At the onset of the new decade, artificial intelligence and machine learning technology are projected to drive the digital transformations that companies implement in their workplace. Regardless of the department—from supply chain management to digital marketing—AI’s ability to learn, adapt and acquire new information makes it a formidable tool for modernizing your work approach.
However, the trend toward AI integration comes at a time when customers demand a more personal relationship with their brands of choice. With 80% of consumers more likely to purchase products or services from brands that offer personal customer experience, it’s important that whatever technology you decide to use does not detract from the human element of your CX strategy.
The question for businesses, therefore, becomes: What is the relationship between artificial intelligence and customer experience? And are there ways that this technology can actually humanize your relationships with your consumers?
Below are three of the top use-cases of AI, and examples of how each can infuse this technology in your approach to customer service.
Reduced Hold Times
Nothing causes a poor customer experience like a lengthy wait on hold. The internet has created a customer base that demands nearly instantaneous responses to their questions; putting your customers on hold or transferring them to multiple departments to satisfy their requests can have huge repercussions on your customer retention rates and overall customer satisfaction. In fact, one survey unveiled that 32% of customers expect no wait time at all, and roughly the same percentage said they would wait no longer than one minute.
Having an AI-powered framework to help you manage incoming inquiries, especially during high-volume hours, is one way that you can ensure that your customer service teams are both quickly and accurately providing your customers with the information they are seeking. You can replace your existing call management infrastructure with an artificially intelligent alternative with the help of tools like AI-powered contact centers. Intelligent routing, which uses AI to identify the caller and their reason for calling before directing them to the correct agent on your end, helps you quickly move calls through your workflow. This reduces both the amount of time customers will spend waiting for a representative and ensures that they are speaking with the correct department on the very first ring.
Real-Time Customer Service
The inception of eCommerce and other digital forms of retail have attributed to a more digitally attuned consumer base. This has made it more common for customers to make purchases and engage with brands online, and often outside of typical office hours. The increase in after-hours shopping correlates to a desire from 51% of customers that the businesses they choose offer 24/7 support. Unless your business is a large franchise or you rely on vendors for your customer service support, there’s a good chance that you don’t have the workforce or the resources that would enable around-the-clock customer service.
That’s where artificial intelligence comes into play. As AI technology better understands the nuance and context of language, you’ll be able to deliver personalized, relevant answers to your customers without ever speaking with them directly. One specific example is the chatbot messengers that many organizations are pairing with their social media profiles, mobile apps and websites. Unlike a human customer service representative, your chatbots don’t need to take breaks or time off, and they will operate at the same level of quality each and every day. This can help you ensure that your customers have a way to communicate with your business in real-time, no matter the hour.
Even if you offer the best customer loyalty programs, intuitive user experiences on your website and an effective helpdesk, your CX strategy will be incomplete if you don’t consider self-service. Not only can self-service save you upwards of $1- to $3-million annually, but it can also yield a happier customer base that is more engaged with your products. A customer experience designed around self-service allows your consumers to quickly solve their problems or make purchases without the aid of a company representative.
Artificial intelligence can help streamline your consumer’s efforts to service their own needs without involving human assistance. When used over an extended period of time, tools like AI assistants can help you develop a more self-service friendly experience. Used in this capacity, artificial intelligence software is able to organize and record customer messages, noting patterns in recurring questions or requests as they arise. From there, your AI assistant is able to draft its own customer knowledge base, allowing customers to access all the information they need without ever having to type up a message or pick up their phone.