Sparkcentral recently asked renowned customer relations expert, Steven Van Bellegham, to join us for a webinar to discuss how customer expectations are evolving faster than ever before as a result of today’s digital transformation. He expanded on these insights with added detail on what businesses can expect in the next phase of digitization, which is driven by Artificial Intelligence.
In case you weren’t able to tune in, we’ve highlighted the main topics that Steven discussed for your viewing below.
“It’s not about the evolution in technology it’s about technology changing the expectations of customers, fast.” – Steven Van Belleghem
Before publishing his most recent book, Customers the Day After Tomorrow, Steven met with more than 300 companies like Google and Mercedes-Benz to learn how each of them was balancing technology innovation with providing superior customer experience. He found that the organizations doing this well, are staying true to the following guiding principles (all leveraging today’s modern technology):
- Faster than real-time
3 ways AI can be used to meet customer expectations
To achieve these customer benefits, Steven outlined three investment tracks of how companies can leverage AI in their quest to prepare for customer experience in the day after tomorrow.
Effortless Customer Interfaces
Five years ago, responding to customer tweets within an hour was considered an acceptable response time for businesses. Today, however, brands must keep up with customers’ expectations for rapid response rates. Consequently, companies should have technology that allows customers to find simple answers independently using AI-enabled solutions. If customers aren’t able to find their answers through self-service assisted by AI, a customer service agent should then be immediately available to provide personal consultation via the customers’ preferred communication channels, which are often digital platforms. As Steven stressed during his presentation, offering customers convenience is the new way to achieve customer loyalty.
It’s important for companies to use data in an indirect way so that they can have a better contextual understanding of what their customers want. An example of how a company is leveraging its data can be seen with Google’s self-driving car business, which leverages 360-degree sensors to detect roads, traffic, and street hazards. Recently, Google has taken this technology and started testing other ways it can be used to support customer demands. They are currently working with Wal-Mart on a test program to track shopper behaviors, giving them the kind of data that e-commerce retail competitors like Amazon have been able to leverage using digital tracking tools.
“In God we trust, all others must bring data.” – W. Edward Deming
To continue with the concept of AI technology supporting customer service teams, Steven shared details of how DigitalGenius is providing AI-enabled technology to either resolve customer queries or elevate them to a customer service agent. This innovative company turns the words from a customer query into algebra and can generate an appropriate response based on a brand’s set guidelines. If the response is deemed to be 95% accurate or greater, it is automatically sent to the customer. If a response falls below that 95% accuracy metric, it will be routed to an agent for approval. This kind of technology allows service teams to be more efficient and allows agents to focus higher-friction queries that require personal attention.