Customers have always used a variety of digital avenues to reach out to companies, even before the pandemic. When COVID made it hard for customers to go into shops they could only shop online, engaging with businesses through email, chat, and phone calls, putting a strain on customer sales & support personnel new to working remotely. The sudden increase in digital communication and boom of online commerce exposed a weakness in many companies’ digital customer engagement plans while providing an opportunity for AI to shine.
Although stores have resumed operations, this trend has remained, and the challenge now is: How can employees meet the constantly shifting needs of customers without becoming burned out? There are several ways in which artificial intelligence-based technology and customer contact approaches may be used to increase customer loyalty and employee satisfaction. An AI-enabled workforce is the future of customer engagement.
Companies may utilize artificial intelligence to strengthen their relationships with their customers in three ways.
1. Customers are using a wide range of devices to access your products and services.
In Deloitte Consulting’s Service and Digital Transformation Practice, Sherry Comes says the epidemic was a catalyst for digital outreach, which sparked dialogues across several channels with consumers. Customers may also use Instagram, email, or phone calls to get in touch. As a result, she claims, “conversations on one channel come to life, then die, and then come to life again on another channel.” As a result, “[companies] must actively pursue [user engagement] wherever individuals [contact] them.”
As a result, businesses are no longer able to concentrate only on a single channel or create separate teams for each. Companies, on the other hand, are “trying to design around that zombie architecture [in order] to have a fluid, natural communication across many different channels,” said Comes. The most significant difference has been the speed at which it occurred.”
Callan Schebella, executive vice president of a firm, feels that this increased customer touch will be the most significant shift brought about by COVID. “People began connecting with corporations in a manner they hadn’t done before,” he added. As a result, they began to purchase food and apparel [online]. Industries like this have undergone radical transformations.”
Schebella said that during the epidemic, around two-thirds of those polled by his firm started to “source products differently,” and he doesn’t anticipate that to change. Over the last 24 months, that’s arguably the most significant and long-lasting change.”
2. Professionals may be engaged by AI even before they accept a job offer at work.
It’s a challenge for employers to assist their employees to cope with the constant barrage of outreach. Joseph Fuller, a professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, thinks technology is advancing to address that issue. AI-based engagement tools like chatbots, according to Fuller, “were far more about efficiency than they were [about] enhancing customer experience,” emphasizing their capacity to handle activities like beginning a return or monitoring payment.
There are some sorts of technology that will have a significant influence on the way we communicate with consumers, Fuller added. “[The tech] realizes this phone number is linked with an account, so there’s a 99.99% possibility that this is Fuller, and this is [what we know] about Fuller,” he said, recalling his own experiences with two-factor authentication.
Fuller categorizes existing software tools into two broad groups. Intelligent virtual agents such as chatbots or smart speaker devices are on the “real automation technology” end of the spectrum. Fuller’s “agent-assist technology” refers to “exchanges between a client and a human agent, but they’re augmented by artificial intelligence,” says Fuller, “where interactions are taking place.”
As a copilot for customer interaction employees, AI “pops information into the screen about the consumer, [giving] them kind of superpowers,” he said. Listening in on a conversation, certain current technologies might urge the agent to alter their tone of voice or make a joke at a specific moment in the dialogue.
According to Carl Gerber, a data analyst at Deloitte, this assistance may enhance both the customer experience and employee engagement. Deployed at a client contact center years ago, Deloitte had a technology that could tell when a call was coming in from an elderly individual. Once we’ve done that, we’ll be able to employ gentrified language, slow down, and repeat… “Agents would exclaim, I have the answers now! People aren’t shouting at me anymore!” Employee attrition also decreased as representatives loved their work more. Gerber referred to technology that allows employees to test out a job before they accept it as another churn-reducing example.
An Israeli start-up, Skillset, uses virtual reality simulations to expose job candidates to various situations. There are fewer false positives if people remove the Oculus (VR headset) and declare, “I never want to do that again,” Fuller said.
3. When it comes to social interactions soft skills are no longer acceptable.
Gerber acknowledged that customer service professions might be difficult and even unpleasant at times. Empathy, emotional intelligence, and effective communication were formerly considered “soft talents,” but now they are highly appreciated in the workplace, especially in customer service.
Gerber went on to say that today’s clients want a high level of personal connection, particularly when making large purchases like mortgage loans. Employers will need new methods for identifying employees who possess higher-order social skills, as well as new ways of conversing with customers that demonstrate empathy and understanding, according to one expert. If I were a venture investor wanting to invest, I’d look at the cutting-edge stuff.
As Marius Schebella, a researcher pointed out, a computer can’t replace human connection, and he views software as a supplement rather than a substitute. He said, “They are worried that I’ll be replaced.” In reality, the sort of labor gradually shifts over time, and you end up performing more high-value work for your company….” To put it another way, all the “easy work” has been automated.”
For your organization to succeed in the AI-enabled future, you must develop a smart customer engagement solution that’ll attract customers to your product. Cooperative Computing will gladly help you out. Let’s connect!!