AI is becoming an essential ingredient of any effective CX strategy
Similar to the emergence of the internet in the 1990s, AI has breathed a new life into how companies engage and communicate with their customers.
We’re only at the beginning of seeing the revolutionising effect AI has and will have on customer experience (CX). Because of the great potential AI has in CX, it is becoming an imperative for organisations that want to keep up with shifting customer expectations, and the technology will become an essential part of any effective CX strategy.
Automation, predictive analytics, and conversational AI are just a few AI-based solutions that boost CX, which ultimately drives satisfaction, loyalty and business value.
AI has had such an important impact on the CX industry partly due to its versatility. Whether organisations are looking to automate repetitive processes or deploy conversation intelligence to better understand customer interactions across channels, it seems like AI has a solution for every problem.
The latest advancements in AI have made a difference in various aspects of CX, including traditional customer service metrics like average handle time and first call resolution. But now that organisations have more customer data than ever, these improvements are table stakes. The power of AI goes beyond that.
Commenting on one of the key features of AI, Kirsten Stallings, ML and Analytics Manager, at CallMiner, said: “The best part about AI is that it uses the data to learn.
“People have a tendency to want to figure out what the problem is themselves. They have hypotheses and then find data to support it. Since AI learns from the data, it gives you a truthful look at what’s happening without the bias of our experiences of what we think should be happening.”
AI works on a set of rules which are the same for every conversation and every customer. For example, sentiment analysis, a natural language processing (NLP) method, works by identifying the sentiments of particular words in a conversation, and in each case, the result is the same.
Stallings continues: “Yes, AI can absolutely help with predicting first call resolution to see if the customer will have to continue to call back to resolve a problem.
“But it can also predict how the customer feels about many different things – the company, the product, the interaction itself or the experience as a whole.”
There’s been an ongoing debate on whether AI can replace humans, specifically human agents in a contact centre, and still deliver the same level of CX.
While AI can take over many tasks human agents do in a contact centre, including resolving basic enquiries, like checking an account balance or when a bill is due, empathy is the element customers are often looking for when having more complex issues. For now, it can only be provided by humans. Stallings elaborates:
“I believe AI is a tool that helps humans deliver empathy. It can understand sentiment, but AI doesn’t understand someone’s experience, which is a part of empathy.
“What AI can do is understand points in time where it would be appropriate to deliver empathy.
“That could be through predicting sentiment or analysing a time series and pinpointing the times where empathy would make a difference.”
Again, in efforts to mimic humans, AI relies on data and uses machine learning to “learn” the empathetic ways of communication based on past experiences. For now, human agents are essential in providing that much-needed “human touch” to the interactions where it’s needed most.
When organisations deploy any AI technology or solution correctly, customers will quickly experience the benefits of it.
On the flip side, if AI is deployed incorrectly or it’s not doing what it’s supposed to, customers will notice that even faster.
Stallings believes this depends on how, why, and where the AI is being used. She says: “We’ve all been on a phone call where we just want to speak to a person and we’re tired of the virtual agent or interactive voice response (IVR). I agree those moments can feel frustrating for the customer.
“However, so much AI is being deployed in the background that the customer doesn’t realise and it’s leading to increased efficiency from the business perspective, as well as increased efficiency for employee experience.
“Often, AI makes the business look good without even knowing that it is what’s causing you this increase in efficiency.”
AI doesn’t always receive the credit it should for improving CX. Conversational AI, predictive analytics, various self-service options, and more – all contribute to seamless customer experiences, less frustration, increased customer satisfaction and finally, foster business growth.
Find out how you can tap into great AI potential by reading a new CallMiner whitepaper – AI Matters: An Insight Look at How CallMiner Powers Business Performance Improvements.