Artificial intelligence has played a role in customer service for some time now, but it’s only recently that its full potential for transforming the customer experience has come to light. Conversational commerce is redefining the role of messaging apps in customer engagement, while self-service tools continue to simplify the customer service process and shift the role of human customer service agents in the contact center. Here are six ways artificial intelligence is reshaping customer experiences of both the present and the future.
Big data is a key player in targeted marketing practices, offering brands important insights into customer behavior. Artificial intelligence technology may interpret big data to identify customer browsing patterns, purchase history, recent access to customer devices, and most visited webpages. With this detailed information, brands can in turn use AI to offer personalized recommendations to customers as they browse online or communicate with brands through messaging apps, follow up with those who have abandoned shopping carts, and generally revise marketing practices based on knowing which products and services are getting the most attention.
Perhaps the most popular current trend in AI-powered customer service is chat bots. Through various chat interfaces such as messaging apps, chat bots simulate intelligent conversation and are able to perform a multitude of tasks that enrich the customer experience. A simple version of chat bots performs limited question and answer functions, offering factual responses to specific questions such as the address of a retail store or the current weather in a certain city. However, chat bots powered by sophisticated AI technology interpret language and become smarter as a conversation progresses, offering increasingly detailed responses to customer requests. In both cases, customers are seeing the benefit of faster, more personalized, and more in-depth service like never before.
Intelligent assistants have been around for awhile, but their role and capabilities have become far more sophisticated as they have evolved into customer service channels. From Facebook to Amazon, many companies have unveiled intelligent assistants that assist customers with anything from placing food orders to buying retail clothing online. The growing sophistication of such technology is making it possible for people to use natural language interfaces with greater ease and stronger results.
The Internet of Things, or IoT, is the self-service of the present and the future. AI essentially turns objects ranging from cars to household appliances into “smart” objects that may self-diagnose and self-repair proactively, all without the customer’s effort. Many companies currently offer IoT-enabled devices, such as Pacific Gas and Electric’s smart meters that allow residents to track their residential energy consumption and Zipcar’s seamless car rental process that eliminates the need for human agents altogether. The market for IoT is set to boom: According to a Statista study, 50 billion objects are expected to be connected to the Internet by 2020.
Artificial intelligence powers certain contact center technologies that drive seamless customer experiences everyday. Technologies such as interactive voice response (IVR) connect customers quickly and seamlessly with the most qualified agent, while prioritized callbacks also save customers time by calling back when their position arrives at the front of a queue. In addition, predictive dialers fuel sales through smart and effective lead management, connecting sales agents directly to the most receptive customers at the best times.
With all these advances in artificial intelligence, the role of human agents has changed inevitably. As more processes become automated, human agents have more time to focus on complex cases that may be too difficult for intelligent assistants or chat bots to handle on their own. While some may wonder if AI will eventually replace human support altogether, one may argue that brands need to first establish trust with their customers before taking such a bold move. Older generations of customers, for example, may simply prefer to talk to a live agent by phone, and some customers may not feel comfortable relying completely on technology for support. For the time being, it’s safe to say that human agents are the backbone for advanced support, ensuring that customer experiences run smoothly when additional support is needed.Artificial intelligence plays a crucial role in modern customer experience, reshaping the way brands and customers engage with one another and defining the next wave of customer service for the future. To deliver the very best in modern customer service, learn about Vocalcom, a global leader in cloud-based contact center software solutions and premium conversational commerce platform for great customer experiences.
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