How to Improve the Customer Experience with AI

Written by Emily Peck on Sep 25, 2018

Customer service today is broken, marred by inefficiency that leaves customers frustrated and support employees disenchanted.

Consumers experience long hold times or are an unwitting participant in the virtual game of pinball, getting knocked from one agent to the other until you may get your need resolved. Or there’s the hours-long wait many consumers experience to hear back on a customer support email or social message (the average wait time on social media is an astonishing nine hours). Customers expect businesses to respond to their emails within an hour, and most companies don’t come close to delivering on this today.

The stakes for good customer service are higher than ever: 33% of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service. On the bright side, taking a customer-centric approach to support pays off: 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service.

Without using AI, it’s almost impossible, and very expensive, to meet consumer demands for fast, high-quality resolutions at scale. Let’s take a look at 6 different ways customer service can be elevated through intelligent support automation.

6 ways AI-powered customer service improves the customer experience

  • Always convenient for your customers

AI connects to all of your business systems in order to surface the right information to personalize the exchange and drive in-the-moment relevance. Companies can treat every customer differently on-demand. AI also enables an omnichannel experience deployed across all channels where customers are. A single AI can exist on social, mobile, chat and email. AI Agents are available 24/7, whenever your customers need them.

  • The instantaneous, accurate response to repeatable issues

Over 50% of the tickets your company receives span repeatable, simple questions and scenarios. AI can be used to increase your brand’s responsiveness and customer satisfaction via quick high-quality resolutions to these queries as soon as your customers reach out.

  • Better, faster service from human agents

AI-centric customer service is not about replacing human agents; it’s about uplifting humans to work smarter and faster, and allowing them to focus on high-value work and things that require uniquely human characteristics like complex problem solving and having empathy. AI can empower agents to respond quickly with recommended replies and actions, and surface the critical information that will help your agent serve better. The customer experience is enhanced as human agents are focusing solely on enabling better assistance to fewer tickets.

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  • Support becomes proactive and predictive

AI enables a fundamental shift away from solely reactive service to preemptive service. First, we will see a wave of proactive service capabilities where companies anticipate issues based on changes to things like delivery or order status and alert customers before they have a chance to reach out to the brand. Within the next few years, we will also see support become predictive, where companies will anticipate issues based on contextual signals. For instance, a person who is stuck in traffic on their way to the airport and has missed their flight will be preemptively rebooked on the next flight. They will get a message from an airline’s AI agent with new ticketing information.

  • Disseminate the right information at the right time

AI-enabled support enables companies to educate and intervene at the exact moment it can lead to overall higher customer satisfaction (and also drive a sale).

    • Pre-sale:  More than half of Americans have scrapped a planned purchase or transaction because of bad service, according to the American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer. An AI agent can act on signals like time spent on a page, clicks or mouse movement to identify customers who are not yet ready to make a purchase or are on the fence. The AI can provide information relevant to their exact behavior, offer to answer questions or even recommend questions other customers have had at that point in the purchase journey. A more informed purchase leads to fewer buyers remorse and returns, and a happier customer.
    • Post-sale: Companies can automate recommendations and instructions for service or care. For instance, 1 year after a coffee maker was purchased, based on the usual wear and tear, we’d recommend you do this service or cleaning to keep the device working best. AI can also help with feature discovery, alerting customers to new and different ways to enjoy a product.
  • Personalized engagement

AI customer support can enable resolutions to be more personal to the customer. Based on machine learning and understanding the variations amongst audience segments and how contextual factors influence whether an action resolves –  or fails to effectively resolve – specific issues, companies can provide more relevant personalized customer service to the individual.

A moderate increase in Customer Experience generates an average revenue increase of $823 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues, according to the Temkin Group. Even if your revenue is nowhere near this, providing friendly, convenient, high-quality support at scale can have an enormous impact on your consumer experience and your company’s bottom line.

To learn more about AI-enabled customer service and how Netomi can transform your customer support, schedule a demo today.

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