The world of customer service has undergone great change and is now see as a strategic change agent for growth. But high-touch experiences come at a cost. As Harvard Business Review points out, buyer journeys are difficult to track. Your customer may be happy in the moment when they share feedback with your company—but what about the other hundreds of hours that they're spending with your product or service? And what about their experiences with your competitors? Very few organizations have the resources to give these questions the attention that they deserve. And the companies that are investing in monitoring customer experiences are likely making tradeoffs affecting other strategic areas of their operations.
Given the need in the market, more and more customer experience startups are popping up. So who are these startups and what are the latest technologies rethinking the customer experience? Let's take a look at AI, one of the areas of disruption for corporate innovation teams to watch.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will enable constant, direct lines of communication between companies at customers.
Customer service conversations through email, live chat, and social media aren't new. But conversations with machine-based agents are. Thanks to AI technologies, such as machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), companies will no longer need to rely on humans to provide support. Instead, they will be able to tackle customer pain points using programmable machines.
With assistance from robots, human support reps will be able to focus their time building relationships and solving tough-to-navigate problems. As a result, companies will have more resources and bandwidth to focus on growth: instead of getting bogged down with admin, workforces can spend their time developing messaging campaigns, building retention strategies, and writing help desk content. Companies will simultaneously optimize their costs and revenues.
DigitalGenius uses AI and NLP to help companies automate and semi-automate their customer support through email, social media, and mobile messaging.
The company recently partnered with BMW to support marketing and sales for two of their new vehicles: the fully electric BMW i3 and the plug-in hybrid BMW i8 sports car. BMW uses DigitalGenius to power its own software, BMW iGenius, which interacts with potential customers in a live question- and- answer format, across mobile, web, and social media platforms.
Users simply type in a question relating to the new vehicles and BMW will instantly respond. The software is capable of understanding each question and responding accurately every time, just as if the shopper was talking to an expert from the company. Consumers can ask questions about the car at any time of day, without the hassle of picking up the phone or walking into a dealership.
So what were the results?
In one campaign, BMW tracked an average response time of 1.2 seconds at a 99.5% accuracy rating. The platform was eventually able to get potential customers into the dealerships and into the seats of test-drive vehicles; in total, DigitialGenius scheduled hundreds of test drives.
Freshdesk creates versatile support and helpdesk software for companies that process inquiries at a high volume per day.
Customers come to Freshdesk when they've outgrown email as a platform to support communication and workflows with customers. Pearson, one of the largest publishing houses and education companies in the world, came to Freshdesk, for instance, after teams began feeling bogged down by existing workflows and tools. Without a systematized process to track, manage, and reply to customer inquiries, the publishing leader was wasting time.
Within minutes, the Pearson team was able to transfer all the emails coming into their existing customer support system into Freshdesk's platform. The startup added much needed automation capabilities to Pearson's workflow, making it possible to automatically send queries to the right person in time and to categorize, prioritize and assign every incoming support ticket with little to no manual work.
Thanks to these new technologies, customers will always rest assured that their needs are met—and companies can be confident that they're delivering their highest touch experiences possible. The key is to strike the right balance between people-power and technology: use AI to handle more predictable, routine operations, and employ human minds to assist with problem-solving.
It pays for companies to give their customers the red carpet. With new AI tech, the customer experience will drastically change and be more personalized.
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