by Michele Carlson I love graduations—the caps and gowns, the emotion of hearing “Pomp and Circumstance” and having the chance to reflect on all that students have accomplished and all that’s ahead of them. I recently watched my son graduate from kindergarten and while I know that’s just the first step toward a lifetime of learning, it made me realize how fast the next big moments are coming.
Likewise, digital-first customer experience is on the cusp of big things with major advancements in artificial intelligence.
You’ve seen the headlines about the enormous impact generative AI has had in just the past few months. It’s easy to imagine how artificial intelligence will continue to take digital customer experience to new heights in the coming years and coming months.
Demand for digital CX is growing fast and here to stay. Organizations are expected to spend $6.3 trillion through 2024 on digital transformation, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). Along with the increase in business spending on digital, there is an increase in customer expectations for organizations to resolve more inquiries through self-service.
That’s welcome news for the overwhelming number of customers looking for AI-assisted smart self-service. NICE research found 81% of consumers say they prefer self-service. People who need service or support typically start with some form of digital, such as a Google search.
But it’s how these searches often meander that threatens to unravel the customer journey, creating headaches and needless irritation. Issues range from receiving search results that don’t help with their issue or not finding what they’re looking for on a website, or running into a wall with a chatbot that lacks the nuance to handle even the most basic questions.
Some scripted bots are so rudimentary, they can feel stilted and inauthentic like an awkward conversation. Customers walk away frustrated rather than feeling empowered. Customers aren’t the only ones struggling. Businesses face the same challenges. Reliable, intelligent chatbots are complex so they’re a headache to develop without working with a trusted partner.
It’s time for businesses to graduate to the next level of digital self-service and incorporate the latest in artificial intelligence to provide a seamless customer journey and see other business benefits, such as an increase in ROI.
Here are the top three ways the latest advances in AI will help make sure your bot goes to the head of the class.
Capture real-time data for personalization and improve digital self-service In thinking about why it’s integral to business success to have a bot that leverages state-of-the-art artificial intelligence technology to optimize the customer experience, I’m reminded of my own children’s journey during a typical school year.
Even if your child didn’t graduate this year—this is the time when you notice how much they’ve grown and changed. It can feel a bit magical … like they entered one way and emerged a different version of their best selves. Although you don’t see everything their teachers and mentors do all year—you can see their imprint and influence based on all the things your children know now that they didn’t last fall.
This is how conversational data works to essentially feed and help artificial intelligence get smarter and better. Its influence is omnipresent, but you may not be as mindful of all the individual data points that need to go into the final product to make it more prepared for the world.
Applying purpose-built AI to mine critical insights works behind the scenes, pulling data together from every conversation, across all channels.
One bank looking to keep up with an increase in refinance applications wanted to decrease handle times and alleviate customer frustration. To improve self-service, its CX team needed to understand the factors leading to the existing issues. Accomplishing this required accessing important voice of the customer (VoC) data to understand customers’ questions, the best resolution path and the changes needed for smoother self-service. Using the best and brightest in artificial intelligence, bank officials were able to identify specific insights from every interaction for every customer need, task and conversational turn. In doing so, the bank gained a better understanding for the driver of each customer’s outreach on the refinance application process. Positive business gains included:
Faster development time via data-driven approach — no more guesswork
Improved self-service containment with better digital resources for customers
Increased customer satisfaction by improving customers’ experiences in self-service channels
Conversational data embodies the language and communication that organically transpires for issue resolution. By constructing digital channels rooted in human interactions, they evolve into a potent means of fulfilling customers’ needs promptly and comprehensively.
Take the guesswork out of self-service customer experience
Everyone remembers those multiple-choice tests from school. You went with your first choice—only to find out later there was a better choice. What if you could use artificial intelligence to power up your self-service customer experience so your business wouldn’t have to rely on guesswork?
Simply saying your business offers self-service as an option isn’t enough. People want brands to be available 24/7 for their questions whatever time of the day they have available to reach out. CX leaders know they can better hit their top business goals if they can please their customers with smarter self-service.
The way to smarter self-service is building a stronger, reliable workflow. When analytics first came on the scene, data was coming from voice calls. Today, digital self-service has evolved to where possibilities are virtually limitless and the result is an increase in customer lifetime value while at the same time delivering a better experience for your customers.
We know people want 24/7 service but we also know businesses cannot afford to deliver this level of service using traditional status quo channels. And this is where digital self-service can help to triage customer inquiries and better resolve questions in a 24/7 needs cycle.
Onboarding a smarter self-service framework makes it possible to enhance self-service continuously, responding quickly to customers’ evolving needs and optimizing self-service channels with a feedback loop. Having the ability to export insights and data directly into proactive and reactive conversational automation solutions automates bot training and creation with AI-determined intents to take the guesswork out of the equation for a fuller, more satisfying exceptional customer experience.
Ace the ROI test with bots providing smarter self-service for customers A smarter bot leveraging the best and brightest in artificial intelligence leads to a smarter overall customer experience, resulting in happier customers and a better return on investment over time.
Aberdeen Strategy & Research found a leading group of firms successfully using technology to fuel key business operations see numerous benefits, including:
2.5x greater year-over-year (YoY) improvement in customer effort scores
38% greater YoY increase in customer satisfaction rates
69% greater annual improvement in number of positive mentions on social media platforms
2x greater YoY increase in first contact resolution rates
57% greater YoY increase in agent productivity
Perhaps unsurprisingly, these savvier companies using technology and artificial intelligence to the fullest are seeing what a financial boon it can be:
2.7x greater YoY increase in annual revenue
2.3x greater YoY growth in annual profit margin
Self-service insights are priceless for contact center and business leaders across industries to analyze customer behavioral and sentiment data, uncovering the obstacles buyers face when purchasing products to ultimately remove any barriers to good customer service.
For example, a financial services industry client could help an online banking customer looking for mortgage rate information by prompting an automated email providing them with more targeted insights for a mortgage product. That level of personalized engagement would not only help to build a relationship but could eventually be the deciding factor that helps win their business.
Bringing your bot up to speed with the most modern tools can make all the difference in deepening customer relationships and generating more business.
Artificial intelligence can also give your agents the gift of more time. According to ContactBabel’s Putting AI and Automation to Work in Contact Center Operations white paper, there’s a rise in the average length of a web chat, as they become more complex and are seen by customers as a genuine alternative to a phone call. This view is supported by the rise in the average cost of a web chat, implying that each interaction is taking longer and costing more.
This highlights an opportunity for artificial intelligence-powered bots to handle those simpler web chat requests, allowing chat agents to focus on more complex customer issues so your business can simultaneously help more customers with fewer live agents.
Find a solution that graduates digital self-service to the next level Looking to accelerate your firm’s digital self-service transformation with the smartest bot available? Discover how Enlighten XO is already helping top businesses put their bots in touch with reality with purpose-built AI for self-service that:
Learns from conversational data
Identifies the best automation opportunities
Optimizes workflows by mirroring best practices from the top-performing agents
Designs ideal conversational flows
Learn more about businesses improving every digital experience from web and mobile, to chatbots, and knowledge management with Enlighten XO at the core of their digital customer experience.
About Michele Carlson Michele is a Senior Product Marketing Manager who helps brands accelerate their digital transformation with cutting-edge AI and analytics solutions. She brings a warm, energetic approach to connecting businesses and consumers with technology to drive results. Her experience with AI and analytics spans over a decade and includes product development, change management, data analysis, and coaching skill development. Outside of work, Michele is a mom of four and enjoys skiing and yoga.