Customer service operations are being tested to their limits by surging consumer expectations. Recent Zendesk research shows that while up to 42% of B2C customers have been more interested in purchasing from a company after good customer service, 52% of these customers have stopped purchasing from a company due to just one poor customer service experience. Social media has given rise to a seemingly endless amount of communication channels to connect modern consumers, which steeply increases the demand upon call centers. With ticket volume increasing and so much riding upon the success of every customer service interaction, businesses will continue to turn to technology for intelligent solutions to help them keep up with modern consumers.
A new innovation in AI technology, Conversational Process Automation (CPA), provides a solution to some of the most daunting challenges facing customer service industry today. This tool, powered by machine learning, seamlessly integrates information from customer conversations with information from the back-end systems of a contact center to support end-to-end ticket resolution. It works in harmony with customer service agents to provide an optimal customer service experience from start to finish. CPA is revolutionizing modern customer service operations in four key ways:
It understands your customers cost-effectively
Traditional customer service methods of extracting customer needs can be expensive and inefficient. Phone trees and web forms primarily deflect customer questions by providing a series of questions to narrow the customer’s intent. The disadvantage of this system is that many customers either aren’t willing to take the time to go through all of the options, or they may reach a point where they realize their need is not an available option. CPA, instead of deflecting questions, focuses on truly understanding the customer’s need in order to best serve them.
Communication channels are on the rise, so it is vital for customer service departments to be equipped to address customer issues on any incoming channel. Each channel, whether it uses email, web forms or calling, has its own set of expectations. For instance, someone calling the department on the phone will have a very different expectation for the conversation than someone that sent a message through Facebook Messenger. Understanding the nuances of each communication channel in order to give the best response is an important aspect of AI tools. CPA utilizes deep learning algorithms that master the distinctions of every type of communication avenue while keeping costs low through automation.
It streamlines fragmented back-end systems
Another currently costly issue for customer service departments is the excess of software systems they must use to complete even seemingly straightforward tasks. For example, if a user calls to inquire about their lost luggage, the agent must navigate from their CRM software to another, back-end application that contains the ticketing information. It may be necessary to re-enter pertinent details to locate the luggage in the back-end system, adding time and angering the customer. Once the ticket has been created, the agent must enter yet another interface to find information about the lost luggage in order to return it. Finally, after these steps have been fulfilled, the agent must return to the CRM program in order to complete the transaction. CPA can eliminate these excessive steps by streamlining the entire process.
Using powerful APIs, CPA is able to connect with all of the applications relevant to a customer’s case. APIs function as a translator between different software by allowing the AI software to communicate with the CRM and all of the back-end applications. Instead of the agent clicking through screen after screen, the AI process takes over, executing any necessary steps to complete the task. Every issue that is fully automated to be resolved without agent interaction decreases time and cost, allowing the department to deliver a higher level of service while boosting the bottom line.
It connects customer needs to solutions
The most impactful solution that this technology provides is the connection between customer needs and the back-end applications that resolve them. After the CPA is able to determine what the customer needs to accomplish from their inquiry, it can segway directly into the processes that will resolve their need. This results in a fully automated process that is adaptable enough to handle the variability of real customer interactions. Imagine the time that the department could regain and instead allocate to more beneficial tasks after implementing this system.
For the fastest return on investment from CPA, it’s important to choose the top three most costly ticket types that the customer service department experiences, and then focus on automating these processes from start to finish. These costly tickets will be the issues that occur most frequently – such as refunds, account lookups, cancellations and more. Targeting solutions for these prevalent issues will help to deliver the highest quality service to the largest amount of customers. Remember, when 52% of customers are apt to abandon a company based on one negative customer service experience, service departments need to put their best foot forward on as many interactions as possible.
It improves customer service agents’ workplace
Implementing CPA has great benefits for the customer service department as an operation, but it also benefits those who work there. While this technology handles the tedious tasks that used to be required of agents, the reps are able to decide how they want to utilize this newly unlocked time. Instead of being rushed through each client interaction, CPA allows them to allot additional time to complex cases where they feel a more personal touch is beneficial. This time also allows reps to be more proactive identifying potential issues and then mitigating them.
After the implementation of CPA technology, agents working with the technology have reported higher Employee Satisfaction scores than before. With higher job satisfaction rates, agents are less likely to suffer from burnout, which potentially can lead to longer average tenures within the department. Although customer service is an industry with notoriously high turnover, CPA can help managers reduce this in their office. With fewer agents being replaced on a regular basis, recruiting and training expenses will decrease and employee morale will increase.
The customer service industry is reaching a pivotal point. With customer expectations, inbound demand, and the cost of complex interactions all rising, companies must adopt technologies that enable them to keep quality high while keeping costs low. Machine learning solutions, such as Conversational Process Automation, are at the forefront of this forward-looking movement. Businesses will need to innovate in order to keep up with the demands of modern consumers and choose tools that will protect the reputation of their brands.