Artificial intelligence has been around for a while, and while some wholeheartedly embrace the idea, others are wary of using what is portrayed to be a “robot” in any customer experience. When many think of AI, they think of conversationalist robots, while the truth is that AI has evolved into software programs that can be seamlessly integrated into current programs and become a huge asset to their human colleagues.
AI is more than just a programmed bot that can answer the same questions that are included on a company’s FAQ page, and actually has many valuable applications in the business world and more specifically, in the form of customer support. Once companies understand the basics behind artificial intelligence and the benefits of speech analytics, the investment is more attractive and practical to improve customer service in all areas.
Why Is Customer Service Important?
All companies recognize that good customer service is essential to staying in business, building a brand and gaining the trust of consumers that love your products and services, but many fail to understand WHY customer service is so important. It’s just an assumed fact, but doing the research into why it is so important can help us better understand how artificial intelligence and quality monitoring with speech analytics can improve the experience.
Companies often struggle to find the line between being more efficient at answering calls and resolving problems and keeping customers happy. Consumer issues can take up quite a bit of time for an agent even as the company is pushing for faster resolutions that encourage agents to get off the call as quickly as possible. At the end of the day, your customers need to feel as if their opinions are the most valued thing in your company, and artificial intelligence can help.
AI provides faster results and resolutions to issues that commonly plague customers. It can improve the efficiency of employees, create better outcomes customized to fit any client’s problem, reduce call center costs and perform large tasks that would be impossible for a human to complete in the same amount of time. AI is important for more than just chat, and can create a positive experience for every customer that works with your company.
To put it in perspective, realize that most Americans currently use some form of artificial intelligence in their everyday lives. With smartphones and tablets, most turn to assistants like Cortana and Siri to get directions, ask questions and resolve problems. As AI becomes more integrated into our day to day lives, experts expect that in a short five years, customers will only interact with a human from a company 15% of the time. The other 85% of the experience will be done with some form of artificial intelligence.
Recent Experiences With AI
Developers work tirelessly to create an AI system that works with every company in a convenient way, with the ultimate goal being to make life and work easier for everyone. Examples of using AI include Google, who improved their voice recognition technology from 84% to 98% in just two years. IBM’s Watson was released in 2011, and is now 2400% smarter than it was at its release date. Tens of millions of online searches are done each month through voice recognition systems. Every advancement brings AI closer to being profitable and applicable to businesses of all sizes. Some companies have already invested in the technology and reaping the rewards for doing so.
These are just three examples of companies that have a vision of what AI can do to improve the customer service experience. In call centers, wasted time is wasted money, and the more you can simplify the problems your agents face, the better the experience for all. Rather than wasting valuable call time on the same monotonous questions that constantly arise, AI makes it easy to address those and let your agents handle more complicated matters that can’t be solved with AI.
How Can You Use AI to Improve Your Customer Service Experience?
While all this information is important, the key is how you can practically apply these valuable tools to your own customer service issues. AI can be a valuable tool to every company, but finding the right program means addressing your companies unique needs and issues. We have a few reasons you should integrate AI into your business and make the experience more pleasant and profitable for your employees and your customers.
1. Put the Human in Your Automated Response
One of the biggest hang-ups and criticisms of service channels powered by artificial intelligence is the lack of ability of the computer to show human emotion or emotional intelligence. When an already frustrated customer deals with an email response that doesn’t directly resolve the issue, or a voice recognition or speech analytics systems that fails or a text message for a product recall that the customer doesn’t have, the problem is confounded. These are basic failings of an AI systems, but the problem becomes even more complex when an issue that is complicated enough to be handled by a human is thrown to an AI system that can’t apply workflow and logic.
One of the highest reasons for call center agent burnout, stress and turnover is the emotionally charged situations they face with a frustrated or angry customer. With the help of AI, that pain is alleviated and situations that are volatile are referred to an agent to handle. As you invest in AI technology, start small with resolution of common customer problems before turning highly emotional situations over to a program incapable of feeling human emotion.
2. Service Is Important to Every Department
Think about a world where technology allows for a part to be re-ordered for a broken appliance before the customer even knows it’s broken, or an airline automatically re-booking a connecting flight or a home disaster that automatically contacts the appropriate service to help. Before the customer even realizes there is an issue, it is in the middle of a resolution. When the AI service can be built into the product itself, it makes it easier for companies to stay ahead of customer service issues before they even occur.
AI allows for in-the-moment information to be relayed to customers, allowing products to differentiate themselves from the competition and keep consumers paying for monthly subscriptions.
3. Intelligent Self-Service Channels
Customers quickly get frustrated with self-service channels that seem to lead them on an endless trail of confusion that make for a negative service experience. AI uses a range of relevant criteria to personalize service to high value customers instead of providing them with the typical, generic responses that come from an automated phone channel.
AI bots also have the ability to handle web chat, and to determine when the customers require a more personal touch that should come from a human agent. These high value interactions help agents close sales without dealing with mundane questions about return policies or store hours. The AI bot can handle the basic questions while sending the live chat to an agent when it’s revealed that the customer is of high value. The customer then leaves the interaction with a positive experience that was customized to their specific needs.
The Future for Customer Service
No matter how you look at it, AI is the future of customer service. Integrating AI into an existing support channel can create happy customers, free up employee time and offer better solutions for common problems your business faces. Artificial intelligence may be a long way from perfect, but the current technology offers a wide variety of benefits for your employees and your customers.