How technology can support the customer service process
Offering top quality customer service is very important for both an organisation and their customer base. Over the years, customer service has evolved to allow automated systems to assist with traditional human interactions. Here, we discuss how the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are being used to provide best-in-class service – with further insight into customers so staff can meet their needs.
A more efficient way of working
The implementation and advances in AI have allowed customer services departments to operate in a more streamlined and efficient way which is beneficial to all parties. Using an automated online chat facility, rather than one staffed by an employee, helps remove unnecessary volume coming into the contact centre. This in turn allows staff to utilise their time more effectively, as they will be dealing with issues that do require human contact. The customer will see a benefit too as the reduction in volume to the contact centre can see shorter waiting times.
Blair Strachan of outsourcing experts Kura, said: “Having a blend of adviser and AI can really help improve the service on offer. If a customer can use a chatbot or navigate a self-serve option, it prevents calls coming into the contact centre which is a huge benefit.
“Customers really value ease of use when thinking about renewing a contract. If they don’t need to wait in a queue and can resolve any issues using technology it may keep them with you even if you are more expensive. You want AI to deal with the easy tasks so the highly skilled adviser can handle the issues that require more time to resolve.
“We ran a project that looked at 200,000 data points with a view of reducing handle time for voice and email interactions. As a result of that project, we implemented a solution that reduced average handle time by 3.5% as well as a 30% reduction in email handle time, which is a considerable saving”
Round-the-clock customer service
The advancement of AI has enabled customer services to have a presence at times of day when staff are not physically working, and in the past would have seen customer services simply closed. Having an automated system in place provides an all-round better service for the customer, and it may be the case that their issue can be solved without the need to even speak to a member of staff.
Outsourcing customer service to a specialist organisation can allow businesses to provide help and guidance to customers at all hours, which they may not have the capacity to do in-house. This could be of particular benefit to start-ups and small to medium enterprises who do not have the resource to fulfil this important pillar of business in-house. Not only that, it also allows staff to spend time on other areas of the business that aren’t outsourced, improving productivity.
A bespoke outsourced solution can also mean a business’ customer services are in the best hands, using best practices and harnessing the latest technological advances to deliver the best service possible.
For the customer service process, if the issue cannot be resolved without human interaction, the initial contact will cut down on the time the employee needs to spend on the issue when they are available. In this situation, AI can enable automation of lower-level tasks that previously would have required a human interaction and would have not been available to customers outside of traditional hours.
Personalised user experiences
Approximately 71% of customers would like the ability to solve the problem they are experiencing themselves. AI plays an important role in allowing this to happen, sometimes even before a customer need to contact customer services. Suggestions and recommendations can be sent to customers, based on their search and purchasing history, enabling content to be sent to the customer at the best possible time. By developing an understanding of a customer and creating a customer profile, a personal user experience can be provided.
In addition to this, AI in customer services has allowed the development of augmented messaging to realise when a human operator needs to step in. This is an important step as, while chatbots are useful for smaller queries, a customer can become frustrated if they feel they aren’t getting anywhere with the chat and this in turn leads to a poor customer experience. Allowing the employee to jump in and take over will allow the situation to be resolved more efficiently.
Improved interactions with customers and a data-driven approach
Automated chat services allow customer services to be handled partly without the need for human interaction. AI can complete tasks ranging from replying to a simple message through to providing a customer with a refund. By utilising technology, businesses can provide quick responses to customers, and the use of automation allows employees to be utilised on tasks and areas of the business that require a human touch.
Interacting with customers is, of course, a huge part of customer services, particularly when there are issues to be resolved. AI does play another role though; in that it can work with service agents to recall customer data. How can this affect customer services? The system can learn the customer, and if a repeat customer hasn’t been contacted in a while, then this can be flagged, and the customer contacted. This keeps the customer in contact with the business and can help with retention. This feature is particularly effective with AI is paired with a CRM.
Overall, technology and the development of AI plays a huge role in helping customer services departments offer a best-in-class service. It combines well with existing in-house or outsourced customer service solutions to provide the best journey for a customer. Whether it be through chatbots, combined augmented and human live chat services, offering round the clock service, or helping businesses understand customers more through the data aspect - technology and AI allows for a better customer service experience.
About the author: Kura are customer service outsourcing experts.