Using AI to Improve Customer Experience

Delivering top-shelf customer experience is essential for today’s small businesses; however, achieving this goal is getting more complex. Consumers expect you to serve them faster and with zero mistakes. Yet it’s getting more challenging to recruit and retain the service representatives you need to fulfill those expectations without breaking your budget. Enter artificial intelligence (AI).

What is AI? It’s using advanced technologies – such as machine learning, predictive language processing and chatbots – to ensure customers receive service as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Companies deploy AI-powered virtual service agents to handle low-level consumer inquiries, freeing up human agents to address more complex issues.

Here are six ways, courtesy of Zendesk, to deploy AI at your company to improve customer experience:

  1. Move to a 24/7 self-service model – Companies large and small use AI to provide efficient customer service without human involvement. AI service bots access customer data, pose questions and provide answers that satisfy callers or site visitors without consuming live-agent resources; this speeds service delivery and frees up human agents to address complex problems chatbots can’t handle.
  2. Enhance performance – AI can improve service performance metrics, producing greater customer satisfaction and lower defections. With AI, customers can receive help with zero or limited wait times and faster problem resolution. Chatbots also filter out spam messages; this lets live agents spend more time solving actual problems from genuine customers than wading through fake messages or fraud attempts.
  3. Decrease errors – When human agents interact with customers, errors can creep into their typed or spoken answers; this creates doubt in the mind of clients who wonder if other aspects of your company are also unprofessional. Because chatbot answers are pre-scripted and quality-checked, mistakes become a less common element of agent/customer exchanges.
  4. Route calls automatically – AI uses customer keywords to identify the nature of a request or problem before routing it to the right service team member. Skills-based routing allows you to match tickets to people with the proper language or technical qualifications. This results in better problem resolution and higher customer satisfaction.
  5. Deliver more personalized recommendations – Customers today expect companies to know who they are and what they prefer regarding products and services. To this end, AI helps companies evaluate client behaviors, demographics and preferences to present relevant products for consumer consideration. When people sense a company knows them, they are much more likely to buy and make repeat purchases than when companies treat them like strangers.
  6. Increase sales – AI is a great tool for keeping customers informed about new products and services, upcoming sales and special offers. What’s more, chatbots can react in real-time to customer answers, pointing out relevant products, features or discounts. Because they are machines, chatbots, unlike their human counterparts, won’t forget to bring up these points when “speaking” to consumers. Result: AI bots can deliver substantial sales increases without companies needing to hire and compensate additional sales reps.

These are just six ways AI can improve customer service at your company. There are many more. If you’re interested in going down the AI path, our best advice is to start soon but stay small. By this, we mean don’t wait until you know a great deal more about this brave new technology. Getting up to speed could take years. It’s better to dive in with a small AI initiative, learn from your experience and repeat with a more significant project.

Approaching AI iteratively – trying and learning as you go – will produce better results, fewer mistakes and a smaller investment than trying to launch a major initiative in one go. Whatever path you choose, get ready to experience the customer service ride of your life. Good luck!