Technology and technological familiarity have spurred a new wave of digital consumerism.
Whether customers are seeking answers through email correspondence or finalizing their online purchases, today’s buyers are aware of what technology can do and, accordingly, want to partner with businesses that can meet their demands for tech-friendly consumerism.
Artificial Intelligence is the source of many of the tectonic shifts in emerging digitized relationships between customers and businesses. Successful businesses are learning that the key to customer satisfaction across digital platforms is harnessing the power of AI technology to facilitate a strong customer experience and digital presence.
In fact, 61% of businesses reported by Narrative Science and the National Business Research Institute had already implemented AI into their business practice in 2017, with many more following suit. These numbers indicate that organizations looking to stay ahead of the competitive curve may require AI integrations in the near future in order to remain a viable partner in the eyes of consumers.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the specific tools and digital strategies that businesses can use to bolster a more robust customer experience.
Unlike humans, AI doesn’t require breaks, time off from work or sleep to continue functioning properly. This means that even businesses that don’t have the bandwidth to support 24/7 support personnel can still respond to customer inquiries around the clock with artificial intelligence.
But how much of a priority, exactly, should businesses place on timely communication?
A study conducted by Hubspot proves just how important it is for businesses to maintain prompt dialogue with both existing and potential customers. Although the internet is a powerful force for uniting producers and consumers, the cost of this connectivity is a tendency toward impatience, with 90% of customers placing a high value on receiving immediate responses when they have a customer service related question.
If your customer service, sales or marketing teams are looking for new solutions to increase response rates, consider implementing a chatbot. Designed to integrate with your website and mobile app, chatbots are AI-powered computer programs that simulate natural dialogue to answer customer requests. As opposed to other response tools that do not use AI, chatbots can detect intent for customer inquiries and adapt to user corrections or patterns over time to deliver more accurate responses as the conversation develops.
Outside of your product or service, CX is the one controllable aspect of your business that will help you stand out against your competitors. Many recent surveys indicate that customers who feel valued or appreciated by the companies they do business with are more likely to become repeat customers and will even spend more money if they feel like you provide fantastic customer experience.
At the root of customer appreciation is personalization, or a CX that is custom-tailored to meet each individual’s particular needs. A great customer journey begins and ends with personalized touches from your business—and this is especially relevant when working through issues as they arise.
Nothing is more frustrating on the customer’s end than having to walk through the same issue with multiple people over several phone calls and email threads. Many tools like smart call center systems are incorporating AI technology into their programs to help customer service representatives have a better idea of each customer’s journey before engaging in dialogue.
When used in this capacity, AI can develop and share detailed information on the customer’s previous interactions, identify individual callers and route them to their designated team member to avoid transfers over multiple departments. Ultimately, this allows you to maintain a fast response speed with your customer base while also ensuring that each individual feels valued and understood.
While having great customer service is a crucial part of CX, it’s only a small part of a larger whole. Thanks to online purchasing options on websites and applications, many consumers today prefer a self-service experience — that is, one where customers have all the tools necessary to solve their problems or needs entirely on your own.
While it may be true that consumers have always sought to satiate their own needs, the technology required to turn this into reality simply didn’t have the computation power necessary. Today, however, developments in machine learning and AI have made self-service delivery possible for companies both large and small.
One facet of self-service AI is Natural Language Processing, or NLP. This piece of technology combines linguistics, computer programming and machine learning to create valuable interactions between humans and computers. By recording audio and converting it into data, NLP allows computers to respond through a host of services, such as translation applications, word processors and personal assistant integrations like Siri and OK Google.
When applied to customer experience strategies, NLP manifests through tools like AI virtual assistants, which allow your consumers to enjoy a self-service experience even when directly calling your company. With the help of NLP and other audio-recognition technology, businesses can automate simple requests to provide immediate responses and help customers complete their transactions without the need for holding or redirecting to human support.
Your company may already have a reserve of customer information on hand, but this information will go to waste unless you can effectively organize, process and gain insights from it.
What was once a menial task that required human labor, AI automates the data mining process to give you relevant glimpses into CX and the buyer’s journey. For small teams, especially, this provides you with the bandwidth you need to examine all of your communication channels and make the most of the information that previously would have been seen as unusable, such as audio recordings, voicemails and chat messaging from customers.
Essentially, big data helps ensure that your customer experience strategy parallels your customers’ designated purchase journey and their preferred channels for communicating with your team and making their purchases. And as an added benefit, many big data unification services help dissolve informational silos in your company by combining information from various sources to extract valuable insights and patterns quickly and with little to no additional manpower required.
Seeking to share her insights with enterprises, startups and freelancers alike, Amanda Muire is a digital content professional writing in a variety of online business spaces.
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