Using AI to Improve the Customer Experience

By Deon Nicholas

According to CCW, customers and brands say they care more about the customer experience than ever, but interactions are not universally improving. This comes at a time where solutions for customer support pain points are more available than ever before.

With digital channels becoming more popular in recent years, you’d think companies would have improved the experiences they offer their customers via those channels, but that is not the case.

Only 42% of customers feel that brands have improved delivering great customer support or service via digital mediums of chat, email, or socials.

Customer Contact Week Digital found that customers are still facing the same pain points they have experienced in the past and continue to: 

  • 64% of customers claim excessive wait times to be their biggest pain point, which is actually up from 58% the previous year
  • 53% of customers claim their biggest pain being finding the right agent or system for their issue
  • 43% are dissatisfied with needing to repeat information to various representatives
  • Another 43% say their pain points stem from a requirement to use self-service prior to reaching a live agent

What if you could solve some of these issues and help your customers engage with high-quality customer experiences?

We mentioned that solutions for these customer support pain points are more available than ever; companies have hyper focused on building tools that can change the way teams do support, manage incoming inquiries, and allow for automated self-service.

So why aren’t they being utilized to their fullest potential?

The best of these tools use artificial intelligence to help agents better triage tickets and pull accurate answers. “AI” is still a bit of a buzzword and it can be difficult to demystify what it is and what it’s not. But it’s difficult to dispute the power these AI-powered CX solutions have had on various orgs.

Today we’re here to chat about using AI within customer experience at your organization to positively impact your customers, your agents, and employees.

What Is AI in Customer Experience?

Customer experience is the journey, process, and sum of all the interactions that a customer has with your organization. It focuses on the relationship between a business and its customers.

These days we hear a lot about “the customer experience” and how important it is. It can be confusing trying to find a solid answer for it, especially when there are so many different ways you can work to improve the one you offer your customers.

AI in customer experience is the practice of incorporating technology–in this case, artificial intelligence–to transform the experiences you are offering your customers. Customer experience has evolved and changed for the better in recent years and much of that has been possible through the power of artificial intelligence, or AI. 

AI has done so much for CX that we’re going to highlight ten ways AI improves CX below. Let’s get started. 

10 Ways AI Improves the Customer Experience

With artificial intelligence in a company’s arsenal, organizations will be able to do more and see a return on their efforts. In fact, in a recent report it was noted that artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to increase corporate profitability by an average of 38% by 2035. That would have a massive impact on most companies and these organizations should understand how else AI can influence the customer experience.

Let’s talk about ten ways AI improves CX. 

  1. Predict Customer Needs

AI in customer support is a combination of machine learning, natural language processing, and natural language understanding. With this combination of technology, AI should be able to understand the intent and sentiment behind a customer’s support request. The right AI tool will be able to predict customer needs based on what they’ve submitted. Whether your customer needs to be escalated or sent an FAQ article, AI can predict what they need and help serve them. 

  1. Boost Customer Engagement

Improve customer engagement by automating repetitive and mundane tasks that can be taken over by AI. Artificial intelligence should be able to deflect the most common customer queries by automatically providing the most accurate and up-to-date information for all queries. 

  1. Improve Customer Retention

When you improve the customer experience with AI, the AI will only continue to learn and grow with your support org. AI can now effectively help businesses and their support teams identify gaps in their support processes and help find solutions to problems that could potentially lead to churn. 

AI allows support teams to pinpoint and prioritize customer needs based on real data and continues to learn from that data to enable support agents and their team leads to improve based on the data. This in turn can help keep customers loyal to your business. By using AI and machine learning, companies are able to personalize the customer experience in real-time based on the most current data which comes from the current experience itself.

  1. Grow Brand Loyalty

Using AI to improve CX is a fantastic way to increase brand loyalty. The more and more companies realize that positive customer experience has the power to transform, the more they see loyal customers returning to them. In fact, 89% of companies delivering “significantly above average” customer experiences perform better financially than their competitors, meaning their customers stay loyal to them. And 90% of US consumers see customer service as a key factor in deciding to buy from a brand. Maintaining quality support processes and top notch interactions will help brands keep customers loyal. 

  1. Improve Customer Service Team Efficiency

It’s no brainer that AI can help customers in getting the information they need or in performing a task, such as getting a refund, finding the right knowledge article they need or starting a return. But it doesn’t just make things easier for the customer, it actually makes things much easier for the agent.

