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How Automation and AI Can Enhance Customer Experience


Across all industries, most successful companies now rely on artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline their operations. For example, the automation of business processes has enabled companies to perform more tasks in less time, resulting in lower labor costs, increased output, and higher profit margins. At the same time, machine learning and AI-driven analytics have made it possible for organizations to make more informed and effective marketing decisions based on high-level insights pulled from data.

But automation and AI can also be used to enhance how a company performs its services. This is especially true when it comes to customer experience (CX). From AI-powered chatbots that sound and behave like real people to highly personalized content and product recommendations, artificial intelligence is helping businesses and brands level up the quality of their CX.

Here are just a few ways AI and automation can enhance your company's customer service and personalization strategies.

Conversational AI

Today's AI-powered chatbots are nothing like the stilted communicators from 20 years ago. The capabilities of those largely ineffectual (and annoying) bots were extremely limited because they could only have conversations that were scripted.

Thanks to modern AI applications such as machine learning (ML), natural language understanding (NLU), and natural language generation (NLG), chatbots are now capable of "understanding" the context and intent of customer queries, and can generate appropriate responses on their own. This results in a more effective, human-sounding communication that improves how consumers experience and perceive a brand.

63 percent of people don't know when they're using AI-driven services like chatbots.
- HubSpot

One obvious benefit of a chatbot is the fact that it's available to answer customer queries 24 hours a day. But it can also be helpful during working hours by freeing up service reps to focus on complex customer service issues that only a human can address. AI chatbots can determine when a question or request requires the attention of an actual human being and can pass the message on to a live agent. So, in addition providing support when live help is unavailable, chatbots can improve the productivity of customer service agents while they are working.

AI chatbots can also respond to multiple users simultaneously, dramatically shortening response time. This is key when it comes to providing quality customer service — according to HubSpot, more than 50 percent of consumers say they are most frustrated by slow response times and waiting on hold. And nearly all the consumers surveyed (90 percent) say getting an immediate response to a customer-service question is "important" or "very important."

AI chatbots can also help improve CX by:

  • Greeting customers and answering frequently asked questions
  • Handling a larger volume of requests without having to invest in additional headcount
  • Providing context to live agents by pre-qualifying leads
  • Analyzing customer data to provide instant insights and recommendations

Next-Level Personalization

AI makes it easier than ever to provide customers with the high levels of personalization they've come to expect from their shopping experiences. AI-powered recommendation systems, for example, use machine learning to identify patterns in consumer behavior data and predict what shoppers might want to buy next.

Even if a visitor has never made a purchase on a site, these algorithms can suggest relevant products by collecting and analyzing other key data points, such as previous communications, pages viewed, and demographic and psychographic info.

91 percent of shoppers say they're more likely to buy from a brand that provides personalized recommendations and offers.

AI is also becoming essential for delivering high-quality omnichannel experiences, which is a must in today's multichannel marketing landscape — in addition to relevancy, consumers expect a seamless customer journey from beginning to end. Chatbots and other AI-powered tools use machine learning to help create consistency across channels by adopting and applying brand voice and tone. These tools can also be used to track customer interactions across all touchpoints to ensure a smooth and cohesive omnichannel shopping experience.

Customer Retention

AI can also be a powerful tool for reducing churn by identifying customer pain points so they can be addressed preemptively. For example, based on the analysis of buying and behavioral patterns, AI-powered programs can flag unhappy customers early in the game, giving you the chance to target them with loyalty points and other retention strategies.

There are also fully automated customer retention platforms that use AI to predict when a consumer may be about to abandon or cancel an order and provide enticing incentives at just the right time. Thanks to machine learning, these platforms can also determine which types of offers are most appealing to specific customers and personalize the promos to make them even more enticing.

AI Is Essential for Superior CX

99 percent of Fortune 1000 companies actively invest in AI.
- NewVantage Partners

AI is constantly evolving in leaps and bounds, and it's changing the customer experience landscape in the process. Brands and businesses that leverage this powerful technology to improve their personalization and customer service strategies are most likely to remain on top. That's because delivering winning CX not only requires detailed, data-based knowledge of your customers — it also depends on your ability to predict consumer behavior and take proactive measures while maintaining scale.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Jay Kulkarni is the founder and CEO at Theorem.