How can Artificial Intelligence for customer support assist businesses?
AI-driven automation has picked up pace like never before.
McKinsey reports the adoption of AI is increasing rapidly, with 2021 witnessing a whopping 50% surge in AI adoption in at least one function. Whether collecting data, speech-to-text recognition, or response times, AI enhances customer interaction in every possible way.
No matter how you feel about it, the presence of AI is indispensable and undebatable. AI is capable of doing a lot more than we can imagine.
But the typical reputation of AI is to simplify human tasks and, in some cases, replace them. If you look around, learning algorithms are gaining more popularity in routine and repetitive tasks where manual work is laborious and costly.
In customer support functions, AI is creating breakthrough results with Chatbots, saving costs by 30%, and customer self-service portals reducing costs by $11 per call.
However, customer support is a function that demands human intervention in multiple areas. Business insider reports the preference for speaking to a human agent hasn’t disappeared; around 60% of respondents are clearly ready to wait in the queue to speak to a real human being. Bots handle standard queries, but complicated, time-sensitive, and confidential questions (such as one in the banking and healthcare sector) need seasoned agents to offer faster and more accurate resolutions.
In fact, today, the average first call resolution rate in the healthcare call center industry is 71% which clearly falls within the acceptable range of 70% to 75%. The reason behind the advancement is AI-assisted support agents.
Combining agents with AI in customer support shows tremendous results for customers and businesses. Here are a few noticeable outcomes reported by customer support leaders:
- Identify unhappy & unsatisfied customers faster
- Iterate customer experience management strategy
- Reduce human dependency
- Reduce repetitive and routine tasks
- Ensure continuity of reporting
- Faster agent ramp-up time
- Lower employee turnover and burnout
How is AI-assisted support transforming customer experience?
AI is capable of collecting and recording data, which is further analyzed and used for assisting agents. On similar lines, here are a few major applications of AI for assisting agents in delivering exceptional customer experiences.
- Real-time solution and guidance
AI speeds up response time by facilitating real-time analysis and guidance. Agents are more confident and resolve queries faster. Not just call handling time, but first call resolution is improved with AI.
In banking, interest rates and product features keep updating; real-time guidance can be a blessing for agents to answer queries around these topics.
- Customer sentiment and emotion analysis
Proactive support enhances understanding of customer sentiments and emotions. Sentiment analysis points to the customer’s overall experience on a call, whereas an emotion analysis can accurately detect the customer’s emotion at different segments of the conversation.
Agents handle happy and angry customers differently when they learn about their experience. Tracking customer sentiment and emotions also reflects customer satisfaction which can be improved once detected.
AI can identify customers’ real needs and what they like or don’t like. Simply put, competitor analysis determines if price or service lets the customer choose another player. Identifying customer needs impacts personalized support and faster resolutions.
Managers and auditors can catch non-compliant behavior before the brand’s reputation is at risk. For instance, during a policy renewal discussion, an agent can claim that the return is now expected to touch 13% while the real rate of return would merely be 4-5%.
Similar episodes of mis-selling, exchanging false information, misleading customers, or breaching a regulatory policy can be caught early without compromising customer experience.
- Agent performance and coaching
Customer support is an ongoing process, and so is the agent’s performance on support calls. And agents need time to time fine-tuning of skillsets. Encouraging monitoring and coaching can improve agent productivity by 3X while improving Customer satisfaction by 27%.
Where is customer support headed?
While AI holds the potential to replace humans, it is best used in combination with humans–to improve human interaction and remove unnecessary friction in customer experience. As a matter of fact, a number of businesses are noticing AI-coupled human efforts receiving more trust and less resistance from customers.
Hence, permitting AI in contact centers is not intended to replace humans but how to deliver more to customers. Because the new age customer support demands making more room for agents to handle complex matters while AI looks into menial ones.
This is the choice scaling organisations are making, how will you treat your customers? With bots or humans?
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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