Roadmap to Achieve AI Benefits for Customer Experience

This blog is authored by Robin Gareiss, President and Founder, of Nemertes Research. Ms. Gareiss leads Nemertes Digital Transformation research. She also is a widely recognized expert in the communications field, with specialty areas of VOIP/UC, collaboration, and managed/hosted/cloud communications services.

Increasingly, Digital Customer Experience (DCX) leaders are using and evaluating Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve customer interactions. They point to several benefits on their journey to augment human agents with virtual counterparts.

We asked 697 business and IT leaders for the top benefit they saw with adding AI to their customer interactions. Though all of the benefits listed below apply to a majority of companies, we asked them for the top benefit, the one that’s most significant for their organizations. The key findings:

  • Improves customer satisfaction (30%)
  • Reduces time agents spend on calls (24%)
  • Reduces the number of calls (16%)
  • Enables new sales or upsell (12%)
  • Provides information to make continual improvements (7%)
  • Improves agent skills (4%)

The results boil down to three core areas: Reduce costs, improve customer experience, and increase revenue. When combined, 40% selected reduced time agents spend on calls and reduces the number of calls.

So, in the early days of AI for DCX, companies are most focused on reducing costs in the contact center. Right behind that, on the top benefits list, is improves customer satisfaction. Admittedly, many IT and business leaders told me they were initially concerned about adding AI—and some still are. They are worried AI will eliminate the personal touch, along with basic human reasoning and empathy, and frustrate customers.

However, early success metrics among those using AI show that customer ratings actually increased by 45% after they introduce AI, mostly in the form of chatbots. As long as companies effectively train the data set and don’t over-complicate the skills of the AI agent, customers get what they want, when they want it, and from the device and interface they desire.

Cost reduction also has happened, with cost per transaction dropping by 19% and an 80% increase in the number of transactions using self-service capabilities.

The Road to AI

As more success stories are publicized, it will be easier to convince budget holders that they should fund AI. For example, ignoring one of the most popular AI derivatives—chatbots—will put companies at a competitive disadvantage. Here are some best practices on the journey to AI success in DCX:

  • You need a business case. As with any technology, don’t deploy it just for technology’s sake. What can chatbots or AI-enabled analytics do for your customers or your agents that will drive an opportunity or address a problem? Get the right people in a room to discuss what those are for your organization.
  • You need a champion—someone who will be relentless at pitching the benefits of AI to key stakeholders and ensure funding is approved, a project team is in place, and success metrics are ultimately achieved.
  • You need a budget. The champion can evangelize the benefits of AI, but someone must fund the projects.
  • You need solid technology partners. Once you have the business cases, the champion, project team, and funding, evaluate providers who can help achieve the company’s vision for AI.

For more information on how AI improves customer experience, read There’s Nothing Artificial About It: AI and analytics document significantly better digital experiences for customers, or view Learn How a 95% Increase in Customer Wins is Possible with DCX+AI.

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