Your Customers are Struggling; Here are 3 Ways AI Can Help

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Consumers expect it to be easy to do business online. Too often this is not the case, because companies have blind spots related to customer experiences, specifically where and with what customers struggle.

When customers meet friction online, they get frustrated and abandon the site. Or if they are the really determined 1 percent, they reach out by emailing, chatting or calling. Make no mistake, no customer wants to contact a business. They’d rather experience a seamless journey without outreach.

For years, analytics have been valuable tools to understanding what’s happening in the customer experience, but those tools often require significant effort to apply the learnings to a business process. The good news is the landscape is changing and companies no longer have to guess where and how to help their customers.

Companies can now evolve with the demands of customer queries by leveraging more-advanced AI to fuel the customer insights needed to effectively understand customer service issues and proactively offer recommendations on how to resolve them. Advanced AI can help you better identify where your customers are struggling and then enable you to take the critical next step of guiding your customers through those friction points.

Here are three ways the latest AI + Contextual Guidance can help you create a better customer experience — one that benefits both the consumer and the business:

1. Understand limitations.

For many of us when we think about AI in relation to customer service, chatbots come to mind. We recently asked customers how they feel about chatbots — automated customer service that pulls answers from a knowledge base based on specific customer prompts. 33% responded that chatbots weren’t helpful in answering their questions, and 15% said they’re too impersonal. In total, only 22% of respondents had a positive impression of chatbots, while the overwhelming majority were dissatisfied with the service they offer.

Despite how often companies rely on chatbots to handle customer issues, 60% of respondents said they don’t trust chatbots to communicate their issues effectively. These numbers suggest that companies are over relying on a service that leaves customers frustrated.

With an AI + Contextual Guidance solution that works alongside chatbots, you can ensure your company is using an automation strategy that allows customer contacts to be efficiently handled. AI + Contextual Guidance leverages the details of what your users are doing online to guide them through a desired outcome. This approach is a highly effective way to create a more successful and satisfying digital journey for your customers. In fact, a Forrester Total Economic Impact Study found that full-service contextual guidance tools can increase conversion rates by 6 percentage points.

The best place for guidance is ahead of the chatbot. Ideally, your customers should never get to the chatbot.

2. Don’t let customers struggle with basic issues.

The lion’s share of customer struggle involves basic issues — everything from error messages, login issues, to difficulty navigating sites. These common forms of struggle can be easily identified and avoided using advanced AI + Contextual Guidance. By proactively guiding your customers through their digital journey, you’re arming them with the necessary information to make the right decisions, therefore improving digital containment, and reducing abandonment along their path to purchase.

For example, an insurance organization was using industry-standard digital forms that confused potential customers by leading them to input inaccurate information. The inaccurate information directly led to a high volume of rejections for coverage. After the company put digital guidance into effect, Forrester found their rejections dropped 20 percent, and they’re not alone. Several organizations reported contextual guidance improved their digital customer containment, resulting in conversion rates increasing anywhere from 3.5 to 10 percentage points, which translates to a range of 18% to 400% uplift.

So, how can you avoid customer struggles, and make it easy for your customers to convert? Explore why your online customers are on your site and what they need by their behavior. Use advanced AI to discover previously unidentified struggle points. Take the critical next step of proactively delivering contextual guidance with useful information, such as text, audio, or video content, to help your customers move seamlessly through their online journey. Your customers will gain certainty about your products and services, and convert more often using the information they gained through contextual guidance.

3. Skip the development time.

Many AI projects never get off the ground because they are typically resource intense. Relying on in-house development can be costly and time consuming. Regardless of your company’s size, internal development teams are often overburdened and can take weeks to address a raised ticket, with additional weeks required to develop a requested solution. This process can not only be cumbersome, but expensive as well.

Instead, look for a solution that allows nontechnical business users to take the lead on optimizing the digital customer experience without help from the IT department. An easy-to-implement solution can save you time and accelerate development, delivering results faster, and increased satisfaction for customers and employees alike.

Forrester discovered when companies implemented contextual guidance, efficiency gains due to decreased customer contact volume yielded $647,643 in savings. Add it all up, and the bottom-line impact amounts to $8,144,868 over three years. That’s an ROI of over 700% over three years.

There’s an opportunity to better serve your customers online, meet their expectations, and build trust. If you implement tools powered by AI to resolve basic issues, while maintaining some form of live interaction for escalations, you‘ll be in the best position to build loyalty and revenue in the long run, while those that move further towards impersonal automation may find themselves with dissatisfied customers.

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