When you think of good customer experience, what do you think of? I envision a 5-star restaurant with a Michelin chef behind the scenes. With any recipe, you need all the right ingredients to start, but for a chef to truly make a unique meal, there’s a hint of a new spice or “special sauce.” As the consumer, I might not know what’s in it, but I do know it’s good and will come back based on the positive experience. Some of this success can be attributed to smart appliances that help the chef make the dishes faster and adapt them per the guests’ allergies or dietary preferences. But above all, it allows them to create a truly personalized experience. So, what does food have to do with CX? Well, just in the way new appliances have revolutionized the ways chefs cook meals, I believe AI will have the same impact on customer experience.
Forrester believes four key technologies will reshape how businesses operate and interact with customers, and of them is artificial intelligence. According to the research firm, in 2018, “investment in AI will triple as companies look to tap into complex systems, advanced analytics, and machine learning technology. Vendors that are already embedding components of cognitive computing capabilities into their solutions — such as Adobe, Google, IBM, Persado, Salesforce, and Squirro — will prosper.”
Why is it important for businesses to sit up and take notice? In today’s marketplace, a company’s particular product or service is no longer enough to differentiate it from its competitors – it’s the customer experience it delivers that truly sets it apart. As such, companies will embrace AI technology (particularly chatbots) to augment their work and make it better and faster.
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Bots handle the transactional
Bots and machines are getting smarter and smarter every day and can automate boring and repetitive tasks. As bots get smarter, the tasks can become increasingly more difficult and the bots will “learn” to do harder and more complex work. This will empower your CX teams to focus on the more specific, higher quality and added value customer moments. The moments which create brand champions and influential advocates. This will enable your agents to develop into more defined, specialized and valuable roles within your CX team.
Bots give you metrics
Organizations collecting customer data can combine big data, machine learning and AI to deliver an unrivaled level of personalization throughout the customer journey. This can range from simple product recommendations based on past purchases, to website redesigns in real-time to tailor to an individual customer’s reading level and browsing habits.
Deep metrics show you precise trends and the road bumps in your customer’s journey. No matter how big the data gets, it will only tell you what’s happened, not why. Your CX agents, however, can now focus on the whys – rich and real feedback on what customers want moving forward. Combined with automated metrics, this will create a powerful insight loop to make even more powerful CX.
Bots allow you to scale at speed
These modern technologies give businesses the power to scale their customer service at an unprecedented speed, even with limited resources. Upon launching a new product, businesses can release interactive FAQs, which can resolve thousands of customer queries without the need for human interaction. Chatbots empower businesses to respond instantaneously to a surge in customer inquiries, simply by switching on another sever.
The future is hybrid, not automated
As brilliant as bot technology will be, even when it becomes deep learning with real artificial intelligence, it will always be driven by what humans want it to do. Human engagement will become more valued by both brands and customers. According to leading CX experts, humans will have to remain front and center if the experience is to be a special one. Psychological studies have shown that we prefer communicating with others person-to-person despite all of the communication technology at our fingertips. Moreover, in today’s ‘Attention Economy,’ where people’s attention is treated as a scarce resource, customers want their issues solved as quickly and comprehensively as possible.
In today’s world, customers decide how customer-centric a company is – and that’s in any industry, whether you’re a restaurant or a large enterprise. Good customer service should capture the fundamentals of a wonderful experience (even as we look to an AI-centric future): ease, effectiveness, and emotions. While humans will remain critical to a company’s customer experience strategy, AI is quickly going to become critical to that strategy.