Three Ways AI is Shaping Modern Customer Service
Automation and AI have been making headlines for years as the future of business, but the time for Artificial Intelligence has officially arrived. Businesses in every sector are implementing AI solutions, and that push for the technology has only grown since the COVID pandemic. A PwC survey found 52% of respondents, “have accelerated their AI adoption plans in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.”
Every aspect of modern customer service is being impacted by AI, but here are three key ways Artificial Intelligence is shaping modern customer service:
1. Frictionless Interactions
Friction in customer service can be defined as any step in the customer experience that impedes or slows down the customer achieving a successful resolution. Friction in the customer service journey directly impacts customer churn and customer loyalty. Reducing friction has become increasingly critical as research shows about one in three (32%) customers “say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.” By reducing friction and delivering fast and convenient customer service today’s businesses can reduce customer churn and improve customer loyalty.
“By reducing friction and delivering fast and convenient customer service today’s businesses can reduce customer churn and improve customer loyalty.”
AI is increasing expectations for fast customer service. According to McKinsey, 75% of online customers expect service within five minutes of connecting. The faster a business can deliver customer service resolutions, the better. Any slower than five minutes for straightforward digital interactions and today’s businesses risk seeing customers leave for competitors. PwC found nearly 80% of American consumers say that speed is one of the most important elements of a positive customer experience. Even waiting on an IVR line for a few minutes — what used to be considered a minor friction point — can have a major impact on customer satisfaction today as consumers get used to AI solutions that eliminate hold times and deliver fast resolutions.
2. Customer Support — The Customer’s Way
While the AI wave has had a huge impact on customer service, it isn’t completely taking over CX. Instead of wiping out other service channels, AI is satisfying consumers’ desire for having service needs resolved on their terms, through whichever channel they prefer.
Modern consumers demand automated customer service experiences, but mostly for straightforward inquiries. Forrester found 75% of consumers preferred automated or assisted service for “Identification and verification (authentication)” use cases, and 78% preferred them for “Order management (including processing and tracking),” among other straightforward interaction topics. Smart customer service leaders are deploying AI for these key use cases and delivering live agent interactions for more complex, empathy-driven interactions.
“Instead of wiping out other service channels, AI is satisfying consumers’ desire for having service needs resolved on their terms, through whichever channel they prefer.”
Not only has AI given consumers more choice over the channels they personally prefer for different CX journeys, customers now expect every step of that journey to be personalized as well. Everything from integrations with back-end databases, new advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies, and interconnected, multi-channel solutions, mean customers interacting with AI-based customer service platforms receive a deeply personalized interaction.
3. Impressive ROI
Artificial Intelligence delivers value to every step of the customer service journey. Modern automation is changing the way businesses interact with customers before they call customer service, during the call (before speaking with a live agent), and while on the line with a customer service representative. By leveraging AI, customer service leaders are preventing customers from calling in, deflecting callers away from agents, and optimizing the customer service experience during live agent interactions.
- AI solutions deployed on websites, in web chat, on emails and more direct consumers directly to easy to use, effective automation — experiences customers want, and experiences that are usually faster and cost businesses less than live calls.
- If customers miss those channels or choose to call in to the customer service line for another reason, businesses are deploying AI solutions like Visual IVR during the IVR session to deflect straightforward customer calls away from agents, maximizing the use of AI and maximizing the cost savings that come along with it.
- Agent interactions are benefitting from modern AI as well. “Blended,” or “assisted” customer service (when agents launch AI and self-service tools for specific customer service needs) optimizes agent interactions, increasing first call resolution (FCR), reducing average handling time (AHT), and increasing agent productivity. Agents can deploy AI solutions to complete payments securely (especially needed in the age of WFH), gather customer information quickly and accurately, and more.
Modern Customer Service Made With Modern AI
AI is shaping a new generation of customer service experiences. Modern automation is eliminating friction in CX, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing customer churn. Consumers, in turn, are choosing AI solutions for more use cases, enjoying the ability to resolve service queries on their terms, through the channels they prefer, through deeply personalized interactions. All of this means customer service leaders are realizing impressive ROI deploying AI at every step of the customer service journey. The age of AI in customer service has arrived. It’s no wonder that adoption of automation and artificial intelligence is continuing to accelerate today and going forward.