Customers want to get personalized experiences whenever they engage with companies and brands. This is the norm today. Customer experience is not just the sale itself but it starts from the moment they land on your site, to after sales. A pleasant customer journey can win loyalty. Provide that and they keep coming back. Customer experience has improved over the years and brands have taken it a step further by personalizing every step of the customer journey. But not everything is rosy. According to a customer experience report, which asked more than 100,000 consumers, customer experiences haven’t improved. Most of the companies profiled in the report either failed to improve or stagnated.
The question now is how do you improve and personalize the customer experience? How do you juggle between making a sale, keeping costs down while making sure the customer has a great experience?
The key is leveraging AI (artificial intelligence) and robotic process automation technology to improve and personalize the customer experience. Integrating automation levels the playing field for everyone and even allow small companies to go global and serve customers across oceans and continents. Businesses with the help of contact centers have been utilizing AI and robotic process automation for years but in order to provide truly personal customer experiences, we are taking it a step further.
Use AI to gain better customer behavior insights
The amount of customer data is just staggering. It comes from all sorts of data sets (unstructured and structured) from social media sentiments, buying history, customer behavior during service calls, video and more. Companies need to scour and make sense of it to stay competitive and agile. That’s why C-level executives at American Express, Capital One, Ford, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, and Mastercard and the rest of the Fortune 1000 companies (around 91.6%) are increasing their Big Data and AI related investments. They understand that AI is the key to understanding customers. AI can drill down and mine information to better understand the people that they serve. AI, together with automation, can help companies anticipate customer needs. With AI, contact centers can help businesses improve how they engage their customers every day, any time.
- Deploy artificial intelligence at important customer touch points. Companies recognize that deep diving into customer data, analyzing and quickly generating insights are key to understanding customers. Air Canada uses AI and machine learning data analytics system to understand customers across their digital and offline channels. This resulted in a more streamlined access to their sites and services. Financial institutions are using AI to identify clients ready for financial solutions upsell. Some online retail stores are using AI to battle other bots to defraud or game their systems. Through these clever implementations of AI, they are able to lessen customer churn and increase brand loyalty.
- Utilize AI powered biometrics to provide a secure customer experience. Voice biometrics driven by AI can help provide a safe and secure environment for customer calls. We have solutions that identity of customers without asking them, based solely on a caller’s unique voiceprint. What’s even better is that these solutions come equipped with regulations- and standards-compliant voice recognition technology.
- Integrate AI in customer contact center systems to help agents become better at their jobs. In an IBM report, 73% of US consumers say “valuing their time” is the most important thing a brand can do. Interestingly, most customers go for messaging rather than voice calls for customer support. AI can actually help contact center agents to be more efficient and serve clients better through real-time industry knowledge and get quick, easy access to insightful directions. The better they serve their consumers, the better the experience they have. That quickly translates to repeat business and brand loyalty.
Develop and use intelligent chatbots
BPOs and contact centers have been using chatbots for years and according to 2018 State of Chatbots Report (Drift, Audience, Salesforce and MyClever), people want to talk chatbots and over 64% of customers want to interact with them. Why? People want to get access to support and service anytime of the day, every day. They want to be able to talk to someone who could provide answers immediately any time of the day. Nordstrom and 1-800 Flowers use chatbots to help their respective customers with their shopping lists, provide recommendations and keep tabs on important dates. But chatbots need to be more intelligent.
- Integrate Natural Language Processing (NLP) into chatbots. This will allow it to understand messages and respond better just like how human agents do it. It’ll be able to understand nuances of the language, the context how words are used, so it can provide better responses. Bradesco, a bank in Brazil with more than 65 million customers have deployed an employee chatbot that speaks Portuguese but detects accents and speaks just as fluently in those accents.
- Use automation tools such as chatbots driven by AI to free up your employees from time consuming tasks. Some AI automation tools can (with the help of machine learning) can analyze all the available data and map out possible ways to improve processes.
- Design it with other functions. Bots can do more than just talk to customers. If the chatbot can identify a complex issue, it can easily pass it on to a human agent to address it. Chatbots are also being used to data-entry tasks such as accounts payables, updating user information, and do repetitive data-entry tasks for connected and disconnected legacy systems.
According to Forbes, Automation and AI will be so important that by 2025, 95% of customer interactions will be AI supported. The banking industry is already using it and IBM says that success rate of bot interactions will hit 90% by 2022. The reason is not just providing a better and more personalized customer experience but also the cost savings to companies. Using chatbots saves them billions. (US$6 billion last year in fact). By 2023, savings will have reached US $11 billion.
Chatbots won’t be replacing human agents soon. There will be tighter integration between AI driven chatbots and their human agent counterparts. But in the very near future, it will not only answer questions but the customer won’t be able to tell, between a bot and human support agent.
Chatbots, automation and AI aren’t just for big companies. SMEs can benefit greatly from leveraging AI and automation technology. There are scalable automation and AI solutions that can fit any organizational requirement and in conjunction with interactive voice response Systems (IVR) and human agents, companies can provide truly personal customer experiences 24×7.