Importance of artificial intelligence in customer service

Importance of artificial intelligence in customer service


With time, the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) has grown immensely in our everyday life. Businesses and customers are now rapidly adapting to the new reality as AI has made every day easier for them. Artificial Intelligence is advantageous in several domains and fixes the common mistakes in conventional customer service. The most common problems customers face while interacting with customer support of a company are delay in replies, less control over interactions, and unavailability of help after operational business hours. Well, AI can eliminate these problems with ease. When customers engage with chatbots, they understand a machine is talking to them but appreciates it when it improves the customer responsiveness aspect.

“54% of customers have daily AI-enabled interactions with businesses including chatbots, digital assistants, facial recognition, and biometric scanners, and 49% of those customers found AI interactions to be trustworthy.” (Source)

Customers feel delighted at the end of their service experience when they realized that they had complete control over the interaction and got the help they needed; without having to wait for long hours. Brands should be mindful of the fact that the main goal of customer service is to achieve a maximum customer satisfaction (CSAT) rate. Traditional customer support methods blended with advanced AI technologies can certainly pave the way for businesses to deliver delightful customer experiences.

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What is AI customer service?

AI as a service has already become an integral part of customer care operations. The importance of artificial intelligence customer service is driven by the flagship technologies such as natural language processing (NLP), speech recognition, machine learning (ML), etc. AI-based customer support is taking the stress off the agents by enabling seamless customer experiences.

In the coming years, AI will be more acknowledged and appreciated in the context of digital customer experience. The output of artificial intelligence is becoming universal, irrespective of business aspects, that rely on the latest technologies, and here, customer support is no exception. These kinds of resources are becoming universal in any aspect of business that relies on modern technology. It is pivotal for brands to have some grip over AI tools, their mechanism, and potentially. To understand the importance of AI customer support, we have to look further into the benefits and how it is transforming the landscape of customer service.

Benefits of AI-powered customer support

There are several benefits of AI-based customer service that it offers to businesses. Let’s look at the most popular ones below.

Reduce AHT (Average Handling Time)

Reducing average handling time is one of the most extraordinary benefits of AI-powered customer support. With traditional customer service, the customers used to complain about the wait times, to, obtain support. But today, AI-chat bots are interacting with customers and resolving their basic concerns and queries to a great extent in real-time. Therefore, customers do not have to wait for long in the queue to engage with customer service agents. Also, customers are getting notifications and reminders about products, offers, and deliveries proactively. AI-powered customer service keeps the customers on priority.

Managing huge amounts of data

As the customer interaction grows with businesses, it produces the generation of data in large volumes. The limitations of humans prevent the endless data to process systematically. That is where artificial intelligence tools come into play. Accumulating such large volumes of data would be unusable without AI.

By processing this huge quantity of data with AI, businesses can gain powerful predictions and insights on customer’s behavior. This enables businesses to resolve the most complex customer concerns, inquiries, and complaints. It also helps in formulating targeted marketing campaigns to boost sales. It is essential to have a robust CRM tool (Customer Relationship Management) in place for the obtained huge customer data as excel sheets will make you suffer in real-time customer service operation.

Omnichannel support

Multichannel customer support allows customers to interact with brands at their preferable touchpoints. This has brought a positive outlook towards brands. Customers can always reach a brand in one way or another. But again, multichannel support comes with the challenge of processing a large volume of data and different channels to cover.

AI can quickly accumulate and prepare data from various touchpoints and centralizes all the information about each customer or client and their interactions through multiple channels. With this omnichannel approach, businesses can provide superb customer experiences. A powerful CRM at the backend of any business can save all the customer data as a single source, from where agents can access it and make work quite efficient.

Artificial Intelligence empowers businesses to manage customers better and their expectations irrespective of the touchpoint.

24×7 customer service

Offering around-the-clock customer support is imperative particularly for global brands as they have customers from different continents and time zones. Besides, modern-day customers do not want to wait. If they feel something is wrong with the product/service at midnight, they would like to reach the brands and raise the concern then and there. As well as, they prefer different channels to interact and engage with customer support. AI is making this possible for businesses by allowing them to answer through the self-directed knowledgebase – FAQs or chatbots. Businesses can stay online 24×7 and provide support to the customers.

Businesses are adopting AI tools in their customer service operations to polish their interaction. This means that the synergistic approach throughout touchpoints leveraging AI makes the entire process seamless.

Best practices of AI-powered customer service

Businesses can provide a high-quality customer experience and boost sales rates by leveraging AI-driven customer service and implementing these six best practices.Importance of artificial intelligence in customer service

Intelligent call routing

Call routing simply allows the customer to reach the right customer service agent. It is making the process hassle-free for customers and reducing costs for businesses. Featuring AI into the call routing tool determines the best available customer support representative depending upon the call complexity, customer concern, and lifetime value. Several businesses also go for skill-based call routing which depends upon the possibility to reply to a promotion. For instance, if one call center team is assigned to answer the call on product/service A, and another team is on product/service Y, therefore, calls will be routed correctly to specific teams based on their likely behavior. This segmentation can have several varieties such as; pre-sale or post-sale, order related or refund related, billing issue or technical issue, etc. AI can segregate these huge amounts of calls in real-time and make sure each call lands to its designated teams or agents who can help them.