The customer experience you offer is only as good at the agent experience you have in place. If your agents aren’t empowered and enabled to do their jobs, and do them well, then how are they supposed to meet customer needs? 

AI has been proven to reduce resolution times, improve self-serve rates, and deflect frequent and repetitively asked questions—all of which makes agents’ work better and much easier to handle. 

  1. Improve Lead Generation

Artificial intelligence can actually help out in all aspects of business, including improving lead generation for sales and marketing teams. Today, AI can assist teams such as these in compiling data more quickly and efficiently from a wide range of channels, it can analyze that data to figure out customer behavior and patterns, and AI can help deliver accurate, unbiased reports on the collected data. 

When you put the power of technology together with the human power your organization provides, you’ll be able to strategize ways to improve what you’re already doing and fill in any gaps you might detect. 

You can also improve lead generation with the help of a chatbot. If your chatbot process allows for qualifying questions then you’re able to qualify your customers. When a chatbot determines a customer is interested, it can ask questions that have been shown to improve conversions in the past for that particular customer profile. You can also use a chatbot to cross and upsell, and to help the customer navigate your brand’s site, leading to further data insight when tracked correctly 

  1. Better Automate Customer Service Efforts 

There are many AI options available for customer support teams, from point solutions to fully-fledged platforms designed to support every aspect of the support process, and depending on the chosen option, AI can help better automate customer service efforts.

Many brands are using traditional chatbots these days that rely on human power for configuration. You might not know this but traditional chatbots and the AI chatbot of today are simply not the same

AI of today is usually conversational and much more human-oriented. Traditional chatbot usage requires a much heavier lift for support teams – someone needs to go in and configure settings and input the most commonly asked questions a team wants deflected.

True AI doesn’t require much, if any, lift from a support team who wants to dive in. In fact, the right support platform for your team uses AI that learns from your past history and customer ticket data and continues to learn from incoming data that your team then uses to improve overall CX and boost agent experience. 

  1. Improve Decision Making

When agents receive support queries, they might be receiving hundreds at a time and are constantly working on bringing down a queue. This means that every ticket they’re touching is subject to that agent’s knowledge and only that agent’s decision making. With the help of AI you get unbiased decision making and much faster and accurate answers to your customers. Boost the CX with AI by allowing it to improve decision making for your agents. 

  1. Reduce Employee Workloads

We know that chatbots can be the first line of defense against customers and help deflect the most repetitive questions. AI also helps reduce employee workloads in a few other ways. With the help of AI, agents can have a widget sitting in their dashboard helping them answer tickets with commonly used responses from past customer queries. AI can also automatically triage tickets as they come in, removing the mundane task of routing tickets manually. By reducing agent workload you boost CX and enable them to spend time on more pressing tasks. 

  1. Provide Immediate Answers Customers Need

Customers seek support for one thing: a fast and accurate answer that tells them everything they need to know. Whether this comes to them in the form of a knowledge article or a straight answer, customers want that information immediately. AI can help boost response times and get customers solutions much faster which is exactly what they want. With immediate response times you immediately transform the customer experience. 

How Are Companies Using AI to Improve Customer Experience? 

Companies are working to make the most of their AI and CX efforts. According to Gartner, 58% of consumers will opt to use AI to save time and money. If brands can help them save that time and money then their customers will come back to them over and over again because of that constantly positive customer experience. 

We’ve mentioned that customers expect accurate answers as soon as they need them. Companies are using AI to improve their customer experience to make it much more consistent and amaze their customers with the service they’re being provided. Brands are learning how to better leverage their knowledge and empower their agents to do more in order to bring the CX they hope for to fruition. And it’s all been possible with the power of AI. 

Making the Most of AI for CX 

Your customers are the driving force behind your business. Boost their success and customer experience by improving every interaction and touchpoint along the way. By improving your CX you’ll retain customers, improve CSAT, and transform agent experience along the way. 

Interested in learning more about AI for CX and how you can improve yours? Check out our webinar featuring Shep Hyken where he discusses strategies and tactics brands can use to boost customer support and grow their business. 

Dive in.

Interested in generative AI for customer support? Check out this guide to learn about the 3 key pillars you need to get started.

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