Better service from a bot? How A.I. is remaking customer service

For years, the human touch was considered the cornerstone of great customer service. Friendliness, a helpful attitude – it’s easy to imagine.

But can machines augment this and help make customers even happier?

A recent study from McKinsey identified marketing and sales as among the top areas that will soon be transformed by A.I.:

‘A.I. technologies are finding applications across the value chain, but some parts of the value chain are getting more attention than others… customer service as well as operations and product development, all tend to use the most commonly cited A.I. applications.’ 1

Many think A.I. is still an aspirational technology, but the numbers reveal that it’s a revolution already up and running. Consider some of the numbers:

78% of brands say they have already implemented or are planning to implement artificial intelligence … by 2020 to better serve customers. With regards to chatbots, which are in many ways the most recognisable form of A.I., 80% of sales and marketing leaders say they already use these in their CX or plan to do so by 2020.’ 2

 

‘By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.’3

 

A.I. and, in particular, machine learning not only helps make self-service interfaces more intuitive but anticipates specific customer needs by learning from context, chat history and preferences.

Getting down with data

A major reason for A.I.’s edge when it comes to keeping customers smiling? It’s all down to data – and the ability to process and make sense of it rapidly.

Simply put, machines can locate and process information far quicker than we can. Given the vast quantities of both incoming and outgoing information a typical customer service department has to deal with digital tools provide a genuine edge.

Audio calls. Live chats. Troubleshooting queries. Service scheduling. Maintenance requests. Machines can do it better and faster – and they don’t need any breaks.

More than this, A.I.-enabled customer service tools can:

  • Gather and learn from information
  • Define customer behaviours
  • Identify customers’ frequent decisions and preference types
  • Provide solutions and suitable products based on feedback
  • Provide proactive alert messages
  • Suggest personalised offers and discounts for each unique customer
  • Offer real-time support in the form of uniquely curated FAQs or blogs
  • Help lessen customer complaints and abandon rates

Personalisation perfected

Today, all great customer service centres on personalisation. It’s based on understanding a customer, their history with a company and their unique needs. This means being reactive to both what’s happened in the past, as well as understanding how to help shape the best outcomes for that customer in the future. But its also about maintaining an ongoing, value-adding relationship, and not just coming into the picture when its time to make a sale.

With complete access to customer information and buying history, A.I. helps make this process – of building and maintaining relationships – smart. More than this, A.I. is always 100% brand consistent. So customers know what to expect, every time they make contact. A real trust builder.

Future forward

Today, companies can no longer focus only on customer satisfaction post-sale. It’s about providing ongoing, meaningful and helpful interaction, and crafting amazing, personalised and highly relevant experiences. A.I. is the driver behind that personalisation process. The more relevant an offer or advice is to a customer, the more cared for that customer feels.

In this way, A.I. helps turn everything from a quick query to the sales process itself into a great customer service experience. Why? Customers are presented with a range of tailored options that speak intelligently to their unique needs.

Today, get customer experience wrong and you push your customers into your competitors’ hands. Do it right and you build brand advocates.

It’s about keeping up, keeping an open mind, and listening to what today’s consumers want. And when it comes to a better, more personalised service, A.I. technology is what you need.

Want to see how you can deliver exceptional customer service? Check out an A.I.-infused customer service solution.

 

References
1.https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/Advanced%20Electronics/Our%20Insights/How%20artificial%20intelligence%20can%20deliver%20real%20value%20to%20companies/MGI-Artificial-Intelligence-Discussion-paper.ashx
2.  https://www.oracle.com/webfolder/s/delivery_production/docs/FY16h1/doc35/CXResearchVirtualExperiences.pdf
3. http://www.gartner.com/imagesrv/summits/docs/na/customer-360/C360_2011_brochure_FINAL.pdf

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