Working in Marketing requires us to read about what’s going on in the market. This can be challenging at times, sifting through the massive volumes of content, especially when you deal with technology that is a hot trend right now, like AI. But every now and then you stumble over great pieces like an article by VentureBeat’s Blair Hanley Frank, who states, “People don’t go and buy two quarts of AI. They buy a product to solve a problem […]”
We couldn’t agree more. The problem with delivering a great customer experience has always been the same, AI or no AI: understanding how technology addresses customer needs while solving a business problem. Unfortunately, technology can be blinding. It promises so much but, if used incorrectly, can come with a lot of sorrows. One of them is that your customers may not like it, thus won’t use it, which most likely will result in their seeking alternatives from you or, worse, seeking alternatives from your competitors.
Instead of running down the rabbit hole, let’s take a step back and think about the actual business problem. What do your customers want? Most likely they want a fast answer if they have a problem. They also want efficient customer service. No matter if they want to buy something new, add a new feature to their plan or ask a question about the latest bill, they want it done in the easiest way possible.
Taking the right steps
The first step to addressing either of these is to ensure that connecting with you is easy; therefore, letting your customer search for a phone number or an email address for too long won’t help.
Step two is making sure that existing data about your customers is fully utilized. For example, if you know that your customer called you about the same question three weeks ago, don’t make them repeat the question. Instead delight them by using that knowledge to streamline their engagement. And if you have to transfer them, for example from the IVR to an agent, also transfer the context. Strong integration with your CRM system (or any other system that you use to store customer data) is a must across all your automated or human-assisted interaction channels.
Enter the psychic
Now comes the fun part, the one that you’ve probably heard before: using artificial intelligence to improve the customer’s experience. One of the most common scenarios is predicting a customer’s intent. It’s like having a personal assistant that tells you exactly what you need in the moment it is needed. Let’s say you receive a notification telling you about a roaming upgrade to your phone plan (because the system realized that you are going to Europe next month). You call the number that is displayed in the outbound notification, and the IVR greets you with:
“Hi Chris, are you calling about upgrading your plan for your Europe trip next month?”
“Great! How long are you staying in Europe?”
“About three weeks.”
“We can add the roaming option for you and automatically remove it once you’re back. Do you want to add the option with a start date of February 4th and end date February 25th?”
“Yeah, that would be great.”
“You’re all set, Chris. Enjoy the trip.”
Several things will change as soon as this technology is implemented. First, your customer will view your customer service as both fast and efficient. No need for them to remember to call you – you will proactively reach out ahead of time. Kudos, for sure. In addition, it will help streamline your contact center operations as callers won’t need to take time working through IVR menus or being transferred to other departments. Or better still, they may not even need to call at all. Both of which mean less cost for you. Finally, your own CRM system will become smarter by learning what does and doesn’t work with customers, driving even further speed and efficiency improvements in the future.
Does this all sound like something from the far future? It’s not as far away as you think. The technology exists today to put these solutions into action. Let us show you how we can use AI to improve customer service, streamline your contact center, and create more efficient digital channels. And, of course, become the psychic your customers will love.