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Real-Time AI: A Necessity for Great Customer Experiences

5 minute read
Phil Britt avatar
As artificial intelligence continues to grow more powerful, its role in customer experience grows too.

A 2022 Talkdesk research report found that 85% of CX professionals recognize the importance of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation and the risks of not leveraging them — with 52% citing risks to customer satisfaction and 48% citing potential losses in productivity.

The report, released in the last half of July, found that leading organizations using AI and automation are gaining a competitive edge. To reap the benefits and avoid being left behind, 79% of CX professionals said their company planned to increase investments in the year ahead.

While AI installations have slowed somewhat due to challenges in leadership vision, security and talent gaps, many companies that have moved forward with the technology are using it to improve customer experience. Below are four ways they are doing so.

1. Improve Agent-Assisted Interactions

Organizations are leveraging AI to improve CX in real-time for agent-assisted interactions, said D. Daniel Ziv, Verint vice president of speech and text analytics, global product strategy.

“Advanced AI is employed to listen to customer calls as they happen and automatically identify opportunities to guide interactions toward better outcomes,” he explained. “This can identify a variety of agent coaching opportunities and offer immediate advice to the agent regarding knowledge, empathy and compliance.”

For example, Turkey-based DenizBank used AI technologies to assist agents who had gone remote during the pandemic, according to Ziv.  The technology provides in-the-moment contextual guidance to help novice agents learn on the job and give veteran agents confidence in their job skills and knowledge.

“AI also autoscores up to 100 percent of interactions — voice and digital — for greater quality and compliance,” said Ziv. “The application of AI and automation to understand and prescribe actions to improve customer satisfaction and agent performance while the interaction is in flight is vital in an era when agents are working remotely without the benefits of a supervisor nearby, and as agent-assisted interactions are often more complex and may involve helping frustrated customers following failed self-service attempts.”

By leveraging AI to improve CX in real-time, DenizBank has seen a more than 20% increase in customer satisfaction over a three-month period.

Related Article: 3 Key Benefits of AI in the Call Center

2. Decrease Employee Attrition

Workforce training is the first step in enhancing CX through AI, according to Assaf Melochna, Aquant president and co-founder.

“What’s more important than understanding your customer? Understanding your workforce,” Melochna said. “Data that identifies specific workers who need training is just as important as data that provides insight into customer behavior.

Companies that want to stay ahead of the competition should ensure all of their employees, especially customer-facing ones, have the knowledge and tools they need to make the right decisions and achieve business goals, according to Melochna.

Three-quarters of companies have difficulty filling positions, he added. “The trick lies in leveraging the right AI-driven tools that have the ability to take the knowledge of a company’s most successful people and mine that data with any additional information that less experienced workers will need in order to deliver exceptional service.”

For example, technicians at a global medical technology company were suffering from high employee attrition and failing service-level solutions, resulting in record low customer satisfaction and employee scores from customers around 40%, Melochna said.

After investing in technological and AI-powered solutions, the company saw a huge improvement in employee service, with service-level agreement commitments and employee scores (from customers) nearly doubling.

3. Enhance Customer Satisfaction

“With customer frustration continuing to increase due to irrelevant options presented by an IVR (interactive voice response), it’s becoming clearer that Americans prefer conversational voice AI over automated bot interactions,” said Sourabh Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Skit.ai.

Learning Opportunities

According to Gupta, AI can hold real conversations with easy-to-understand responses. With this technology, brands can resolve customer service claims quickly and free up employee time — all while driving up customer satisfaction rates.

AI also allows an optimal channel strategy for customer service interaction, Gupta said. Companies have realized that multi-channel or omnichannel strategy has failed to live up to the expectations of improving CX because having different customer segments limits the perplexity of customer concerns into one category when it very well could be multi-faceted. Conversational AI, however, is much more effective and interactive than a “Press 1 for X, Press 2 for Y” model.

Related Article: Powering Customer Experience Through Conversational AI, Analytics and Good Data

4. Deliver Better Personalized Experiences

Customer-obsessed organizations are constantly looking for ways to improve CX by becoming more personalized. But personalizing CX requires the ability to listen to and respond to customers in real-time, which few companies have mastered, said Andrea Polonioli, Coveo AI commerce product marketing lead.

“Consider product recommendations,” said Polonioli. “Customers love them. McKinsey’s conversion research found that recommendations drive 35% of what consumers purchase on Amazon. But most websites still rely on collaborative filtering techniques, which use streams of historical customer data to deliver recommendations.”

Developments in Deep Learning have now finally made it possible to offer one-to-one personalized recommendations in real-time, Polonioli added.

“Session-based recommendations provide personalized recommendations by understanding visitor intent based on interactions observed in an ongoing session and analyzing behavior in real-time,” he explained.

“For example, imagine I’ve searched for some golf pants on an ecommerce website, which I’ve promptly added to my cart. Session-based recommenders may start providing me with golf-related items automatically. This is a game-changer that helps digital players leverage cutting-edge AI to serve experiences tailored to customer intent in real-time.”

Final Thoughts

AI will continue to grow in importance in improving CX in a variety of ways, according to Frost & Sullivan.

“AI technologies have had a significant impact on the breadth and richness of contact center portfolios, deepening analytics capabilities, broadening self-service options, enabling process automation and bringing intelligence to performance and workforce management,” the research firm said in the blog post.

“These robust portfolios help companies reach their CX objectives, notwithstanding the growing volume of demands from customers.”Cloud-based AI, they added, will deepen the CX-related benefits of AI. This technology will enable firms to build on the four strategies above and expand in other CX-related areas.