The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into diverse areas of customer support–from streamlining operations by automating key customer support tasks to empowering agents to tap into each other’s knowledge and experience via remote collaboration tools, AI is becoming central to the success of a company’s customer service abilities.

This brings us to the next most important question that needs to be addressed:

“Why should you integrate AI and CX?”

According to the reputed Harvard Business Review, “Among the company functions that are hardest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic is customer service.” Data further claims that “The percentage of calls scored as “difficult” more than double from a typical level of 10% to more than 20%.”

Additionally, some of the most-pressing issues that the CX teams were seen struggling with as a result of analyzing more than 1 million customer service calls include:

  • Increased customer anxiety, frustration, and other forms of emotion
  • Ineffective agent responses due to insufficient infrastructure setup, lack of collaboration tools and coordination, etc.
  • Unoptimized remote coaching
  • Lack of clear policies, guidelines, etc.

The takeaway: Clearly, there needs to be a greater focus on fine-tuning and improving your CX efforts with the help of the right platforms, AI-powered tools, and customer-centric strategies.

Next up, let’s understand how you can leverage the power of AI to turn your CX initiatives into a high-powering customer happiness machine.

How to use AI to revolutionize the CX?

1. Make your chatbots ‘smarter.’

Did you know that according to Juniper Research, chatbots and natural language processing will save businesses around $8 billion annually by the end of 2022?

Needless to say, not integrating chatbots into your existing CX strategy can turn out to be a big mistake. That said, you need to focus on building ‘smarter’ chatbots that can multi-task and literally provide a helping hand with a host of customer-centric tasks such as the ones shown below:

Take a look at the following example of a chatbot, Gene by Jackbox. The conversational AI-powered chatbot seamlessly drives a two-way interaction with the customer, answering and resolving queries in real-time:

The takeaway: Instead of going for a rule-based chatbot, redirect your focus on creating a robust AI-powered chatbot that can mimic real-life human-agent conversations, provide in-depth support on a series of user-centric issues, provide accurate and relevant solutions, and troubleshoot customer issues as instantly, quickly, and effortlessly as possible.

2. Leverage an advanced IVR with knowledge automation.

If you want to lessen the burden of your CX agents and accelerate the time-to-resolution for common user issues, you can integrate an advanced Interactive Voice Response system that makes use of NLP and conversational AI to deliver a superior CX. Here’s what a typical IVR workflow includes:

You can level up your IVR game by including the following best practices:

  • Integrate real-time call routing capabilities so that customers can reach live agents in case the issue remains unresolved.
  • Use self-service options such as FAQs, knowledge base, etc., to serve customers 24×7 or when live agents are unavailable. Moreover, the integration of AI-driven knowledge automation with IVR can identify the caller’s intent and produce accurate content at speed, ultimately offering a streamlined and guided agent experience.
  • Personalize the IVR messages and prompts instead of using generalized pre-recorded messages as it improves the overall user satisfaction a great deal.
  • Gather critical information about your customers (read: pain points, likes, dislikes, etc.) to optimize your IVR setup and align it better with the customer journey.
  • Make sure that the IVR menu is simple and user-friendly; not overly complicated.

The takeaway: An IVR system is a perfect solution for businesses dealing with high call volumes that need to retain a ‘personal touch’ while resolving customer issues and dealing with an ever-expanding user base. Plus, when used correctly, it can help optimize your agent’s performance on calls–a win-win for all.

3. Supercharge your CX with end-to-end knowledge automation.

Typically, customers reach out to service agents in need of accurate answers. Oftentimes, agents are seen answering repetitive questions instead of using the time to tackle unhappy customers and engage in productive problem-solving.

This is where knowledge automation becomes important. There are innumerous automated tools you can use to power up your knowledge management efforts.

Take a look at Airtable’s comprehensive and active knowledge base center for instance. It empowers users with a high-quality platform that allows them to effortlessly collaborate and solve issues together:

What’s more, the platform acts as a self-sustaining, community-driven knowledge base where users can share their experiences, provide feedback, answer queries, among others.

The takeaway: For businesses looking to scale their customer service initiatives, using automated knowledge tools such as a knowledge base is key. It enables the customers to self-serve and ‘help themselves,’ without letting your agents intervene in the process. This ‘saved time’ allows the human agents to focus on other more important tasks that need a ‘human touch.’

4. Leverage improved personalization.

Providing personalized customer support has emerged as a strategic edge for businesses both big and small. While manually personalizing the customer experience at scale is impossible, you can integrate the live chat functionality within your website.

Using live chat, you can answer the customer’s issues in real-time and instantly:

Plus, you can personalize the customer experience through and through, as Modcloth’s live chat demonstrates below:

That’s not all. The software also allows you to comb through customer interactions and extract actionable insights to further improve your service/offering. You can also extract key customer pain points and create a relevant FAQ section around it on your website

Furthermore, you can ask customers to rate their experience and gather real-time feedback on what’s working (and what’s not). For example, you can use the live chat functionality and ask for feedback once the interaction is complete as shown below:

The takeaway: Live chat is an all-functional tool that empowers your brand to deliver a 360-degree personalized experience, without compromising on speed, accuracy, responsiveness, or quality.

The Takeaway

In order for your customer service to be impactful, you need to leverage the combined strengths of your human agents as well as the right mix of AI-powered tools. Working with just one will not provide a holistic experience to your customers. So get inspired from the examples outlined above and brainstorm with your team to understand how you can integrate AI into your CX framework, sustainably, organically, and of course, successfully.