Customer support is getting faster and more efficient. Given the growth of the e-commerce industry, speed is no longer optional. The risks of failing to deliver great customer service are all too well-known. Customer churn has turned into one of the most-watched metrics for business owners because of its negative impact on the bottom line. In the last 5 years alone, many online stores have adopted chatbots to provide on-demand support to customers through checkout. Everything from e-commerce marketing funnels to returns has now been automated.
Post-purchase email confirmation messages almost always have a ‘Got Feedback? We’re listening!’ (or similar) caption displayed prominently. The intent is to capture customer feedback while the experience is still fresh in their minds. In 2020, businesses are even going a step further. With Artificial Intelligence (AI), the chatbot has become the survey! In fact, email surveys are now on the way out.
The writing is on the wall. Online stores looking for ways to measure customer satisfaction better and learn how to retain customers need to have future-ready technology on their side. AI can help them decode customer preferences, build better customer support processes, and turn customers into brand advocates more effectively than ever before! It can help e-commerce stores prepare for the next big leap in online sales volumes in the new normal.
According to Salesforce, the adoption of AI in customer support delivery is expected to register a 143% growth by 2020.
5 Ways Artificial Intelligence (AI) Can Optimize Customer Experience
Here are some major ways in which AI is driving change in the world of customer experience management and retention:
1. Customer verification and account security
Research shows that most customers would rather not give their personal information for verification purposes every time they contact a customer support team. As essential as security verification is, businesses cannot afford to alienate customers either. When a chatbot hands over a customer to an agent, it can alert them about the reason why the customer called in. What’s more, AI can also analyze customer activity patterns based on previous interaction history, speech recognition, and spending patterns to quickly confirm their identity.
AI integrated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems can also authenticate the customer before routing the call to an agent. This can reduce the average length of a customer support conversation by several minutes, maintain data security, and improve customer satisfaction.
2. Personalizing customer experience
In the past, agents would have to manually notate customer accounts with information about earlier conversations they have had in order to ensure a seamless experience on the next interaction. However, very often customers found themselves talking to multiple agents if their issue wasn’t resolved. If a new agent did not quite understand or empathize with their situation, there is a risk of manager escalations or worse, cancellations.
AI collects and stores customer data to identify the problem and routes the customer to the right agent for assistance. It progressively learns about the customer’s service preferences and helps agents choose the best possible response for a given situation based on it.
The result: Personalized service and higher retention levels.
3. Faster response time
Response time is critical for providing great customer experience as well as boosting the overall productivity of your customer support function. AI-based IVRs and chatbots can drastically improve call routing and first contact resolution by building a 360 degree understanding of the customer’s query and providing the most relevant information to them. AI can monitor customers’ online activities in real-time and provide product recommendations and support, enriching the customer experience.
The demand for self-service is growing, thanks to the omnichannel customer support options. By integrating tools such as speech to text and contextual analysis, AI can help customers find information such as product descriptions and returns FAQs quickly, enhancing their overall customer experience. The net impact of this on customer retention is substantial.
4. Training costs
Training and certifying new agents is an on-going process within a typical customer support environment. However, the ability to understand and comprehend new information varies from person to person. Customer experience can be impacted if agents fail to provide information that is correct and relevant. The risk of escalations and potential attrition increases in such cases.
Integrating AI-enabled tools into the back-end knowledge base can enable agents to assist customers more effectively by suggesting possible resolutions. Not only can AI search for related information from multiple CRM tools simultaneously, but it can also condense it into an easy to understand format for agents.
5. Integrated analytics
Customer support analytics can give you a complete picture of your customer support operations on a single dashboard. Real-time performance data related to new and resolved tickets, average handle time, and customer feedback surveys can help you make course corrections in near real-time.
You can also compare the performance of your customer support agents on a monthly or quarterly basis to understand whether the cost of customer support is justified by the revenues it generates. AI algorithms can even predict customer behavior based on patterns like a decline in orders, expired credit card details, or a progressive lack of response to promotional campaigns. It can help you take timely corrective action to target customers that are deemed most likely to leave with special promotional offers before it is too late. Conversely, predictive analytics can help you discover solutions to a problem before your customers ask for them!
To retain customers, knowing what they want is essential. Although CSat surveys are a great way of understanding customer views about your product or service, taking follow-up action is equally important. As business owners look to preserve their margins, they are faced with a tough choice with regard to customer support costs relative to revenues. This is where partnering with a customer support outsourcing specialist like Snagthesale can help you do more with less. By leveraging data, we show you how to get the most bang for the buck. For more information on how SnagTheSale can help you drive growth, contact us today!