As a human being who is generally successful at being human, how many times have you stared at your child, spouse, mother, brother, or a random stranger and thought – perhaps even said – “I don’t know how to give you what you want!” On second thought, maybe don’t try to assign a number to it.
People are complex and demanding, something anyone attempting to provide exemplary customer service knows. Keeping people happy, it turns out, is a job perhaps not best left to other people. With today’s artificial intelligence and automated customer service solutions, nobody knows how to keep customers happy quite like a computerized system.
Up until recently, artificial intelligence in customer service meant a chatbot picking out keywords and issuing related replies using a document retrieval system. When it works, this is a fine if not slightly charmless system. But in this, the age of the customer, occasionally effective charmless customer service is not going to cut it.
As customer expectations have evolved, however, so too has the artificial intelligence (AI) powering digital customer service solutions such as chatbots and virtual assistants. Today’s AI-powered solutions are equipped with natural language technology that allow them to understand context in addition to content and helps them understand the way humans actually talk, including misspellings, fragments, slang, short-forms and so on, enabling them to reply in a way a person would, creating a comfortable and natural customer service experience.
Today’s AI-powered customer service solutions also use machine learning, which gives them the ability to learn from every interaction with a customer, getting smarter and more effective for the next interaction.
Combining those skills with automation, here’s what leading digital customer service solutions can do for your customers.
Digital customer service solutions value your customers’ time
Anyone who has ever listened to an instrumental version of The Pina Colada Song while on hold will agree that their time needs to be better valued. That means not only does your customer service need to be available 24 hours a day, but customers need to be instantly assisted.
An intelligent virtual customer assistant is infinitely scalable, making it instantly available to any number of customers at any time to provide everything from basic customer support and account information to answers to questions, product recommendations and sale information.
Digital customer service solutions reduce customer effort
No one is saying that constant connectivity and the wealth of purchasing options available has made customers lazy and entitled, but it has made customers a little, um, shiftless and privileged. Thus, one of the best things an organization can do to improve the customer experience is reduce the amount of effort a customer has to expend to get in touch.
A virtual customer assistant or AI-powered chatbot exists where your customers already are – not just on the company website, but in leading messenger apps like Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik and WhatsApp, making it as convenient as possible to get in contact with customer service.
These solutions also provide a seamless experience across a number of channels, storing customer and interaction data in the cloud and making it instantly accessible by the automated solutions as well as live customer agents, ensuring customers never have to repeat themselves or start again at the beginning. This speeds up interactions and reduces frustration.
Digital customer service solutions keep it personal
To develop that all-important personal connection with a brand, a customer has to feel valued by and important to the brand. To achieve this, customer service has to be able to consider a customer’s current needs as well as past interactions including purchases, complaints, positive reviews and even a bit of personal information.
As mentioned above, digital customer service solutions that are cloud-based make this breadth of information available to customer service agents and accessible by AI-powered digital solutions, allowing for personalized product recommendations and maybe even a mention of a customer’s treasured pet Bryan the turtle. By deepening the relationship between brand and customer, the brand will be rewarded with that customer’s loyalty, not to mention the increased customer lifetime value that comes with it. Thanks Bryan.
Digital customer service solutions get proactive
It’s hard enough for human customer service employees to keep up with the crush of requests, questions, complaints and comments that come in from customers. If you were to also ask them to take the time to reach out to customers to ask how a product is performing or wish a customer a happy birthday, you would probably hear the laughter from the parking lot where your employees would be getting into their cars to go find another job.
Chatbots and virtual assistants, on the other hand, are not programmed to laugh in your face, nor can they acquire that skill through machine learning at this time. What they can do is easily check in with customers through messaging apps or other preferred channels to proactively build the customer relationship and quickly deal with any issues that arise before they fester and result in a customer abandoning the brand. This is important because if you wait to hear from dissatisfied customers, you’re only going to hear from four percent of them. Ninety-one percent are quietly going elsewhere.
Leaving human interaction to the experts
Blame it on the internet, blame it on millennials, blame it on all the companies that are committed to providing amazing customer service and setting high expectations. Whatever the reason, customers are demanding more and more from brands, and it’s simply unreasonable to expect traditional customer service channels and methods to deliver. As it turns out, what many people need is the thoughtful human experience only a digital solution can provide.