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AI is a hot topic. We have a wealth of AI-based image editing and creation tools aimed at consumers, and, of course, OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot, which is giving us an intriguing demonstration of the potential of artificial intelligence.
Yet, most consumers may not realize that AI is already making their lives easier in unseen ways – like improving how organizations interact with them in order to deliver a great customer experience (CX).
Broadly speaking, CX is the sum of how your customers perceive your organization, products and services. It’s influenced by many factors, and customer service is a central part of it. Here, both people (employees) and technology (AI) have a role to play.
Good CX starts with happy employees
If your employees are not engaged and enabled, they won’t be able to help your customers effectively.
Engaged employees are positive about their roles. They feel an attachment to your organization and your customers; they’re part of the team. They’re willing to do a good job when they’re helping those customers, and you have to make sure they have the tools to do so.
Employee enablement is the strategy you follow to provide these tools to your employees and empower them to deliver excellent customer service.
AI can support employees as well as customers
Customers don’t want to wait for an issue to be resolved because your contact-center agent or customer-service representative can’t access the right information. An AI-assisted tool could find the answer quickly, saving valuable seconds and a lot of frustration.
AI can help you predict both a customer’s question and the right answer, automatically filling in forms in a customer relationship management (CRM) system that would otherwise be completed manually. This level of automation makes your employees’ lives easier, allowing them to focus on the customers, who in turn enjoy the benefit of faster and better outcomes.
Other useful tools include those aimed at workforce management – for example, using a scheduling system to keep call-center agents happy by giving them flexibility in their schedules and the ability to swap shifts with their colleagues.
It also delivers efficiencies to your organization: imagine if your agents saved 30 seconds of time in every conversation because AI was already giving them the right answer to a customer’s problem. That saving would add up quickly in a large organization that dealt with high volumes of customer calls, and there would be an increase in perceived value and positivity from the customer’s perspective – which supports customer retention.
In your pursuit of good EX, ask yourself these questions:
- Have your employees received the right training?
- Do they have the best tools for the job – like an efficient agent desktop, an application that gives them the information they need when assisting customers – and access to the right resources?
- Can they easily obtain insights into a customer’s preferences, service history and behavior?
- Are they using the right tools to deal with inquiries or complaints?
New technology may not always please your customers
Many organizations’ digital transformation efforts in CX include customer self-service tools or automated services, such as voice bots on digital channels like WhatsApp, and web chat.
These developments may sound appealing to your organization, but many customers still resist nonhuman channels. If you’re panicking because your car has broken down in an unsafe location, you’ll use contact channels in a very different way than someone whose grocery order is running late. A human touchpoint is always required when the customer needs it most.
The quality of the information provided, slow response times, and channel functions not matching their needs are some of the reasons customers give for not adopting these channels, according to NTT’s . There is a lot more to addressing these challenges, but the common thread is simply that the channels aren’t working properly. You have to meet and exceed customer expectations if you expect a positive customer-experience outcome.
So, our message to organizations is to take note of what your customers are saying: if your CX is not good enough, you need to make it effortless in order to fix it.
The tools are just the beginning
One thing we know from experience is that the road to CX success isn’t always smooth. From an IT perspective, the integration of systems is one obstacle to overcome, along with the integration and application of customer data.
And AI-based tools and automation in your contact center are just some of the pieces of the puzzle when you’re putting together a CX strategy for your organization. This might be a daunting exercise if you’re in the midst of a migration to the cloud and unsure of how to access innovation in EX and CX.
Where you may have previously relied on separate and expensive tools in these areas, working with an experienced service provider like NTT gives you access to intelligent, integrated solutions.
Genesys, our partner of more than 25 years, has a range of products you can use to retain customers, increase sales and employee productivity, and reduce costs. Within one package, you can easily trial and roll out new digital channels or launch pilot projects quickly and affordably, for example – and it’s all in the cloud, with round-the-clock support from NTT.
Successful organizations focus on CX
Our CX report shows a correlation between organizations that are successful and growing and those that put CX at the heart of their operations. These organizations are more than two-and-a-half times more likely than others to consider CX as a primary differentiator.
Leaders in CX have built a model for success based on investing in AI and automation on one side, and in employee engagement and enablement on the other. Those that haven’t done this will be left behind. So, to stay ahead of the curve, this is the time to step up your CX strategy.
Get in touch with our Customer Experience team to see how our intelligent technology solutions can help your organization.