Embracing the power of AI in customer services
When it comes to customer service, there’s simply no cutting corners. Customer experience should be at the heart of your strategy to guarantee customer satisfaction, retention, and lifetime value.
The adoption of AI, like technology more widely, should make humans much more efficient. In customer services this is certainly the case, with use of AI adoption growing rapidly. The promise of AI allows customer service directors and their agents to reduce workload, deliver smarter, more personalized, and proactive experiences, and meet customer expectations – but importantly with a human touch.
It hasn’t always been this way, we’ve all encountered chatbots that haven’t provided the answers you were looking for, and you’ve had to revert to speaking to a human being. These experiences are becoming less frequent, and with conversation AI taking center stage, communication and customer engagement is easier and altogether more effective via the digital channels. This has obvious business gains in terms of cost and efficiencies when dealing with many hundreds or thousands of customers and via which channels that communication is routed.
So how are customer service directors making best use of AI?
Chatbots and virtual assistants
They’ve been embraced by customer teams for a while with varying degrees of success. Nevertheless, they support two core challenges – the need for customer service agents to be freed up to answer hundreds of calls daily whilst reducing the average resolution time for each customer. In parallel, the need to automate is more critical as agents grow increasingly disillusioned with their job roles, and leave the profession altogether.
AI powered bots and virtual assistants can help address both challenges, improving the customers’ and the agents’ experience. They automate the most repetitive questions within customer support inquiries – basic questions like ‘what is my order status?’ or ‘can I have the latest copy of my bank statement’, and in the process free up agents to do higher value, more complex tasks. They save time and cost and make customer services more efficient. Thanks to conversational AI, chatbots are increasingly human and pleasant to deal with when they have been designed with the users in mind, and provide a successful outcome that delivers a great user experience.
Chatbots provide a self-service resource for customers, responding to inquiries in real-time including out-of-hours, and from anywhere in the world – and in any language if required. They help service rates without the customer relying on an agent to help answer their queries. The right AI tool will embed into agents’ help desk technology and learn from historical data including past service tickets, agents notes and much more, allowing customers to get what they need quickly.
AI can be used to analyze images or videos to identify relevant products and services customers are looking for. Search technology provides a simplified way to find what’s required, display the options to customers and improve their experience.
Voice biometrics allows customers to be identified by their voices in much the same way as they can be identified by their fingerprints. Each voice can be stored as a voice input sample, to enable rapid identity verification when calling customer services. Voice recognition enhances call center operations allowing agents to quickly identify customers and access their relevant service ticket information whilst speeding.
Automated ticket routing
AI can help route customer requests to the most appropriate agent based upon many different criteria including query type, priority and even geography. This has huge benefits in terms of handling customer queries in the best way with a faster and more satisfactory resolution time.
AI can help to identify how a customer feels from their requests to a contact center as well as being able to gauge customer satisfaction. AI is increasingly able to help analyze when customers are upset, angry, happy, or simply ‘neutral’. This provides the opportunity to manage different customer segments in more personalized ways - rerouting customers back to an agent if they are unhappy and need further assistance, and to pinpoint a customer’s needs and expectations much better.
Customer feedback and segmentation
By putting sentiment analysis to work, customer service directors can better analyze customer feedback across their contact channels – digital, social, chat and more to develop patterns and trends that provide a framework for dealing proactively with issues customers may have. Based upon their behavior, it also provides a method to segment customers into purchasing behavior and history, demographics or preferences to personalize their experience.
Tailoring your offer to the right target audience means customers are more likely to purchase and with customer services data and the use of AI, it’s easier to build a customer profile and to adapt it based upon behavior so you can serve up targeted products and services. Factors like geographic location, browsing history, and previous purchasing decisions provide the basis on which to personalize and deliver the best customer service.Predictive maintenance
Using AI it is possible to predict failure or downtime before it happens, allowing customer service teams to schedule maintenance repairs and minimize disruptions to customers, as well as creating the right environment for optimal performance of products or services.
Predicting the future
Based upon what’s happened in the past and with the benefit of AI, it's much simpler to predict the future. Seasonality peaks and troughs, current trends in the marketplace that affect demand all provide a way to determine how to improve customer services to meet fluctuation in demand.
More than any other department, customer services has already embraced the benefits that AI brings to customer experience and engagement - freeing up time, improving efficiencies and driving down costs.
If you would like to know more about how conversational AI can help improve your own customer experience and develop your in-house skill and knowledge contact the team to find out more.