How CIOs Can Leverage AI to Deliver Superior Customer Service
The modern-day customer has changed drastically over the past decade. They demand seamless and instantaneous communication across any channel, at any time. What’s more, many customers interact with brands digitally—not occasionally, but exclusively. That means technology is more central to the customer journey than ever before, and the CIO must understand how to best leverage technology to help customers in their times of need.
Just as it has become easier for customers to get in touch with companies across an array of channels, it is also becoming more difficult for companies to understand and speak directly to the specific needs of their customers, at scale. Luckily, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can help companies meet customer demands and deliver superior service without overwhelming agents. Here’s how.
Increase Self-Service Opportunities
Many companies struggle to balance capacity across their support team as the business grows, resulting in excessive wait times that frustrate customers and stress out agents. With AI and machine learning, businesses now have the opportunity to provide more self-service opportunities, freeing up agent time for more complex and proactive support.
Chatbots are growing in popularity with both businesses and consumers. They can be used to collect initial information and direct customers to a help center if human intervention is not needed. While there is always the fear of losing personalization when using AI and automation, with the right data, businesses can do the opposite. For instance, if a business leverages customer data properly, chatbots could ask personalized questions based on an individual’s purchase or browsing history. With the help of natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning, bots can continuously get better at processing dialogue and responding appropriately. These interventions save time for both the customer and agent and increase the time spent on the actual issue rather than information gathering and low-level support.
Beyond freeing up agent time, AI and ML can also be used to arm support agents with all the information they need to quickly and accurately service their customers. AI support technology can suggest messages to send to customers based off of historical conversations and customer attributes, which can become more accurate and personalized over time in conjunction with a machine learning model. Sentiment analysis is another benefit of AI technology. By looking at the words and tone in a customer’s messages, the technology can identify how satisfied, or dissatisfied, a customer is, and escalate the issue accordingly.
The business value of great customer service can’t be downplayed. 48% of consumers say they would spend more money with a brand after positive customer experience, and 43% have blacklisted a brand as a result of a bad experience. Luckily, AI can enable management to get ahead of issues and plan accordingly. By using predictive analytics, companies can forecast future conversation volume and staffing needs based off of historical data. That means agents will avoid fire drills, and customers will have quick, convenient and thorough support in their times of need.
Companies can also use AI to keep customers engaged, even if they aren’t actively reaching out. This type of proactive support can help companies get ahead of potential issues before customers are even aware of a problem, or even create opportunities to build loyalty and generate sales. For example, AI can do the heavy lifting in identifying VIP customers you’d like to target with a promotion, thanking them for their loyalty.
The result of AI and machine learning adoption in customer service? Your best and most loyal customers get their questions answered quickly, your agents become more efficient, and your business scales effectively.
To learn more about leveraging AI and machine learning for competitive customer service, click here.