In today’s consumer landscape, the customer experience (CX) is everything. As innovation in CX advances, the customer likewise comes to expect even better experiences when they engage with a brand.
Enter artificial intelligence (AI): one of the most promising innovations of the 21st century. From ChatGPT to Google Bard, AI tools are taking the world by storm and redefining how we think about everything from workplace collaboration to the customer journey.
But AI isn’t just a recent phenomenon. Forward-thinking businesses have been leveraging conversational AI tools for years—not only to enhance the customer experience, but also to empower contact center agents with the resources they need to do so.
Let’s take a look at how AI can be used to support a truly modern and connected customer experience.
Why is AI important to the customer journey?
The current state of customer experience reveals a somewhat harsh reality: Consumers are ready and willing to abandon ship if their needs and expectations aren’t satisfied. Recent studies show 71% of consumers have switched brands in the past year.
Often, slow, clunky resolution processes are to blame for this customer attrition. In fact, research shows that 75% of customers would definitely return to a company if an issue is resolved promptly. Other reasons customers leave include a lack of cross-channel consistency, poor agent performance, and few self-service options.
Traditional solutions typically don’t give contact center agents much power to overcome these obstacles. Many agents are dealing with outdated technologies, time-consuming and repetitive processes, and—worst of all—a lack of customer-centric information.
But here’s the good news: cloud contact center solutions that leverage the power of AI can help agents deliver smooth, contextual experiences across the entire customer journey.
Benefits of AI in the contact center
When it comes to customer experience management, AI features can provide real-time insights into customer interactions, as well as automation for a range of processes.
So, why should you implement AI-driven contact center solutions? Consider the advantages:
• Improved customer service: IDC research reveals that AI can help organizations reduce their average handling time by 21%
• Reduced agent turnover: The same research indicates that empowering human agents with AI tools can result in a 20% boost to efficiency.
• Increased customer satisfaction: Companies experience a 37% increase in CSAT scores when using AI—not to mention a 30% revenue boost.
5 ways AI solutions can optimize the customer journey
1. Predictive analytics
Predictive analytics refers to the use of AI algorithms to analyze consumer data, identify patterns, and anticipate customer needs and expectations. This allows you to dig deeper into the customer experience, understand their buying behavior, and use this information to better serve consumers at an individual level.
The beauty of AI is that sophisticated models can process a variety of data points quickly and turn them into actionable insights. Likewise, these insights can inform your CX strategy, improve operations, and ultimately empower agents with more granular context.
Altogether, these benefits can help you lower customer churn and convert casual customers into repeat customers—potentially even future ambassadors for your brand.
People no longer want cookie-cutter messages and standardized experiences. Studies show that 71% of consumers expect personalized experiences, and even more (76%) get frustrated when they aren’t delivered.
AI offers ample opportunity to tailor CX to each individual consumer. For instance, recommendation engines use machine learning algorithms to analyze data and provide personalized product recommendations at various touchpoints in the customer journey.
Because these offers are tailored to the customer’s data, organizations have an easier time converting prospects, increasing sales, and driving customer loyalty. In fact, faster-growing companies drive 40% more of their revenue from personalization than their slow-moving counterparts.
3. Omnichannel communication
The odds are strong that consumers are engaging with your company on multiple platforms. As a matter of fact, customers use an average of nine channels to communicate with brands. Whether it be on social media, your website or over the phone, it’s crucial to deliver a connected and cohesive experience across all of them simultaneously.
With an AI-powered solution, customer data across every interaction is available to the agent instantly, in a single desktop view, so that customers don’t have to repeat themselves time and again. Repetition is a key pain point for the modern consumer: Studies show the elimination of repetition would get 92% of customers to spend more time with a company.
4. Sentiment analysis
It’s hard to glean much from a simple transcript. That’s why AI solutions are bringing speech analytics and sentiment analysis tools to a company’s CX infrastructure.
Combined with speech-to-text engines, sentiment analysis allows you to search keywords, index conversations, and get to the bottom of every interaction. When consumers call into a contact center, AI will automatically analyze speech patterns and tone to gauge whether or not they’re frustrated with the experience.
Organizations can use these insights to coach agents on how to better approach customer inquiries, strengthen their emotional intelligence, and use empathic language during the call.
Conversational AI models (chatbots) are intuitive self-service tools that offer customers a way to resolve issues without human assistance. Generally, chatbots are a great way to improve first-contact resolution for smaller, simpler inquiries.
When matters are too complicated or require a human touch, leading chatbot tools can seamlessly elevate the inquiry to an agent. What’s also helpful is that agents can retain all contextual information the chatbot received, empowering them to deliver a consistent experience.
Likewise, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems give customers a natural conversational experience over the phone. Using natural language processing, IVRs automate certain tasks and can route callers to the most appropriate agent if questions aren’t answered right away.
Combined, chatbots and IVR systems reduce the burden on agents. By relieving simple and repetitive tasks, these tools allow agents to spend more time on requests that demand closer attention and resolve issues with speed and confidence.
The modernized customer journey
Companies are only just beginning to scratch the surface of what AI can do for the customer journey. As AI models continue to evolve, organizations far and wide must leverage their capabilities to meet the constantly evolving demands of the modern consumer. By embracing the potential of AI, CX professionals can limit customer churn, drive better customer experiences, and, ultimately, improve business outcomes.