The four key steps to improving customer experience with artificial intelligence
Published: Aug 11, 2018
Author: Alla Reznik
From finance to sales to operations, artificial intelligence (AI) and other self-learning automation are impacting every part of your business. But what about customer experience (CX)?
That’s where things get tricky. People only interact with customer service when they have a problem they need your business to solve. That problem can be something as simple as the desire to buy a product, make a change to a policy, check a balance, or ask a simple question. However, other times it can be because they’re having a major issue that’s about to cost your business a valued customer.
Imagine how frustrated you’d get if you had to deal with a buggy robot when all you want to do is talk to a living, breathing human being. That’s an easy recipe for customer churn; the exact problem making CX more efficient through AI is supposed to prevent.
But not only do you have to figure out how to best incorporate AI into your CX; you need to figure it out quickly. As more and more companies implement machine-learning apps, chatbots, mobile messaging and other technologies into their customer service, it will be key to start adopting AI into your process now so you can get over the learning curve and keep up with the competition.
Regardless of the tactics you choose to implement, here’s the basic strategy to follow when incorporating AI so you don’t drive off more customers than you help.
Take it slow.
Too much automation too fast can be hard to control for quality. Find a few use cases that are suited for AI that aren’t your highest-value interactions and perfect those before moving on to higher-value tasks.
Automate the right things.
It’s a fair guess that more than half of your staff’s time is spent answering the same mundane questions over and over. The more you can use AI to handle simple inquiries like “How do I change my email address?”, the faster you’ll be able to solve your customers’ basic problems while freeing staff up for more complex questions.
Measure, analyze, optimize.
Select the KPIs at the outset that you’ll be measuring to determine success. But don’t just look at AI performance; measure things like customer satisfaction and how the automation affects your staff’s performance. For example, if a chatbot is handling all the easy questions, staff time per interaction may actually increase due to the more complex nature of the remaining interactions. Once you have your KPIs, keep looking for ways to improve the technology you’re using while slowly introducing additional automation to move the needle further.
Augment, don't replace.
There’s a misconception that AI can, will or should replace human workers like your customer service staff. In reality, AI is best used as a tool that improves the customer experience and your staff’s performance alike. In addition to using AI to handle the easy but time-consuming tasks that monopolize staff time, make sure customers always have a simple, direct way to escalate their issue to a human agent. After all, some things still take a human touch.
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Alla Reznik is Director, Customer Experience (CX) for Verizon's Global Products and Services group. She leads teams fulfilling the complete CX product life-cycle process and PNL, encompassing: concept and design; competitive analysis; branding and marketing strategy; and final development and deployment.