What are the benefits of AI in customer communications?
Leverage communication data with artificial intelligence to deliver customer experience that’s comparable to Amazon
If you need convincing about the benefits of AI in the workplace, you’re not alone. Many are unsure about it. However, you’ve probably already experienced it if you’ve been in contact with Amazon.
Did the Amazon agent answer your query successfully when you interacted?
If they did it’s because Amazon is. The speed and success of their customer interactions is a result of leveraging customer data using AI. Artificial intelligence streamlines communications with customers and improves the user experience.
Amazon’s customer base is global and speaks a multitude of languages and yet its success rate through communications is unmatched.
A brief interaction with their chatbot is enough for Amazon to understand the best way to respond to the query. AI enables Amazon to be proactive and anticipate a user’s concerns. As soon as it has enough information an agent can take over the conversation by phone and is a step ahead in the resolution process.
Compare that experience to when you were passed from agent to agent trying to solve a problem with another company. Most other businesses funnel their customers into using outdated channels because they are connected to legacy customer platforms.
Compared to AI-driven systems legacy platforms are inefficient, adding unwanted additional time to interactions and often generating frustration in customers.
The ease of communicating with Amazon makes it more likely to use them again, even when things go wrong. By contrast, frustrating interactions with a business leaves a customer feeling less inclined to use them again. And when an interaction to resolve a problem goes badly there’s more chance of customers looking elsewhere for that product.
In fact, Walker Consulting predicts that customer experience will be the key differentiator in business by next year, more so than the price or product itself.
MORE CUSTOMERS USING DIGITAL COMMUNICATION CHANNELS
For many customers, the phone is their main form of communication and is the primary support tool for businesses. This makes sourcing a cost-effective, high functioning telephony and UC solution business critical.
But an increasing number of customers use both phone and digital support. Live chat, ticketing/email, knowledge base, social media, and AI-powered chatbots are increasingly popular and preferred for certain use cases.
The challenge is in choosing which channel to implement and how to successfully incorporate in your business.
Understanding your customers and their communication preferences will guide the choice.
However, AI integration is critical if the new channel is to achieve full potential. This is because every time a business communicates with a customer it’s an opportunity to enhance that relationship. Personalisation is key. However, the only way to personalise communication at scale is by unifying customer data and using AI to present it in an actionable form.
Impact AI can drive relevant, convenient and personalised communications at every point in the customer journey. As a result, businesses acquire new customers cost-effectively. Retaining customers over the long haul becomes easier as does realising more upselling opportunities which increases lifetime value. Improved interactions also reduce churn.
One exceptional ability of AI-driven communication is to provide sentiment analysis about a conversation. It identifies customer mood to enable a business to provide highly personalised services. This information empowers agents and further analysis enriches subsequent conversations.
Sentiment analysis also helps businesses get valuable insights by analysing interactions between departments and within teams.
Speech analytics surface problem areas as well as reveal role-model agent behaviours. When combined with machine learning and natural language processing it can flag instances of non-compliance. This helps quality assurance managers zoom in on what needs attention and is effective for identifying agent training needs.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LIVE CHAT KNOWLEDGE BASE AND TICKETING
When evaluating your communication infrastructure, it’s important to understand the benefits and role different channels offer a business.
Live chat allows customers to connect with agents on demand to get answers to queries instantly via a website. With live chat a business can engage customers in real-time and quickly provide solutions.
According to an Aberdeen Group report, companies that use live chat save 50% or more on support costs versus other methods. Agents can handle multiple chats simultaneously and there are better opportunities to use interaction logs for analysis and continuous improvement purposes.
Live chat also facilitates identification of sales opportunities. AI-driven insights into browsing habits and customer personas help to create personalised interactions along the customer journey and identify new selling opportunities.
Knowledge base is a self-help hub that is always available and avoids the need to escalate to an agent. This is usually in the form of an FAQ page or help guide and is built up by a business in response to recurring queries.
Having well explained answers on demand frees up agents’ time which can be better used in more complex and challenging scenarios.
While live chat and knowledge base can quickly solve customer problems, they also require an unquantified commitment of user time. However, there are some queries that don’t need an asap response which is when ticketing/email is preferable.
