Is the decision to implement conversational artificial intelligence all about ROI? Yes, and it should be, but don’t forget how it will benefit your customers and ultimately increase brand loyalty.
The last decade has seen a clear trend emerge towards self-service - especially in the younger generation. Information needs to be accessed immediately, and services must be performed in a matter of seconds or minutes, rather than hours or days. Attention spans have rightly decreased to match the pace in which we consume digital information, and everyone has to adapt. It isn’t feasible to rely solely on expensive human customer service anymore - at least not without breaking the bank.
Enter the digital customer service rep, virtual agent or chatbot. Whatever you choose to call it, they all (at least the good ones) use artificial intelligence to automatically handle the thousands of basic questions and endless mundane tasks that companies face every single day.
Besides the obvious financial benefits of automating customer service, here are a few reasons why companies should prioritize adding artificial intelligence to their customer interactions:
1. Constant availability
Today, many companies are expanding the opening hours of their call centres to keep up with customers. These same customers are getting more demanding and want help exactly when they need it, not when the company decides it’s available.
Those that have successfully implemented conversational AI are already now starting to decrease the availability of their human operators as the first step towards complete digitalization. In addition to saving money by reducing their opening hours when human operators are available, they’re increasing customer satisfaction through supplying an always-available company representative.
2. Instant responses
How do you feel when someone puts you on hold? Chances are, you probably don’t feel too keen on continuing the conversation. If that’s a common occurrence at your company, you’re likely to lose potential business, from both new and existing customers, due to impatience and frustration. And that’s just from today’s demanding customers - the customer of the future is likely to be even more impatient.
Conversational AI responds instantly by default, but we’ve actually experienced that it can be too instant for some: many of our clients reported that their customers thought the virtual agent responded too quickly. To make it more appear more “human”, we added a delay of 1-2 seconds. The change made it seem like the conversational AI was “typing..”, and we never heard a complaint again.
3. Proactive abilities
Many people think that introducing a virtual agent has the potential to lower the quality of the service. What they need to consider is the clear trend towards self-service. In general, the trend is definitely a good thing because the cost of providing service goes down and customers can easily access information, but some might argue that it reduces brand interaction.
Conversational AI can provide the best of both worlds; taking the customers back to “the good old days” when they could talk to “their guy” in a bank, travel agency or airline. What if you could talk to your customers like that again, one-on-one? What would you say? How much more revenue would that bring? Having these kinds of conversations would cost a fortune today for large enterprises.
Conversational AI allows you to personalize your service. Through it, you can automatically reach out to a customer that recently got a car loan and ask if they are happy with their terms, if you can help them with insurance or if there anything else they need. We’d be willing to bet big that this is the road to delighting customers and gaining more business.
Staffing a call centre to tackle peak periods is a difficult task that often leads to frustration on both sides. Even the worst conversational AIs can handle small peaks, but it takes true scalability to tackle a growing number of inquiries over time.
This is also true for sudden, unexpected events. With proper conversational AI you are able to handle an almost unlimited amount of conversations simultaneously. Preparing for such events will satisfy those that depend on your customer service on a rainy day and have a positive effect on your reputation, whether it’s in a crisis-handling situation, or just in general.
One of humanity’s greatest assets is our creativity and variety. But when it comes to service and providing consistent information, even the most rigorously trained employees are known to deliver different answers, often based on their experience, mood or other external factors.
With conversational AI, that variety is completely removed from the equation. It is a machine, after all, and will provide consistent (and correct) responses every single time.
6. Customizable customer journey
Navigating through homepages to find the information you are looking for can be a tedious and time consuming task. If you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, using the on-site, keyword-based search engines are seldom rewarding.
Resourceful people will still find what they need, either by themselves or with the help of others, but the process will ultimately drain some of their finite patience with your brand. And what about people who just can’t find what they’re looking for?
With conversational AI they will experience effortless service where all people are served equally, and you will have the tools to customize what they should be looking at next through conversation flows that cover all outcomes.