Artificial intelligence and automation is now touching more and more of our day-to-day lives. It takes care of so many things, from our recommended playlists on Spotify to your daily weather forecast courtesy of Alexa. It’s because of this omnipresence that consumers are becoming more receptive to interacting with AI when it comes to communicating with brands. A survey by LivePerson found that 33% of consumers had a positive perception of chatbots, a technology powered by AI, and 48% were indifferent as long as their problem was resolved or their question answered.

As we’ve explored in recent posts, one thing which separates and elevates a lot of businesses within their markets nowadays is customer service. In the age of the disruptive startup, it’s vital that even the most established businesses stay agile and focus on delivering a world-class customer experience. Using AI-driven technology can not only improve your customer service, but do so without the need for a hefty investment.

Here are 4 ways artificial intelligence can enhance your customer service strategy.

 

Responsiveness

While speed isn’t everything in customer service – it’s certainly a factor. Speed is particularly valued when it comes to response on social media, with 64% of a poll of 1000 consumers said they expected a response on Twitter within an hour, and 85% saying they expected a response to a Facebook message within 6 hours. The problem with staying responsive on a channel like social media is having someone dedicated to monitoring those channels and responding to queries in a timely manner. But not only do they have to respond to them in a timely manner, their response also has to be helpful.

Enter AI. Using bot technology, you can implement a system that sits across various communication channels – social, SMS messaging, email, etc, – and responds to customer queries with a relevant response picked from a bank of carefully pre-programmed responses. This ensures the customer gets a helpful and useful response in a timely manner, without the need for extra resource.

 

Relevance

There’s nothing worse than getting a “please contact customer support” message in response to your query, whether it’s via social media, email or the organisation’s website. This means that ideally, this person needs to have consistent access to useful information across various departments in the organisation. This in turn means hiring or seconding one person whose sole job is this, splitting the job between various departments, or having one very busy and very stressed member of staff. None of this is an ideal situation.

As mentioned briefly in the previous section – utilising AI technology allows you to increase the relevance and usefulness of your engagement with customers without the need to dedicate and involve various departments. The ability to pre-program custom messages allows you to ensure that each customer receives the relevant advice or information they need when interacting with the bot. This could actually be more accurate than if a person was responding, as they may not have all the information, or access to the appropriate person with this information, required to answer fully.

 

Availability

Another massive factor in leading customer service is availability. Not all of your customers will conveniently experience problems between the hours of 9 and 5, Monday to Friday. If they experience an issue outside of the hours, it can be frustrating if they have to wait until the next day, or even Monday, for a response. But, providing out-of-hours can be costly, and even if you can achieve complete coverage 24/7, it’s difficult to find the right balance between meeting customers’ needs in a timely fashion and having people twiddling their fingers. The use of AI makes this possible. A chatbot can deal with out-of-hours queries, reassuring the customer that their problem is being dealt with, and may even be able to take them through steps to resolve it. The bot can deliver troubleshooting steps, or perform functions like arranging returns and refunds, without the need for a human to be on the other end monitoring it. The customer gets a great experience and it requires no resource your end – only that of the server running the bot.

Personalisation

75% of consumers are more likely to buy from an organisation that recognises them by name and recommends purchases based on previous activity. Personalisation can be tricky in customer service, and often requires a lot of input from the user. Providing support over the phone, the customer is unlikely to speak to a representative who can instantly remember all of their details and preferences. Using AI and automation, you are able to collect and store information about each customer that can be called up instantly. Think of it as Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) on steroids – at a fraction of the cost. This information can be used to deliver a more personalised experience, including greeting them by name and remembering all their preferences and recommending them products and services they might be interested in based on their purchase history. This provides immense value to the customer experience and almost certainly isn’t possible to deliver quite so smoothly with a traditional service desk setup.

Super-charge your strategy

Utilising AI and chatbot technology in the right way allows you to deliver a superior customer experience and is a step on the road to higher customer retention rates and increased spend. If you would like to discuss further how AI could be used in your organisation, get in touch.