Artificial Intelligence is helping businesses solve their most knotty 21st-century problems.
However, it has had a sketchy history. Many vendors promised its supremacy. Just as customers have endured disappointment.
The history of invention teaches us that some things take a little longer.
Turning the Bend
You can hardly go a day without a news report about AI becoming an essential tool in dozens of areas, from A to Z, from agriculture to zoology.
Recent AI advancements suggest it’s experiencing a bit of a coming-out party. Its fast adoption across industries due to improvements in machine learning, neural networks, and connected systems enables dramatic advances in speech recognition, pattern recognition, predictive analysis, process automation, and much more.
All of these are coalescing to improve customer experience in the contact center.
Indeed, its impact is significant. Better still, the AI success story is just beginning.
When Seconds Count and Customers Refuse to Wait
In the quest to support an ever-more-demanding customer base, today’s contact centers are embracing newer, more complex solutions for end-to-end client support.
AI has already helped us develop chatbots to supplement the omnichannel contact center experience and speech analytics that assists agents in understanding the sentiment behind conversations.
While some brands remain concerned about the rise of artificial intelligence, fearing that bots will eventually end service agent jobs, most experts agree that the robot revolution will not replace us.
AI is what today’s contact center needs to serve its unpredictable (and impatient) audience.
Here are ways bots can boost your business performance.
1. Replacing Traditional IVR
Let’s face it. Traditional IVR is outdated and frustrating. These systems run on a simple, straightforward rule set following a pre-determined path.
It is often challenging for customers to get the support they need when their answers don’t suit your script. On the other hand, AI comes with in-depth machine learning solutions like natural language processing, which means that your systems can understand statements rather than just giving your customers a series of choices.
Implementing AI virtual assistants and chatbots in the contact center eliminates the maddening “press one for…” experience. Today, your customers could quickly abandon you if they have alternative businesses that offer robust AI-assisted IVR.
2. Big Data and AI Pair Perfectly
Big data and AI go together perfectly. In a world where contact centers are gathering more useful customer information than ever before, AI tools give businesses a way to collect and transform that data into actionable insights for the call center.
When you’ve got the right data available, you can then use additional AI tools like sentiment analysis to determine where conversations are going wrong, where you might be losing conversions, and more.
3. Data Is Good. But To Predict Is a Beautiful Thing
Today, AI tools can provide deep insights that allow companies to predict behavior. They sit atop a trove of information that AI systems gather. Pattern recognition capabilities reveal patterns about how your clients will respond in certain situations.
Customer insights such as these help call center managers address the needs and expectations of their customers. That is dramatically more effective than previous scenarios that depended on agents asking customers for tedious information and offering hit-and-miss answers.
Reduce churn and improve cash flow. Isn’t that the relentless demand for contact center managers? AI-based tools offer the potential to significantly improve ROI, reduce agent burnout and create more appealing customer experiences.
4. Help Yourself Self-Service
Customers want to solve a problem before seeking a service agent’s support. Without the right technology, it’s a needle in a haystack.
Of course, chatbots require machine learning strategies and linguistic processing capabilities. So, contact centers must ensure they’re training their chatbots correctly. Otherwise, they will underperform, irritating customers and increasing abandon rates.
5. Intent: The Path to Streamline Customer Service
AI tools help identify the intent of each call, and that invigorates CX as customers are directed to the most meaningful channel, agent, or service.
AI also provides contact center agents with essential customer background information before they answer the call. That means they can handle calls faster and more accurately.
Bots in Retail. The Sky’s the Limit. Including Revenue.
Well-designed chatbots in the retail space can have a powerful impact on customer experience. The best are simple to use and provide an engaging and meaningful experience.
For retailers, chatbots offer a host of possibilities to enhance CX, build a brand, and strengthen customer loyalty:
- They decrease response times to improve customer satisfaction and boost conversions
- They act as personal shopping assistants to improve engagement
- They provide personalized recommendations to foster a unique virtual shopping experience
- They can reduce service volume and enhance customer satisfaction
- They can improve conversions for retail campaigns
Beam Me Up, Alexa. Well, Ahem. Play Disco Instead.
It was one of the most compelling aspects of the original TV series, Star Trek. Captain Kirk issues a voice command, “Beam me up, Scotty.” And in seconds, the great Kirk disintegrates into formlessness and arrives at the Starship Enterprise, where his physical self rematerializes.
Now, to be sure, we are far from such fantastical scenarios with Siri and Alexa. But, these days, contact centers rely on voicebots to handle essential functions with customers.
IVR systems are evolving from dumb menu systems into smart ‘voicebots’ capable of handling complex customer queries.” In short, it’s the next generation of call routing.
Gone are the days of deep, nested IVR menu structures. Instead, voicebots ask a customer- in just two or three words – what they need and then transfer them to the appropriate department.
Voicebots also handle customer intent, route calls to subject specialists, and provide efficient self-service help channels.
Gathering Customer Context While They Wait
Speech analytics does a remarkable job of revealing customer character and sentiment – while they wait – in their own words.
Voicebots scan contact center data – and the CRM – to gather crucial customer information – even before the conversation starts.
Then, agents can begin each call with the information they need to resolve customer queries. Better still, it can increase rapport with customers and create meaningful dialogue.
Conversational AI creates a much more engaging experience while customers wait. It also helps to improve agent efficiency, lowers abandon rates, and reduces strain on the contact center.
Discover what the conversational AI solutions of tomorrow may look like by reading our article: The Future of Voicebots: Much More Than an IVR Alternative