The consumer of today and the future expects 24/7 service: anyplace, anytime, anywhere. And please be as personal and relevant as possible. Preferably easy and fast. How does conversational AI match the needs of the (future) consumer? What are the opportunities and benefits of conversational AI for your organization, customers and employees? In other words: what’s in it for you if you look at customer contact?
According to Gartner By 2022, 75% of organizations will have started implementing conversational AI to ensure an optimal customer experience across all channels. In fact, Gartner says organizations applying AI to their customer engagement platform will increase their operational efficiency by 25% by 2025.
With conversational AI you can automate conversations wherever you want. It includes messaging apps, voice assistants and chatbots to automate conversations and create personalized customer experiences. It is about the emerging technologies that influence the contact between companies and consumers.
Personalized customer contact is the future
According to PwC about 33% of your customers leave your brand after 1 bad experience. 92% of customers leave your brand for good after 2 or 3 bad experiences. Research also shows that over 40% of consumers are willing to pay more for convenience and for a friendly, hospitable welcome. Figures that show how important service and experience are!
Time well spent, time well saved
Once upon a time I was inspired by Nothing Brus, vh. Global VP Customer Experience at Aegon. He explained the importance of contact with customers. And also the essential difference between service and experience, namely how time is handled.
Where the customer is served valuable, memorable and personal, then you speak of time well spent. Those are the customer interactions in which employees add value and really make a difference. The contacts that make employees happy and motivated, because they really add something.
And then you have the customer interactions that can be handled quickly, easily and simply. These are the interactions on which conversational AI applications can be used very well. This is what you speak of time well savedfor both the employee and the customer. This leaves the employee time to have a conversation in which he really adds value.
For example, by contributing to the sales and marketing goals of your organization. Or by offering a listening ear where empathy, currently still from person to person, is very important.
Meet your new best friend: the contact center
When you start with conversational AI, first look at which customer interactions fall under time well spent and time well saved.
- Address change? This is perfectly possible via a smart self-service bot.
- Report a death? Then it is very nice if you get a person on the line.
This is about making choices about which conversations to automate or not.
To make those choices, you need data, or rather control information. And rich and valuable data can be found in the contact center! What do customers contact about? And where is that tap leaking in the organization? In this way you can also determine your customer contact strategy and the improvement actions for the rest of the organization.
After all, every department contributes to the customer experience. So work well with the various departments, so that the importance of service and experience is well invested in the organization.
Tips for getting started with conversational AI
Start small and build up
You can conversational AI apply to all kinds of customer journeys. To do this, first map out the important touch points in your customer journey, as well as the pain points. You can use data from your customer contact center and website usage for this.
- What do customers contact about?
- What questions are asked via, for example, the chatbot on the website?
- Which improvement actions are then necessary for the various work and customer processes, your channel strategy and the various departments within your organization?
Also read the article ‘Digital with people at the center’ and be inspired by Philips’ AI and automation approach.
Involve and think from the perspective of the user and employee
Determine from them to what extent and where you can apply conversational AI. How are she helped with certain automations? For example, organize panel sessions with customers and employees. Instruct customers to have an open and honest conversation about how they experience your organization. What problems do they encounter, where do they ask for service and where do they require experience?
And also involve employees – how does conversational AI make their work more challenging and where and how can they add value? This is also in the interest of adoption and change management. After all, customers and employees have to embrace new tooling for it to be successful.
Adoption and change management
Starting with conversational AI can also be seen as part of the digital transformation of your organization. And with a transformation you have to deal with change. Change requires some behavior. Do you involve people in the change: what’s in it for them? What desirable behavior does this involve?
It is important that they know that conversational AI is not there to replace them, but to support and facilitate them to help the customer as best as possible, so that they can really add value for the customer. Give it a clear meaning.
Map out how conversational AI can contribute to, for example, marketing, customer contact and sales objectives
What can conversational AI mean for the various objectives? Map that out and create support with it.
- Conversational marketing (CM) allows you to personally address your customers 24/7. Use your conversational AI strategy as a means for a good customer conversation and the right advice. This provides a huge boost in customer satisfaction.
- You can also increase your conversion rate with CM, because you help the visitor the way he wants to be helped.
- In addition, you can help your customers much better with the answers that can be given 24/7. Because you know what the customer needs, a chatbot can, for example, provide an immediate answer during the conversation.
- And because marketing can be automated to a very large extent by conversational AI, you can speak to many more visitors at the same time. You also shorten the sales cycle because the visitors are already qualified via conversational AI. This way your sales team can respond much better to customer needs. This makes closing a deal a lot easier.
Collaboration with IT
Continuously develop, build and prioritize customer contact processes in conversational AI. Good cooperation between IT, customer contact and marketing is very important for this. This way you can join in on the choices for technology:
- What customer needs are there?
- What is needed for that?
- How can we put the customer at the center of IT choices?
Always ask control questions in the collaboration, keep asking questions and translate into ‘Jip and Janneke’ language and also dare to say something if something is not clear.
Customer contact of the future
Are you also going to start with conversational AI? Share your tips and questions below.
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