As the world continues to change and shape around COVID-19, thoughts have turned towards what happens next on a business level. Some offices have started to reopen whereas other remain tightly locked down for the foreseeable in a semi-permanent position of working from home. Among all the change businesses have embraced new tools to maintain all-important customer conversations. We wonder if AI has proven itself too invaluable to let go…

New processes, new benefits

When countries around the world went into lockdown and workers were asked to carry out their jobs remotely, businesses were faced with making some of the biggest operational changes seen to date, with almost no warning, often very little experience of the new systems and processes that were being adopted. Managers had to move quickly to get their teams set up for working from home. Processes and procedures had to be rewritten. And new technology had to be found and deployed. Amid this unprecedented situation, Cloud-based solutions began to make their presence felt, and AI stepped in to plug a gap.

The AI solution

Maintaining positive relationships with customers has long been the goal for all businesses and relying on ‘robots’ no doubt felt like the antithesis to this. When customers have needed reassurance, with every facet of their lives turned on its head and anxiety levels increased across the board, the human touch has been vital. For businesses wanting to treat every customer like a human being rather than a number in a call queue, AI may not have been the first consideration.

However, over these last six months, the new kids on the AI block has no doubt proven itself a worthy support, offering the ability to build and tailor personalized customer interactions and harnesses a brand’s voice and personality. Businesses have come to see that AI can ensure that all-important personal touch, while bolstering brand recognition and trust that is so vital for today’s consumer.

AI technology has advanced in the past few years and whilst some managers may have initially sought a way to simply manage workflows and hold call queues, the sheer omnichannel capabilities of modern cloud-based and hybrid solutions will have no doubt been something of a revelation.

Omnichannel AI

AI technology can also offer increased insight to customer conversations, making it easier for businesses to deploy a truly omnichannel experience that is based entirely on the customer’s needs.

Every time a customer makes contact, in-built analytics kick in and begin gathering data about every interaction. This, in turn, allows for tweaks and additions to be made to automated responses, or for new FAQ answers to be spun up into the system.

Furthermore, technologies like Messenger and WhatsApp are also now being used widely by businesses looking to provide instantaneous answers to frequently asked questions using AI and sentiment analysis. A customer types in a query, the AI technology scans the content of the message to determine what the customer needs to know, and a reply goes back to the customer giving them all the information they need. A quick resolution for the customer and positive brand experience.

Automating first contact resolution

The goal of AI systems is to ensure first contact resolution (FCR) virtually for as many customers as possible. Amid the coronavirus crisis, getting as many queries as possible answered became the Holy Grail for customer facing departments. In many ways, offering self-service customer service through AI tools actually boosted business productivity and it’s hard to imagine this being forgotten as we emerge from lockdown. Surely the use of such technology presents a more productive way forward as businesses move to adapt to a ‘new normal’.

 

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