With today’s technological advances, businesses are looking for ways to enhance the customer experience (CX). They are turning to automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to help customers solve their issues faster and provide a more seamless CX. These customer journey enhancements are being shown to reduce negative sentiment and customer churn rates.
Unhappy customers will quickly take their business elsewhere if a business isn’t responsive. And, a concern is how their negative feedback affects future business and sales. Almost 70 percent of customers won’t do business with a company that has bad customer service.
The other reason businesses are using AI and automation is due to the Amazon Effect. Businesses have to work harder to meet demand. Amazon’s same-day deliveries and omnichannel (voice, chat, text) approach have contributed to the change in demand within consumer markets. Aberdeen Group found that almost 90 percent of customers stay with businesses that have a strong omnichannel presence and customer engagement. But, only 33 percent of customers will stay with a business that has a weak omnichannel experience.
Automating certain customer service features and incorporating AI can help level the playing field.
Automated Email and Chat
There are more and more organizations deploying automation as one of the primary customer experience goals. As digital conversations continue to grow in relevancy, these automation strategies will increase the speed to resolutions as well as decrease the cost to administer customer support.
Now reactive contact centers are becoming proactive customer engagement hubs. Automation is enabling rule-driven approaches to eliminate redundancies and deploying chat and email as a means to solve customer problems, while giving contact centers the bandwidth to truly drive personalized customer experiences.
About 80 percent of customer chats can be resolved by chatbots. With chat and email, customers can have their questions answered and feel valued by the business. Using AI and chatbots as customer service tools, businesses can find customer resolutions without the need for live help.
Zendesk is an example of a tool that uses this approach. A business can set up their own help center and knowledge base. AI can help answer customer questions and send helpful articles to customers or direct them to the self-help area for a FAQ page.
Chatbots are used to categorize customer queries and messages. It can separate them into tiers based on the sense of urgency. Tier two might be typical complaints or questions capable of being handled by bots. While Tier one might have to do with returns and refunds that might require human assistance.
This improves customer experiences as customers aren’t left on hold, and resolutions are handled quickly to ensure better feedback.
How does a business meet the needs of every customer with automation without coming across as robotic? Phone support is still a vital part of the customer experience of any business. Managing those incoming calls needs to be an integrated approach. Interactive Voice Response systems are still the best option for contact centers to do this.
Customers who are routed from a digital experience such as chat need to be delivered to the right support team through IVR.
Customers use IVR for:
- Finding an account balance
- Transferring to a particular department
- Paying a bill by phone
- Starting or ending a service
- Requesting technical support
For example, let’s say a customer is chatting with a live agent online but needs assistance that the live chat agent can’t provide. The agent can provide a customer support number that routes the call to the correct department directly. Once there, IVR can further segment the call quickly so the customer can get their issue resolved with minimal effort. The customer experience feels seamless between online and offline channels.
IVR uses speech recognition and it’s so advanced it can answer questions faster and more accurately than human operators. It may have the customer’s data and the business’s knowledge base which can help it provide answers. This is much more efficient and cost effective than hiring more customer support agents. Pricing for IVR is incredibly competitive compared to the additional labor needed for manual processes.
Automated Feedback and Surveys
Automation and AI aren’t limited to calls, texts, emails and chat. AI and automation can be used for generating and compiling feedback from customers.
Gathering customer data through custom landing pages can help the business to improve their services and they will have a better understanding of their customers. When adding forms like surveys and questionnaires, these can be personalized questions.
Surveys and questionnaires can be used to:
- Target specific markets
- Gain insight into a niche market
- Understand how to improve a product or service
- Gain ratings and reviews
For example, field service tools like ServiceTitan allow employees working in the field to automatically update customers on things like their time of arrival, bio and picture so the customer knows who is showing up to their house and when. After the technician leave the customer’s house they can be sent an automatic survey and link to where they can leave reviews online. This level of automated customer experience creates transparency with the customer while gaining valuable customer insights and social proof.
Using AI and automation can improve customer experiences and help the business to grow and scale. Businesses can close gaps in service without hiring extra staff. And, they are more responsive to customers needs and can meet their demands. The use of AI and automation also gives the business more breathing room when processes are automated. The business can work on spending more time in front of clients and customers when they leverage these new technologies.