The new age of customer service is becoming the age of Conversational AI. Companies large and small often struggle with delivering the best customer service possible. The quality of your customer service reflects upon your brand and can make or break your customer retention or acquisition efforts. From call handling times and hold times, to FCR (First Call Resolution) rates, to customer success, an internal customer support process is imperative. All industries encounter the challenge to find effective ways of managing their customer service needs – and Conversational AI with NLP (Natural Language Processing) is here to help.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems were the beginning of automated customer service, often featuring large and cumbersome phone trees, and as such may have gotten a bad rap from customers and companies alike. However, the technology has come a long way. Conversational AI is not the phone tree that you might have experienced ten years ago. IVR can now input and request information from your systems in real time, much the way that a browser does with the internet. It can process queries in natural language much more like a human, and the options are more sophisticated. A natural conversation with an artificial intelligent platform is accessible and easy to implement. You don’t even need to be able to code to build your own customer support Conversational AI.
Benefits of Conversational AI
Customer service is an important part of any business. You are trying to supply top quality products and services, so you want to retain your customers as much as possible. It’s easier to keep your current customers happy and have them continue to use your services over converting new leads. To do that you need to ensure that any customer service needs are met and managed quickly and efficiently. Your customers need to walk away with any interactions with your brand and have a good feeling about the engagement. Having your customer service agents answer routine calls and answer with rote responses is not the most cost-effective use of resources – you need them to be able to spend their time on the complex concerns that could cost you a customer.
Allowing an AI to query and respond to basic information and provide answers to customers, clients, or patients, allows your customer service agents to concentrate on issues that require more manual assistance. This leaves your clients with a more positive experience and assists with client loyalty and satisfaction.
That shift to using more Conversational AI and less staff-assisted agents will save your company time and money. It will allow you to handle more inquiries faster without expanding your customer support team. This shift will also allow your company to become more scalable and available to your customers or clients.
Another benefit of Conversational AI is that these types of software provide measurable results. Unlike long conversations with live agents that need to be recorded and listened to in the future to deduct any data from, a Conversational AI can retain the data your company needs. The right Conversational AI will show you what your call volume is doing, where you are dropping callers, where you could improve the process, etc. All of this information will provide the information your operational team requires to make the choices and changes that improve your customer service process.
Eliminate Multi-Menu Selections
We’ve all called a company looking for help and been met with the “Press 1 for X” menu options. If your company has many offerings, or several departments, these menus can get overly complicated. By the time your customer reaches an agent, they’re agitated. Or they have been rerouted to the wrong department and they are hanging up.
You can eliminate the need for menus (or drastically reduce the options) by simply having an AI ask, “How can I help you?” The customer can describe the issue, and the AI will redirect them to the proper department or agent. This process is quicker and feels more unique to the customer’s particular needs.
The Conversational AI will take keywords and other patterns from conversation to make the communication natural. AI also has the power to learn as you go along! Your conversations and options are adaptable based on the software you choose. It’s important to be able to modernize and improve your outbound communication. Your customers will notice it and appreciate it.
Customers do not want to be put on hold. One way to tackle that issue is to reduce your call times with shorter queues. Another way that Conversational AI software accomplishes this is by scheduling a callback. Studies have shown customers prefer this option to sitting on hold. The software schedules a call with an Agent, at a time convenient to the customer, and the customer can simply return to their day, knowing they’ll get a call, and their problem already feels on the way to being solved.
If your company suffers from long wait times, these solutions could drastically improve your customer experience, and in general increase your ROI.
Provide Information Without Involving an Agent
If you are a financial institution or insurance company, you probably have customers calling to simply check on the status of their account or claim. Possibly they’re calling about account information or making sure their payment was processed. AI bots can provide your customers with their account numbers, recent payments, policy information, balances, and whatever other information your customers might need easy access to.
Some examples of what a Conversational AI can provide a customer with:
- Resetting a password/retrieving account information
- Paying a bill
- Checking balances
- Filing or checking on the status of a claim
- Adding features to a current account/plan
- Getting company or store information
- Buying a product or service
- Processing a return or refund
- Checking on an outage/process/system under construction
- Collecting feedback/surveys
- Connecting a customer with a live agent when needed
We’ve all experienced this on a smaller scale when renewing or checking on a prescription at a pharmacy. Those systems don’t involve the actual pharmacy techs. They do allow the staff members to continue to do their jobs efficiently without the resources that answering the phone and looking up customer information could take. The process gets started in a more efficient way by starting the prescription with the assistance of an AI.
Most companies want to learn more about how their customer support team is doing. Surveys are an important way for you to find out how successful your customer service is at fulfilling your clientele. Find out how your support team is dealing with issues and find out if there are common issues that need addressing. How you get those survey responses, and process that data, can be a time consuming and an inexact process.
Allowing IVR and the Conversational AI tools to contact customers, collect details, and compile the data ensures a higher rate of return on survey completion. This enables you to improve your processes and respond to customer needs, rather than have information sitting in your CRM going nowhere. Even with the best intentions, data sitting on recorded calls or living in the minds of your human agents is not useful.
Outgoing Automated Calls and Reminders
Do you have appointments that need confirmation calls? Plenty of doctor and dental offices utilize automations for this, but it is usually a “press 1 for Yes” and it doesn’t offer extended options. Allowing patients, or clients, to cancel or reschedule appointments from a phone call without having to call the office directly (from that automated reminder call) is a great way to cut down on no-shows or cancellations.
Proactive communications can help customer satisfaction ratings overall. Letting customers know a service might be down, and for how long, before they call to complain puts them a little more at ease knowing that the problem is being worked on. If your power goes out, you might have experienced this from a personal experience. Any companies or services that rely on appointment setting should consider how to use Conversational AI to take over this type of follow up. It rarely demands the human touch of your live agents and can be replaced by automation.
Not only can you improve your customer’s experience when in need of support but you can reduce your operational costs. Conversational AI can help your company create an efficient and effective customer service process that increases your customer retention. Eliminating long wait times due to simple questions as well as streamlining the long switchboard menus enables your company to better serve your clients, customers, and patients.
The addition, or upgrade, of using modern Conversational AI applications benefits both the company and the consumer. It improves internal and external processes. It might start with customer support, lead to payment processing or sales, and end with customer retention. Enhancing this process with the right software can make improvements in both short term and long term goals.
Conversational AI allows for unique and specific information to be inserted into communications- improving customer engagement. Collect surveys, send proactive communications, take payments, schedule appointments and so much more with the assistance of conversational AI.Read our case studies to see how our software has helped other companies improve their customer service. Companies of all sizes and industries have resolved pain points or problem areas with their customer support pipeline with Conversational AI and the flexibility of Plum Voice’s AI Fusion platform. Find out how we can help you.