potential of artificial intelligence or are planning to do so by 2020.”
Artificial intelligence comes in various shapes and sizes, but perhaps one of the most popular ways for reducing customer effort is through the use of on-page chatbots.
A chatbot is a computer program that you can talk to through either a chat window on a website, an app or by voice. Chatbots have the ability to answer questions, creating a back-and-forth dialogue that is similar to that of a human representative.
Techniques, such as machine learning and deep learning, are allowing chatbots to become more accurate in predicting outcomes and directing users to the correct source of information.
As a result, businesses are increasingly seeing the importance of their role in the customer service experience. In fact, according to research from Grand View Research, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2025.
“The global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2025.”
Chatbots are useful in numerous aspects of the consumer experience. They provide customer service, they present product recommendations, they engage customers through targeted marketing campaigns and they can provide advice on how to deal with a faulty product or service.
Perhaps most importantly, chatbots are able to direct consumers to the appropriate representative that can help them further. Using complex algorithms, chatbots are able to have a one-on-one dialogue with the consumer to pinpoint their exact need and who they will be best served speaking to.
What are the benefits?
While AI technology often seems a future construct, it is being used right here today in contact centers to revolutionize a new approach to customer service.
Artificial intelligence is here to stay and will only become an increasingly important part of customer support as we move into the future. To find out how Advantage Communications leverages state-of-the-art artificial intelligence to transform our clients approach to customer service, contact us today.
It's estimated that $62 billion is lost through poor customer service. Is your customer experience resonating with today's buyers? Customers now seek on-demand self-service - supported by helpful agents. Artificial Intelligence is taking on an important role. Download our guide to AI and get ready to transform your contact center!Download Now
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