When was the last time you called customer support and navigated through a web of confusing options only to be put on hold for several minutes before you heard these words – “Hello, how may I help you today?”
We’ve all had this experience at some point, but have you ever imagined being on the other side? Picture yourself being asked the same question 100 times a day by 100 different customers. Or even worse, not knowing the answers to any of those questions. That’s the problem customer service teams deal with on a day-to-day basis.
In a world of rising customer expectations and fading customer loyalties, how do brands ensure prompt and unhindered experiences for customers? The answer lies in Artificial Intelligence.
Let’s have a look at the 10 ways AI can improve customer service.
1. Chatbot-based customer support
Customer service teams today are tasked to handle a large number of customer calls on a day-to-day basis. The are also faced with the challenge of reducing the average resolution time for every customer. Chatbots have an important role to play in addressing both these challenges. Not only can chatbots provide prompt answers with lightning fast responses in real-time, they can also reduce the burden on human agents by resolving a high number of customer queries with the highest accuracy and human-like behavior. According to Gartner, more than 85% of customer interactions will be managed without humans by 2020.
2. Cost reduction and resource optimization
According to IBM, businesses across the world spend over $1.3 trillion on 265 billion customer service calls each year. Chatbots can help businesses cut customer service costs by speeding up response times, freeing up agents for more challenging work, and answering up to 80% of routine questions. A perfect example of this is call computerization, which combines machine learning and advanced speech recognition to improve conventional interactive voice response systems, whilst delivering a 60% – 80% cost saving over human-powered outsourced call centers.
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3. Round-the-clock, round-the-year support
Customers want service on their terms. Brands must be available and responsive to customers at all times throughout the year. Automated customer service can make it possible. It allows organizations to deliver always-on customer service and resolve issues as soon as they arise. This means customers can have their inquiries resolved 24 hours a day without having to wait for long periods to get a response. Not only would this go a long way in increasing customer satisfaction but also improve brand reputation and drive higher customer loyalty.
4. Improved human interactions with customers
Artificial intelligence can play a big role in augmenting human interactions with customers. Two of the most significant ways AI is augmenting customer service is through AI-augmented messaging and AI email tagging. AI-augmented messaging enables customer service agents to handle a big part of customer queries with the help of chatbot assistants. With AI email tagging, humans can save the time required to read every customer email by having AI-powered programs scan emails, tag them, and direct them to the right office. This would help human agents save time and focus on the more complex tasks that cannot be completed without human intervention.
5. Personalized user experiences
According to a research, 71% of customers want the ability to solve customer service issues by themselves. AI can play a huge role by helping customers find the right information more efficiently. Artificial Intelligence helps analyze customers’ data and recommend products or services to customers based on their browsing/buying preferences. AI is capable of analyzing huge data sets, drawing information such as the weather and location, and suggest relevant content to customers. By creating customer personas, businesses can focus on individual purchasing patterns and have a better understanding of every customer. This enables them to send relevant content to customers at the right time and through the right channels. As a result, customers are able to find solutions without calling customer service.
6. Gathering data
AI simplifies data gathering and unifies it to create a single customer view, based on the customers’ behavioral patterns. In the initial days, AI was dependent on the existing data of the customers, which was fed manually. The new generation AI-powered systems are more adept at proactively requesting data from customers without human intervention. They can easily analyze behavioral patterns and instantly respond to the needs and sentiments of the customers. They are quick to respond and know when exactly to ask further questions. After gathering the required data, the AI systems can examine the data and take further actions to guide the customers through their purchase journey. Businesses that have integrated AI to their systems are now benefiting from data collection and storage and have reduced the real-time process without any human intervention.
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7. Predictive insights
It is important for businesses to create experiences that become a part of the customers’ lives. Predictive personalization makes customers feel that each and every product or service or brand is specifically tailored for them. Businesses that have integrated AI into their systems have improved their customer relationship by providing customers with information that is relevant to them. This has increased transparency and communication. AI with predictive insights has elevated their work, making it easier to instantly scan through previous products, inventory or services to recommend items relevant to the customer. If AI is infused with emotions, it will make customer experience and interactions easier and streamlined across all channels.
8. Nuanced insights from customer data
With the advent of AI in customer analytics, brands can excavate nuanced insights on their customers. In the absence of AI, data mining used to be tedious and time-consuming. Now AI powered systems can process and analyze vast amounts of data and gather insights, which can open new doors of opportunities to businesses. By effectively implementing AI, brands can analyze every customer action, discover their interests, and use these insights to drive successful targeted marketing campaigns. They have the ability to proactively address issues and identify customers’ needs and requirements. For instance, products and services can be placed in stores where customers are most likely to spend their time. AI can help businesses drive results, deliver significant insights, eliminate human error and bias, and human resources needed for such tasks can be utilized elsewhere.
9. Assisting customers to make decisions
Around 80% of customers believe that AI powered chatbots assist them in making better purchase decisions than humans. Nowadays, customers engage with brands across devices, therefore personalized touchpoints are needed to aid the customer’s decision journey. Automated AI-powered assistants answer customer queries instantly, gather complete details regarding the product or services and advise customers to help them make the right decisions. This reduces the time spent by humans, and they are free to perform other tasks. It also speeds up the resolution process by discovering and delivering solutions on time. In case conversations between the customer and chatbot get complex, the interactions are handed over to a human agent. With their machine learning ability bots can learn from repeated issues and provide accurate solutions to a particular issue. It also has the ability to sense human behavior patterns which is beneficial to both customers and human agents.
10. Simplified task management
AI powered bots or other systems used for customer service are capable of handling various tasks all at once. This has revolutionized the relationship between brands and customers. According to IBM, 52% of customers hung up on customer support line, as they did not want to wait for so long period for a customer executive to address their issue and around 50% customers support calls were left unresolved. Brands are exploring ideas to incorporate AI to their businesses to interface directly with customers. While human agents generally get burned out performing tasks related to huge amount of data, AI can give automated replies to customers and also provide them FAQ content. AI can also help in sifting through the data, procuring more data, analyzing data, searching for required data, responding to repetitive questions and perform menial tasks.
AI has the potential to mirror the task and refer to the solution in case the issue arises again. It can also analyze unstructured data within seconds, which is much faster than humans. They use patterns to analyze the data, which can be overlooked by humans creating another issue. AI uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to read a ‘ticket’ and instantly direct it to the right team. Tagging tickets also help in solving issues that can get out of hand if it is not addressed instantly. For instance, MonkeyLearn automatically identifies customers’ sentiments and tags tickets for better prioritization. This saves a lot of time for humans, and they can take up other tasks. Tagged tickets are analyzed and gain insights from the internet especially the social media sites, products or services reviews and app reviews.
It is essential for businesses to integrate AI in their systems to gain customers, retain and make them loyal to your business. AI makes customer experience more engaging and helps you stay ahead of the game. It also makes lives easier for customer service agents. Automating quick responses, personalization, routing tickets to the right team, analyzing data, speeding responses, finding solutions, recommending products and services, prioritizing tickets or queries and more are all done instantly with the help of AI and frees humans to focus on complex tasks.
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