Guest post by Heidi Thiel, writer and content creator.
Your customers are more digitally savvy than ever, and they expect your company to provide service that is convenient and personalized. AI can make that happen.
“By 2025, as many as 95 percent of all customer interactions will be through channels supported by artificial intelligence (AI) technology” – Microsoft
From generalized customer service to IT support, adopting AI for customer communications helps give your customers what they want when they want it. If AI can help solve problems at a global level, it should be able to handle many of your challenges as well.
Keep reading to find out how AI is changing customer experience and how you can use tools like chatbots and voice assistants to provide exceptional customer service.
AI Delivers Superior Customer Service
AI-based automation fulfills your customers’ needs quickly and it’s available 24/7. From a more personalized customer journey to better marketing analytics, AI is changing customer experience across a range of applications.
1. Pinpoint Recommendations
When we receive recommendations from our streaming music app or an online retailer, that’s AI at work. Create more insightful communications with your customers when you let AI-based programs take the lead.
2. Chatbots and Voice Assistants
Save your customer service personnel for more advanced customer interactions when you opt for AI-based programs. From automatically answering FAQs to understanding when to escalate your company’s communications, chatbots and voice assistants can easily support and collaborate with your customer service teams.
3. Automated Voice Technology
Streamline your company’s ordering and payment applications with voice-activated auto pay and other customer-friendly options when you automate transactions with voice technology.
4. On-demand Availability
When you make it easy to update orders, change shipping addresses, and make payments with on-demand assistance, your customers will enjoy a convenient and easy interaction with your company every time.
5. Predictive Personalization
AI-based programs can analyze a customer’s behaviors to tailor their buying journey. That means fewer hurdles and a smoother interaction every step of the way.
6. Data-backed Strategies
Collected data is analyzed not only to create a more finely tuned customer experience, but the data can also help identify opportunities for business processes and marketing strategies.
How to Put AI to Work in Your Business
Now that you know AI-based programs can help your business and your customers’ experience, it’s time to get to work. From understanding AI capabilities to slowly initiating your company into the AI arena, here are the first steps of your journey.
Get familiar with AI.
Learn what AI-based tools like chatbots and voice assistants can do for your business. You have a range of resources at your disposal, from online courses to reputable information outlets. Take advantage of the information available and get the ball rolling.
Here are three reputable resources to get you started:
- Udacity’s Intro to AI course is a great primer if you’re new to the AI concept.
- Forbes’ article on AI and small business provides a practical overview of how AI-based programs can benefit your company.
- The Ultimate Chatbot Guide dives deeper into AI-based programs and their impact on your bottom line.
Identify processes in your business where AI can help.
Once you’re up to speed on the basics, the next step is to determine which areas of your business could benefit from a dose of AI.
Consider existing services and products and identify where they could improve. Review customer feedback to identify pain points, talk to your customer service teams about their challenges, and otherwise uncover opportunities for improvement.
While understanding your company’s strengths and weaknesses is invaluable, it’s important to take a focused approach. You’ll want to develop specific use cases and assess the value of each. Start with this article on practical applications for AI in business to get the juices flowing.
Assess your investment.
Next, you need to assess the potential business and financial value of the AI opportunities you’ve identified. It’s easy to get lost in big-picture AI discussions rather than focus on how specific areas will benefit. Focus on near-term results and the projected financial value for your company to identify the wisest investments in AI.
Know your company’s limitations.
There could be a wider gap between what you want AI to accomplish and your company’s capabilities for implementing it. It’s important to know your limitations to determine if your company is ready to implement AI. Both from a technical and business standpoint, you may need to update or improve certain processes and hardware before you get going.
When you’re choosing your first AI project, keep your focus on improving a specific process. Start simple, use AI incrementally, collect data, and repeat. Your company will not only gain a better understanding of AI applications, but it will also lay the groundwork for integrating AI across your business.
Run a pilot project with expert guidance.
Once your company is ready for AI implementation, it’s time to start building and integrating. The most important factors are starting slowly, having goals and checkpoints in place, and being mindful of your company’s level of understanding regarding AI applications.
Guidance from outside experts at the pilot project stage can be invaluable. AI consultants can help get your project off the ground and provide relevant feedback for evaluating your efforts. Once you’ve completed the pilot project, you can turn your focus to larger, long-term projects with a better sense of their potential value.
It’s not a matter of if your company will benefit from AI-based programs for customer communications, it’s a matter of when. Chatbots, voice technology, and other AI-driven tools will continue to evolve and further improve the customer experience. Get on board now, learn the ropes and position your company to connect like never before with AI technology.
Take a look at the infographic from Chattermill below to learn more about how AI is changing customer experience:
Read more about chatbots & voice assistants:
- Conversational AI (Part 1) – What Is It & Where Are We At Today?
- Why Google Assistant Is Leading The Voice Assistant Race
Author Bio: Heidi Thiel is a writer and content creator based in New York City. When she isn’t covering business, tech, and leadership-focused articles, you can usually find her reading in a quiet corner or hanging out with her bearded dragon. You can take a look at more of Heidi’s work on the Chattermill blog.