How AI can be used to transform customer experience

How AI can be used to transform customer experience

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly becoming part of our daily lives

We might not know it, but AI underpins every search engine, digital assistant, or online shopping recommendation we use. In fact, the number of AI businesses in the UK has increased by 145% in the past decade and is now worth £15.6bn.

Integrating AIinto customer service operationscan also give companiesa major competitive advantage. While some businesses willalready be using AIin some capacity, whether they are using it to its full potential is an entirely different matter. Many companies still struggle to get a clear picture of theircustomers, their purchasing behaviours, and previous interactions. Arecent global surveyfound that nearly two-thirds (64%)of UK sales and marketing leaders don’t have a 360⁰ view of their customers.

But at its most fundamental level,AI can help companiesfind the right datato better servetheircustomers. For most companies, inaccessible internal data is a barrierthey can’t seem to overcome. Instead, they rely on less secure external data, which doesn’talwaysrelate to the customer’s journey. The same research mentionedabove found the use of disparate, siloed technologies was seen as the greatest obstacle to achieving optimal sales-marketing alignment, cited by 59% of UK respondents.AI builds a rich knowledge repository of previous customer conversations, common behaviour patterns, and answers to frequently asked questions. This repository informs everything from chatbot responses to product recommendations and suggestions for what actions a customer should take.

In many cases, companies still rely on disparate CX systems that focus on individual components of the customer journey, such as churn prediction and analytics. However, these systems lack the integration necessary to provide a comprehensive and proactive customer service and disrupt smooth workflow for agents.So,what are the main ways businesses should be usingAI to transform theirCX experience?

When inundated with tickets, companiesneed a system that can efficiently prioritise themand intelligently route conversations to the right people.

AI-basedsystems have been developed that can instantly respond to customer requests. Context-aware AI sifts through complex data and knowledge base articles, analyses the customer’s association with the brand, interprets their query, and provides an answer within seconds. These low turnaround times lead to high CSAT scores, a better perception of the brand’s ability to handle future issues, and a reduction in churn.

Some customers prefer to solve problems on their own. Self-service empowers customers to solve problems anywhere, at any time, on any device. Chatbots can also proactively assist customers by anticipating what they need. For example, AI notices if customers are inactive on a page for a while, prompting chatbots to start a conversation. Similarly, they can be programmed to appear after customers scroll past a certain point on a web page.

Chatbots also identify the context of a customer enquiry. This letsagents pick up where the chatbot left off, saving the customer the inconvenience of explaining the issue again.In addition to identifying customer issues, chatbots canbuild mailing lists and provide product suggestions.

Maximising the use of customer service analytics

AI-generated insights into customer behaviour can increase profits and improve return on investment (ROI).Most organisations view customer experience as a key differentiator, so getting it right is essential. But to get a full picture of a customer’s experience, theyneed hard data.Customer service analytics detailsomeone’s history with thecompany and map their entire customer journey. The businessgainsinsight into the typical paths that yield the most satisfaction, bottlenecks, and the problematic touchpoints. Customer analytics can alsopredict future issues that might arise.

The best CX platforms capture data from multiple sources and have APIs that allow businessesto share the data with other systems, givingthema bird’s eye view of customer experience and its impact on theorganisation.

Artificial Intelligencecan be usedfor pattern recognition to deal with similar queries and provide agents with canned responses.Natural language processing algorithms and AI handle the most commonly repeated tasks.Chatbots identify customers’ needs and respond by suggesting articles from a company’sknowledge base. This also frees up precious time for customer serviceteamsto spend on resolving issues that require human assistance.

There are numerous benefits of implementing AI solutions into a customer service support team, includingbetter customer journey analytics, accurate data to report on, predictive behaviour analysis, and hyper-personalisation. AIfacilitates a better understanding of a business’ customersby usingdata analysis tocontinuously learn and improve.

AIisalsoconsistently evolving to improve customer experience. Examples include the use of customer data to recommend the next best actions or using these insights to anticipate the needs of other customers. AI applications contribute to quantifiable results in CX,such as a reduction in negative comments on social media, faster ticket resolution, and lower contacts per order. By reducing reliance on humans and making the switch to AI, organisations can provide a more responsive customer service.

AI isn’t just a buzzword that remains out of reach for all but the biggest of businesses. It’s a tool that can help organisations of all sizes activate better productivity, customer satisfaction, and positive brand recognition. Customers respond well to the personalised and consistent experiences that AI delivers. Organisations therefore looking to develop deeper, more personal relationships with their customers should look to embrace AI and integrate it across their customer service operations. Only then will they be able to build a true picture of their customer base and deliver amazing experiences time and time again.

Simon Johnson is General Manager, UK and Ireland at Freshworks. Freshworks makes it fast and easy for businesses to delight their customers and employees. We do this by taking a fresh approach to building and delivering software that is affordable, quick to implement, and designed for the end-user.

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