Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to have a transformational impact on the way we live and work. The AI for Business series aims to provide business and IT leaders with the tools and understanding they need to make smarter decisions about AI. For more in this series, check out our article on Foundations of AI.
Customer service is an essential part of the toolset for any successful company in today’s market. In times when competition is fierce and consumers have nearly unlimited purchasing options, the cost of gaining a new customer can be anywhere from five to seven times higher than keeping an existing customer happy. That means holding on to existing customers and creating a positive, ongoing relationship is paramount.
Even in the current economic climate when many are tightening budgets, businesses are still prioritizing their digital customer experience (CX), with one survey reporting that 72% of leaders plan to increase spending in this category compared to the prior year. At the same time, customer expectations continue to rise: two-thirds of millennials now expect real-time customer service, for example. As businesses strive to make the most out of every dollar spent and hour invested, it’s critical to consider every opportunity to build strong customer relationships. Enter: AI-enabled tools.
What AI can do for CX
When you hear “artificial intelligence for CX,” the first thing that may come to mind is AI-powered chatbots. As AI and machine learning tools improve, businesses can create a customer experience that feels increasingly personalized: a recent study found 63% of people who used AI-driven services like chatbots didn’t realize they were using AI.
Chatbots have come a long way, and they are just one example of how AI can positively impact customer relationships. This includes functionality like:
One of the more obvious ways that AI can improve CX is by enhancing capabilities in chat, voice, and email customer service portals.
- Increasingly sophisticated chatbot experiences that more efficiently resolve customer questions and issues, 24/7
- Utilizing tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT to draft outbound messages and suggest responses to customers, helping teams respond to inquiries faster (as seen in our ChatGPT integration for GoTo Customer Engagement)
- Removing language barriers by translating text in real time during customer service interactions
AI tools’ abilities to review and “crunch” vast quantities of data at speed can make a big impact on your business.
- Optimizing call wait times and prioritization with customer service representatives, helping human employees solve more problems in less time
- Analyzing customer buying history to suggest products and services for future purchases
- Identifying ongoing patterns of customer satisfaction or disappointment to adjust sales and customer service strategies (such as with GoTo Contact Center’s AI Chat Analysis feature)
- Uncovering which customer support content on your website is most utilized, to ensure those articles and tips are easy for customers to self-serve
Inventory and Product Management
Sometimes overlooked, a well-managed inventory is one of the most important things a company can do to keep customers engaged and satisfied.
- Implementing AI-powered applications to enhance your inventory management, ensuring your products are available when and where customers want them
- More accurately forecasting future inventory needs, informed by customer demand in real time. AI-powered demand forecasting has been found to reduce short-term supply chain errors by up to 30-40%
- Continuously monitoring devices and systems so businesses can quickly and proactively address any issues before they become problems for the customer
Businesses across all industries are increasingly using personalization to enhance their CX strategies.
- Conducting more engaging and conversational customer surveys for more accurate feedback loops
- Providing quick, customizable assistance throughout the customer’s purchase journey including relevant offers, product recommendations, tips, and more
- Using large learning models to scale your A/B testing, increasing the speed at which you can get results, make decisions, and optimize every customer touchpoint
Implementing AI: Constant vigilance, not “set it and forget it”
While there are numerous opportunities to utilize AI to improve the customer experience in many areas of your organization, there are also risks and implications to be aware of.
- AI is not a silver bullet: Don’t over-rely on AI for your customer service strategy. AI tools can improve efficiency and provide deeper insights, but are not yet sophisticated enough to solve all customer-related problems
- All tools need a guiding hand: Teams should set parameters and policies for how AI tools will be implemented, decide on goals and metrics up front, apply AI-gathered insights to the customer experience, and continually evaluate the impact and refine
- Your employees are still your superpower: Consider AI a power multiplier for—not a replacement of—your human customer service teams. There are many situations where that “human touch” is still required! Think about how AI can provide real-time support to your agents to save them time, effort, and deliver higher-quality experiences for your customers
- Security risks associated with AI: AI can be hugely helpful, but businesses must understand the technology and put the proper guardrails in place to avoid exposure of sensitive data and IP infringement
For businesses that depend on customer loyalty and satisfaction, boosting your customer experience with AI tools should be a considered strategy in your CX playbook. While AI-assisted CX is an ongoing journey of investment, learning, and improvement, it’s one that can pay dividends in the long run.