Technology is dramatically changing the ways consumers interact with businesses today. Because of the explosion of digital technology in particular, customer experience has quickly become the main focus across the board in terms of business success and retaining satisfied customers.
For instance, Harvard Business Review reported in 2017 that 73% of consumers used multiple channels to shop, and a 2018 Salesforce study found that 87% of consumers begin their shopping journey with digital — up from 71% in 2017. Whether shopping online for new clothes or engaging with a local credit union to apply for a mortgage, it is evident that today’s consumers hold a strong preference for using digital channels to communicate with businesses.
Because of this digital preference, customer experience is becoming more critical than ever. Today consumers also expect that communication with a company will be seamless and convenient through any digital channel, in addition to being personalized for them — especially if they are regular customers.
Using Analytics to Personalize Experience
According a study last year by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services in conjunction with SAS, Intel and Accenture Applied Intelligence, 70% of enterprises have increased their spending on real-time customer analytics solutions over the past year. What’s more, 58% of enterprises are seeing a significant increase in customer retention and loyalty as a result of using customer analytics.
Analytics play a significant role in personalizing the customer experience for a variety of industries today. According to a recent article by Forbes, 60% of enterprise business leaders say customer analytics is extremely important — anticipated to jump to 79% by 2020 with a key driver being personalization at scale. As a result, organizations using unified communications (UC) solutions in their call centers are starting to integrate analytics to draw data from customer communications to better understand the customer journey and overall experience.
The Role of AI in Analytics
For those businesses that have adopted UC solutions in their call centers, the artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities that are beginning to accompany UC technology are significantly changing the way analytics can be used to personalize the customer experience.
Gartner reports that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human — demonstrative of the power that AI technology holds in terms of customer experience. Perhaps the greatest power that AI holds in analytics for an enhanced customer experience lies in its ability to provide call center agents (human representatives of a company) with real-time insight into the conversation/interaction at hand.
For example, a bank or credit union can implement chatbot technology to help personalize an institution’s customer support as well as extend the hours of service. This type of technology enables financial institutions to profile returning customers and personalize communications when they engage through SMS or chat. For example, a customer requesting assistance with transferring money between accounts could receive an automated, personalized greeting with their name and a prompt to confirm that they would like to transfer funds or request help with another task. This personalization streamlines the customer-to-bank communication even further to make assistance even less time-consuming.
Implementing an AI-enabled chatbot within a contact center platform allows the organization to send initial responses to service-related inquiries outside of regular business hours — beginning with an immediate response from a chatbot, and the option to connect to a live agent at a later time if necessary. Extended response hours for service-related inquiries can help banks and credit unions provide an enhanced experience while encouraging customers to engage with their chosen financial institution on a more frequent basis — a win-win for both the organization and the customer.
Tone Analysis for Real-time Insight in Communications
In addition to using AI by implementing chatbots into an organization’s customer support workflow, tone analysis technology within those AI solutions can also make major waves in enhancing and personalizing the customer experience. Tone analysis AI can alert call center agents to their tone of voice (in an audio conversation or in a web chat/SMS text conversation) in real time, which can enable them to make on-the-fly adjustments to the conversation based on the individual customer’s communication style.
In healthcare, for example, hospital systems can adopt tone analysis technology to provide call center nurses with insight to their tone of voice, whether they’re working in nurse triage, a specialty group or patient scheduling. The technology enables the nurse to see what tones or sentiments they are lacking in a conversation based on what is desired for the specific role of that particular nurse. For instance, a nurse could be on the phone with a patient who is concerned about their infant’s high fever in the middle of the night. A sentiment or tone that this particular nurse would want to display in their conversation with the patient might be one of empathy. A nurse interacting with a patient for scheduling purposes may want insight as to their level of agreeableness or disappointment that is sensed in their tone. Tone analysis can help nurses gauge how their language is perceived by the patient and how that affects the overall patient experience, ultimately resulting in better patient outcomes.
As AI continues to become further rooted in nearly every industry, organizations will harness this new technology to extend service hours, personalize customer support and adjust the tone of conversations in real time. As a result, consumers will experience an enhanced level of customer service and have better access to the information they need to make smarter, more informed decisions.
Analytics and AI, as they apply to unified communications specifically, can be a game-changer for customer experience today.