Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processes with the aid of machines. These machines primarily include computer systems and tools that carry out learning, problem-solving, reasoning and perception.
Customer service is one area where AI tools and technology can be used efficiently. As per a recent study, it is estimated that nearly 85% of the customer interactions will be handled without the presence of a human agent in next three years. There are approximately 38% of the enterprises that are using AI and the number will grow to 62% by the end of 2018. AI has the capability to accomplish the following set of tasks and activities in customer service and interactions.
AI embedded monitors can provide the customer service team with the ability to analyze the primary customer issues. The systems can offer real-time support to the customer for the resolution of such issues. The huge clusters of web applications can be gathered and studied to resolve the issues even before their occurrence. This empowers the business organizations to reduce the customer abandonment rates and enhance the level of customer engagement.
The use of messaging applications is not restricted to connecting with friends, family, and colleagues. The brands are using these applications for customer interaction and the usage is set to increase further. The use of social media applications and in-house messaging applications allows real-time interaction with the customers and thus resolve their queries and issues.
The expenditure on hiring the customer service agent and training the member is quite high. It is also necessary to organize training sessions at regular intervals. However, with the use of AI platforms, a one-time training is sufficient which in turn would bring down the costs to a huge margin.Related Webinar : Artificial Intelligence in layman’s terms
Customer service agents cannot be made available for a non-stop period of time. The human resources work for specific hours in a day and may remain unavailable at the time of an incident. These limitations can be resolved by the use of automated support and customer service tools which interact with the customers at any hour of the day. The queries and incidents reported by the customers are automatically recorded and a suitable response is also provided that matches the reported query.
A recent customer service study revealed that over 72% customers do not prefer phone calls for the resolution of their query or issue. Self-service options for customer service are on a rise and the use of chat-bots and forums have rapidly increased. AI has enabled the easy development and usage of such options. The companies that are still not utilizing such platforms will be required to incorporate the same in the future for enhanced customer relationship management and service.
Reliability & Scalability
Customer service and interaction have a great role to play in customer engagement and relationship management. According to a survey, 42% of the customers increased their purchase after a good customer service response. On the other hand, 52% customers reduced their engagement with the organization after a poor experience. AI platforms can enhance the reliability of service with their non-stop availability and unbiased customer interaction. The AI tools can also be scaled up or down as per the requirements. These applications can simultaneously handle a wide number of customers without any impact on the speed and performance.
There are advanced customer services that can be provided by artificial intelligence. The use of automated applications can reduce the costs. Resource and training costs along with the cost of the infrastructure are eliminated with the incorporation of AI tools.
It is often assumed that Artificial Intelligence will replace the jobs currently being handled by the human resources. There are over 10 million jobs that will be replaced by AI tools and applications in next ten years. However, in the case of customer service, automated assistance can only resolve 10-35% of the customer queries. Human assistance and capabilities will be required in the rest of the cases. The business organizations must research the AI applications and platforms that can be incorporated into their customer service interactions.
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In Field Service industry, where the technicians are face to face with customers everyday, good operational efficiency, productive staff, and effective resource management are all interconnected and are important aspects of the business. Businesses should carefully measure all these areas that indicate the health of their field service. Data and analytics thus recorded, needs to be evaluated to drive more informed business decisions. So, how do you measure these to drive more insights from it?
This photo-blog lists five unique field service power metrics to identify and monitor your company’s performance.
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It has been proven, way back in 2011, that in field service, almost 89% of your customers are most likely to stop buying from you and go after one of your competitors, if you don’t take service to your customers seriously enough!
That’s right! The risk is pretty high! But not if you know what to do about it.
Now, you might be thinking, “Of course we take service seriously, that’s our business!”, and yes, you might be providing effective services to your customers when they need them. But do you care about your customers enough to help PREVENT their possible issues?
Watch the barriers to growth and adoption of virtual customers.
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Do you take your customer service seriously enough to be proactive?
The answer to that question, should ideally be yes, and you should be at least half way there in the next few years, considering what customers expect from their service providers these days. It is when you are doubtful about it, that you run the risk that I mentioned before.
This problem arises more, usually when companies wait until something happens with a customer’s asset to provide a service fix. This kind of reactive customer support is more of the norm for a lot of companies in field service. This is probably because of a number of reasons like a lack of knowledge, lack of resources etc.
However, as we had discussed earlier on one of our previous blogs, customers these days expect field service companies to be on top of the latest technologies and deliver more than what they actually demand. Read more about it: Changing Customer Perceptions: How To Take Advantage
Whatever caters to their convenience better, is what they are going to use.
Hence, if a field service company is able to anticipate possible problems with their assets well in advance, and provide service without having them request for it, then a customer is not going to look further than that. And that is why proactive customer service is your best friend.
According to a report by Enkata, taking an initiative in your customer service or support could increase your customer retention rates by about 3 to 5%.
Why should you go for proactive customer service?
Apart from the fact that it increases customer retention rates, it also helps to reduce the number of calls or enquiries you get from your customers, as you can take care of their issues before they even arise.
Besides that, you get a chance to create a positive impact in the minds of the customers, before their problem arises. This puts you in a good picture, when they talk about you to others.
In case you are wondering what kind of an image your customers would have of you, if you acted proactively, here are some interesting findings:
- According to InContact, about 87% of the adults surveyed were happy to be contacted by their service providers proactively, regarding their issues.
- 75% of the respondents of the survey, said that they experienced a positive change in the perception of a company that called them proactively and gave them a pleasant surprise or a positive call experience, out of which 62% have taken action as a result.
- About 65% of respondents said they were open to being contacted about fraudulent activity on one of their accounts
- A major share (53%) was open to setting reminders and appointments and another 51% of them were open to being contacted for questions regarding an order placed by them
Benefits of “proactiveness” to your business
Here’s an interesting fact.
Anglian Water, a leading supplier of water and water recycling services, sends more than 200,000 emails and messages to their customers every year, as notifications about outages or other problems in their particular areas. This practice helps them reduce customer calls by a large margin and they have reported to be saving somewhere between £100,000 and £200,000 worth of call center costs every year!
This is a clear example of how effective it can be for your business, to be proactive. As I mentioned before it actually gives you a chance to create a good impression in the minds of customers by meeting and even exceeding their expectations before they actually demand it. It helps to nurture and strengthen customer relationships, by which you can improve your business through better services as well as better advocacy or sheer “word of mouth”.
They say, ‘a satisfied customer tells 3 friends, and an angry customer tells 3000.’ If you start being proactive, address the issues of even your unhappy customers and turn them around to being your brand advocates instead, imagine how contagious it can get!
Protect yourself from escalation
Apart from creating new brand advocates and improving the value of your business, being proactive can also help you protect yourself against escalation. It is always better to identify any kind of negativity surrounding your business, and warn your customers beforehand, so as to avoid a social crisis. According to a research by Altimeter, poor experiences was the major cause of customer complaints online.
To sum it all up, being proactive should be the way forward for you as the competition in the industry is getting tighter and customer expectations are not getting any smaller! It is going to be a matter of survival for you in no time.
Take the necessary steps right away and make the shift from reactive customer service to proactive customer service.
To learn a few basic steps and possible ways for you to begin with, stay tuned for our next blog.