Ticketing and email communications can be mined to reveal actionable detail like pain points. This information can drive improvement in product development or new features.
Using Impact AI with Impact CRM to track these interactions reveals activity patterns to determine customer risk thresholds and identify at-risk clients. By closely monitoring these interactions Impact AI identifies the patterns where customers are likely to discontinue and help to reduce churn.
THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA AND AI-CHATBOTS
Social media’s importance as an engagement channel increases relative to customer age. Microsoft research in 2016 revealed that most millennials (born 1981-1996) believe social media is useful for customer service as opposed to only 27% of Baby Boomers (born 1946-64).
Its resolution effectiveness through the ability to ‘go public’ on unsatisfactory issues by leveraging public opinion.
While many organisations use social media as a ‘megaphone’ to broadcast marketing messages, they ignore the equally important ‘microphone’ approach for handling queries. An imbalanced approach where a business fails to respond to issues on a social media results in a decline in customer support by as much as 50%.
However, given its prevalence organisations simply cannot choose not to be available through at least one social media channel.
AI-powered chatbots capture customer data and context to deliver better communications and customer experiences. The use of conversational AI offers a responsiveness that mirrors having a normal conversation. It creates a relationship with the user by drawing context from data collected.
Chatbots also reduce website bounce rate – marketing’s equivalent metric to churn – by interacting with customers directly it engages the user for longer and increases the consideration rate.
The AI systems learn from data collected through sales transactions, customer service tickets, live chat, emails, and phone call recordings in addition to the chatbot interactions.
The intelligent chatbot solution is 24/7 gateway that is highly effective at addressing user frustrations when customers reach out. Human inconsistency has less of an impact and the scale of potential customer interactions is virtually limitless.
While each of these digital channels have their own compelling merits, integration is the only way to provide agents with a personalised view of every customer. The ability to communicate as a one-on-one relationship increases possibilities to sell and serve more effectively.
INTEGRATION GIVES MORE AI-DRIVEN INSIGHTS
The value in these various communications channels comes from the ability to analyse the data they produce about customers. However, customer data needs to become actionable to realise its true value. AI turns customer data into actionable insights.
However, if the goal of the company is to deliver Amazon-like customer experience it requires integrating all the company’s data, connecting every communication channel and business applications through a single platform like Impact CRM.
Customer facing employees need to access this data and insights whenever needed. Amazon identified that customers base their opinion of a company on their latest interaction. Therefore, employee consistency and their ability to answer questions and resolve issues is essential.
Integrating communications data with Impact CRM and other business app data gives a company a truly holistic picture and empowers agents when presented in a single screen.
Account insights regarding deposits and withdrawals as well as payment insights in relation to transactions can be analysed with email and marketing campaign insights. Every interaction can be analysed to predict where a problem might occur. This also includes customer paths recording as they navigate a website, actions logs, profile logs and KYC/AML logs.
The more customer data analysis, the more capable a business is to make good decisions. This ability arches across the entire business and through every layer of a company. An employee is armed with complete customer context and able to resolve an issue on the first call. Similarly, an executive planning business strategy using analysis of sales and communications data can make the best decisions.
A SOLUTION FOR EVERY BUSINESS
Legacy customer platforms that struggle to integrate multiple communication channels and business applications can’t compete with platforms like Impact CRM. They are never going to achieve Amazon-like customer responsiveness which is the benchmark modern businesses measure themselves by.
To achieve this the customer platform needs to offer easy integration with common communication channels, as well as APIs that allow integration with other business applications.
Impact CRM makes actionable business insights accessible to companies of every size, even those who don’t have the IT resources to create custom integrations.
This cloud-based solution unifies all business functions. When combined with Impact AI to leverage customer data a business can see all the relevant analytics through a single interface and access a complete customer history on demand.
These insights empower employees with the ability to address customer interactions successfully at the first point of contact and via whichever communication channel the customer prefers to use.
Impact AI can also identify trends and patterns in individual customers and offer personalised interactions as well as within the entire customer base to ultimately make optimal business decisions.