AI-driven automation has accelerated like never before.
McKinsey reports AI adoption is growing rapidly, with 2021 witnessing a whopping 50% increase in AI adoption in at least one function. Whether it’s data collection, voice recognition, or response times, AI improves customer interaction in every possible way.
No matter what you think, the presence of AI is indispensable and indisputable. AI is capable of doing much more than we can imagine.
But the typical reputation of AI is to simplify human tasks and, in some cases, to replace them. If you look around, learning algorithms are gaining popularity in routine and repetitive tasks where manual labor is laborious and expensive.
In customer support functions, AI is creating breakthrough results with chatbots, 30% cost savingsand self-service customer portals reducing costs by $11 per call.
However, customer support is a function that requires human intervention in multiple areas. Business Insider reports that the preference for speaking to a human agent hasn’t gone away; around 60% of respondents are clearly willing to wait in line to speak to a real human being. Bots handle standard queries, but complicated, time-sensitive, and confidential issues (like one in banking and healthcare) require seasoned agents to offer faster and more accurate resolutions.
In fact, today the average first-call resolution rate in the the healthcare call center industry accounts for 71% which is clearly within the acceptable range of 70% to 75%. The reason for the advancement is AI-assisted support agents.
The combination of agents and AI in customer support shows huge results for customers and businesses. Here are some notable results reported by customer support managers:
- Identify unhappy and dissatisfied customers faster
- Iterate the customer experience management strategy
- Reduce human dependence
- Reduce repetitive and routine tasks
- Ensure continuity of reporting
- Faster agent ramp-up times
- Reduced staff turnover and burnout
How is AI-assisted support transforming the customer experience?
AI is able to collect and record data, which is then analyzed and used to help agents. Along the same lines, here are some top applications of AI to help agents deliver exceptional customer experiences.
- Real-time solution and advice
AI speeds up response time by facilitating real-time analysis and advice. Agents are more confident and resolve cases faster. Not only call handling time, but first call resolution is improved with AI.
In the banking sector, interest rates and product features are constantly updated; real-time guidance can be a boon for agents to answer questions on these topics.
- Analysis of customer feelings and emotions
Proactive support improves understanding of customer feelings and emotions. Sentiment analysis indicates the overall customer experience during a call, while an emotion analysis can accurately detect the customer’s emotion at different segments of the conversation.
Agents handle happy and angry customers differently when they learn about their experience. Tracking customer feelings and emotions also reflects customer satisfaction, which can be improved once detected.
AI can identify the real needs of customers and what they like or dislike. Simply put, competitor analysis determines whether the price or service allows the customer to choose another player. Identifying customer needs impacts personalized support and faster resolutions.
Managers and auditors can detect non-compliant behavior before brand reputation is at risk. For example, when discussing a policy renewal, an agent may claim that the return should now hit 13% when the actual rate of return would only be 4-5%.
Similar episodes of mis-selling, exchanging false information, misleading customers, or violation of regulatory policy can be detected early without compromising the customer experience.
- Agent performance and coaching
Customer support is an ongoing process, as is agent performance on support calls. And agents need to hone their skills from time to time. Encouraging follow-up and coaching can improve the productivity of 3X agents while 27% improvement in customer satisfaction.
Where is customer support going?
Although AI has the potential to replace humans, it is best used in combination with humans to improve human interaction and eliminate unnecessary friction in the customer experience. In fact, a number of companies are noticing that human efforts coupled with AI are receiving more trust and less resistance from customers.
Therefore, allowing AI in contact centers is not about replacing humans, but about delivering more to customers. Because new-age customer support demands giving agents more room to handle complex issues while AI digs into the menial issues.
This is the choice that scaling organizations make, how are you going to treat your customers? With bots or humans?
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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