AI has and will continue to see fast growth in the coming years, and its potential for customer service is just one of the many areas of expansion.
As customers continually get accustomed to an ever-more digitalized world, embedding AI in customer service has become a focus for many businesses, who are now investing their digital budgets in it. They have been motivated by a desire to better the customer experience, create smarter automated processes, or learn more about their churn rate.
If you want to put your customers first, read on to learn how AI can help you better cater to their needs.
For customer service departments, using AI is all about improving the customer experience and the quality of touchpoints on the buyer journey to drive sales and profits. Other tactics include outsourcing customer service to bring in outside expertise. With nearly $2 trillion lost per year in the US alone due to poor customer service, there’s a lot at stake here.
Using chatbots and analyses of elements such as customer sentiments can help to streamline the workflow and predict customers' needs, making the ways in which you deal with their requests more efficient.
Technology continually helps us improve communications, and AI is no different. Consider the ubiquitous nature of fax machines not so long ago, which have since been supplanted by more convenient options like emails. Yet, digitalization has also made it possible to send important documents securely by fax without a machine.
Such improvements are incredibly important for the modern customer, who expect ever smoother and effortless communications between themselves and the company they are purchasing from in order to have a fruitful customer experience.
With 80% of consumers stating that they have left a brand due to a bad customer experience, it’s important to consider using AI to help you achieve this. You’ll find below 5 ways in which it can do this.
Improved Response Times and User Satisfaction
This is even when facing a high volume of queries. They allow people to take action on improving self-service without the hassle of waiting in a phone line, reducing any friction at all stages of the customer journey.
Modern AI technology allows chatbots to be far more conversational with customers, as well as providing them with deeper content and knowledge-based articles.
Improved Agent Efficiency
Because AI has the potential to handle most inbound traffic and deal with customer queries instantaneously, your human agents can deal with more complex requests. This has the added benefit of improving efficiency and productivity.
More Personalized Recommendations
Your customers will be provided with better suggestions based on their choices, history, purchasing habits, and personal preferences.
Such information can also be passed on to agents, who can use this to save even more precious time when dealing with requests.
Analytics helps with customer segmentation; in other words, it allows you to categorize customers to maximize your marketing efficiency and sales efforts. By better understanding your customers through AI, you can learn patterns in customer behavior, like purchasing habits, and monitor emotional and cognitive responses in real-time. The results are better forecasts of the future customers who have been provided with the most optimized service available.
Improved Acquisition and Retention
Because AI increases the efficiency of your customer service teams and helps them better understand your customers, it also contributes to customer acquisition and retention. Ultimately, this increases revenues and reduces operational costs by passing mundane tasks onto AI.
Consider People’s Reservations
Focusing on all the positive impacts of AI is great, but being aware of how it could be perceived negatively by the public is of equal importance. For instance, ensuring that AI provides that personal touch customers crave and that it is actually helpful are integral to successful strategies.
Knowing how effective AI can be is one thing, actually implementing a successful strategy is quite another: As you can see from the graph below, whilst some companies have implemented very successful AI, others have missed the mark.
Chatbots have featured prominently because they have been used for such a long time and are relatively easy to implement. They can provide help with customer complaints or issues 24/7, often reverting to troubleshooting what the problem could be to answer customer queries such as how to send fax from Google.
Customers like the idea of being able to act on faults or common problems themselves without the need of waiting in line, which also reduces stress levels for your customer service team. Doing this effectively will mean:
- Improved response time to first-line support.
- Increased customer engagement through speedy and reliable responses.
- Providing really important support to your employees that helps rather than hinders them.
2. Combine with Human Agents
Sometimes requests are too complex or sensitive for a chatbot, so teaching them to pass the customer onto a relevant human representative is paramount, and this currently accounts for 47.2% of AI use.
Always remember that as far as the customer is concerned, the authenticity of speaking to one of your human agents can’t be beaten. The act of combining the two means realizing that AI does not replace human interaction, but should enhance it and decrease any friction in the customer experience.
3. Language Analysis
A common way to analyze language is to carry out sentiment analysis, taking advantage of inbuilt natural language understanding. Your chatbot is fine-tuned to assess human interactions, since it has to better understand the customer and the way they behave.
Think of this as checking for body language and tone of voice in real speech—without it, we could end up responding very inappropriately at times and adding fuel to the fire should there be a dispute.
Similarly, using keyword recognition saves your customer time as it can help your AI get them to the right agent. After all, no one likes having the sensation that they are being fobbed off onto someone or the frustration of not getting the right kind of help.
4. Content Assistance
Certain AI tools can greatly help, such as using ChatGPT for e-commerce. One of the reasons for this is that it’s possible for longer, knowledge-based articles to be generated for customers based on knowledge collected about their preferences using said tools.
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Furthermore, by collecting data, an AI tool can understand the main issues facing your customers and then generate content to resolve it. Another way this can be quantified is to analyze when and how content is received and perceived by assessing behavioral data from your customers, to better improve future attempts.
5. Voice AI
Consumers still like the power of being able to call someone, and giving AI the chance to categorize the call and get them redirected to the best customer service agent can save time for your agents and prevent frustration.
When an AI system is even more developed, it can also begin analyzing much more about a conversation, like what CSRs are working, and in which areas should training or changes to operations be implemented.
6. Omnichannel Options
If your AI is connected to your telecommunication system, it can inform waiting customers that if they can’t wait, they can try the live chat for a quicker response time.
It can also be used to help speed up the identification process for new users or during onboarding without the need to do this in person. Similarly, it can also help by automatically filling in the text on forms. It’s these little things that help your company provide the best customer experience.
7. Multilingual Support
Most chatbots are able to ‘speak’ more than one language in order to deal with requests from people who might not be able to communicate their problems effectively. To make this work, do some research about your clientele and what kind of languages they might require your chatbot to deal in.
8. Data Analysis
By collecting data, AI helps you create forecasts and predict trends or customer sentiments before it happens to drive more sales for your online store. It can also embed machine learning to make ever-more effective decisions in many areas such as automation of an approval decision, risk analysis, or classification of tickets to get customer optimal help in the quickest possible times.
You can make the most of new possibilities and address issues in various markets whilst also ensuring you are reducing any malicious digital threats that could unwittingly affect you, your brand, or your customers.
Whilst there are many ways AI can be used and the potential business advantages for using it are quite well known, many companies still struggle to implement it effectively.
Maybe they are too small and struggle to adopt it, or they are large enough companies but fail to make full use of it. Why is that? It all boils down to three main reasons.
Lack of Talent
It can be hard to acquire experienced AI developers or data scientists and then keep them on board to continue their work beyond the initial project.
Problems with Data
Many companies simply don’t have the permission or access to the extensive data sets required to effectively carry out many of the steps above.
A bit Overwhelming
With so many advances being made, for some businesses, knowing what to do or how to do it is not evident, and this can become an even bigger issue when there is no clear strategy to follow.
AI could be the next strategy your company creates to make you stick out of the crowd. It helps you reduce friction points within the customer journey, save time and money, and improve your understanding of your customer base.
Whilst this may seem like a magic wand, implementing a strategy can be difficult due to a lack of skills base and the whole process being too overwhelming. However, taking simple steps like providing effective chatbots that work well with your traditional agents is a great way to start. Furthermore, consider programming features like language analysis, content assistance, and data analysis to maximize sales by improving your brand image and customer experience you offer.