Smart agent profiling

While businesses solely focus on the customers, just the way it has been but modern customer service methods are changing for good. Today, it is important for businesses to focus on the representatives also. Each representative interacts differently and engages with a different set of users. Some representatives struggle to deal with post-sales calls or customer complaints on the product/service. And some excel in that domain. Also, some cannot handle refund-related queries while others shine in that setting. Brands should look at the profiles of the agents on their CSAT rate in different segments, experience level, call handle time, etc. in order to match both agents and customers with each other, better. AI can hugely contribute to that.

For example, maybe, a customer service representative getting more CSAT in pre-sale support and managing to increase the sales segment. Businesses can route those calls or chats to that particular agent for new customers to grab sales of more items. Customer support has come a long way, leveraging the insights & data brands should start profiling agents and customer profiles to get the ideal matches, as accurately as possible. This will not only boost CSAT or increase sales, but it will also eventually enhance the brand reputation among the consumers around.

AI Chatbots blended with the human touch

 73% of the business leaders found that AI-chatbots are and will be the leading customer service application until 2022, at least. (Source)

The application of AI chatbots provides prompt and personalized support to customers but it is also true that these are not the replacement for human agents. Contemporary businesses should not see chatbots as alternative human-touch points. They should leverage AI to complement the human interactions and make them as efficient and effective as possible. This is to say, brands should discover a grey spot to balance between AI-driven self-service chatbots and human interaction in order to deliver the most satisfying customer experience.

AI-powered chatbots can take care of minor issues of customers, 24×7. Therefore it allows businesses to reduce the cost of hiring agents and as well as helps to optimize resources. Chatbots won’t perform well in complex customer concerns. It can be useful in handling topics that provide obvious information, such as order tracking, invoice, etc. AI can eliminate human intervention in these segments while creating a better impression on customers by answering the concerns promptly, compared to humans.

Hyper-personalization

Hyper-personalization blends AI with real-time data to create impressions that are particularly relevant to a user. The reason businesses are adopting conversational AI is because it creates personalized customer experiences, quickly and conveniently compared to traditional customer interactions. For example, think of putting customers on hold during a call and going through lots of tools in order to find the correct data of customer’s purchases. AI empowers businesses to eliminate such pain points in the customer journey by allowing a hyper-personalized customer experience. The most common problem customers face while interacting with brands is that repeating the same concern which already has been shared with a previous customer care executive. While looking for a follow up of the resolution, having to re-explain and start from scratch again, makes it toxic for the customers to continue with the brand. By tapping into AI, businesses can execute these strains big time with hyper-personalization.

AI-driven CRM integration

CRM tools allow the customer service agent’s immediate access to data when required. It can be on customer interactions, purchase history, promotions, activity, etc. Today, customers expect personalized service and there is hardly any room for errors for brands. In order to pull off this mechanism, is only possible with a robust CRM tool unified with an intelligent call or chat routing feature. CRM tools track customer interactions and segregate customers on their interests, patterns, and purchase history. Therefore, agents can pull out the data in real-time and offer them the best-suggested add-ons to buy or explain the offer they would like to know, which eventually makes them purchase from the brand. AI-powered CRM integration allows the whole ecosystem to run smoothly and makes life easier for agents.

Precise customer feedback

Customer feedback is important for any customer-centric business. Precise feedback lays the foundation for improvement. It allows brands to analyze the pain points based on positive and negative feedback and trends to evaluate possible business solutions and foster relationships with customers.

Businesses are becoming result-oriented and focusing on providing quality customer service but struggling to prepare a precise text analysis of feedback. The hardest part is to transform the text analysis of customer feedback into actionable insights. It is a time-consuming job for business managers and mostly never gets accurate. Artificial Intelligence is now automating this process by analyzing the descriptive customer information very accurately. Therefore, it makes it easy and actionable for business think-tanks to review and brainstorm to find the appropriate strategies to counter.

Conclusion

Ultimately, brands always want to deliver a positive and personalized experience to customers. People talk about poor experiences more than good experiences. Customer service may not be praised as much for delivering pleasant customer experiences but one bad customer experience can have long-lasting effects. Artificial intelligence can contribute immensely to improve poor customer interactions. Certainly, it is not the ‘job killer’ that agents are worried about rather than it creates impeccable business opportunities by providing prompt customer solutions. Businesses should leverage AI not only to understand customers better but also to take advantage of decision-making, predictive analysis of customer behavior, and provide a hyper-personalized experience. Adopting AI-powered chatbots to interact with customers through all channels and across all touchpoints improves the customer journey.

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