No two human personalities are alike, and no two experiences are the same and no two brands could do it the same.
Your customer’s experience, whether buying, engaging with the service, after-sales care, problem-solving, or conflict resolution management will impact how they feel about your brand, therefore affecting their willingness to engage with it in the long term.
Understanding what customers want
Bad experience is driving customers away—fast. Research by PwC suggested that one in three customers say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.
Customers want to be heard and understood, and they want to feel special in their experience with the brand. Speed, convenience, consistency, and friendliness, are what makes an experience a good one. And there’s one big connector, which is to create real connections through human touch, and this can be done using technology.
Done right, technology can help companies create phenomenal customer experiences and reap the resulting benefits: 82% of the top-performing companies report paying close attention to the human experience around digital and tech. More and more businesses are using AI and automation in customer service to improve support without sacrificing too many resources, but how does it really work?
AI and automation in customer service
AI can support customers by guiding them and answering any questions or requests throughout their customer journey. It can be in the forms of customer support chatbots, customer self-service, machine learning to analyze customer data, natural language processing for voice recognition and support, and many more. Using AI in customer service is effective for the business as it minimises the need of hiring a lot of human agents, but it also benefits the human agents themselves as they have a greater support system that they can share their workload with. AI can assist in solving fundamental problems while the agents can focus on complicated cases that require human knowledge, empathy, and attention.
As AI technologies are getting more advanced, it can collect relevant data about customers and improve customer satisfaction. They can also tailor to personalised and targeted support and offer multilingual support that will certainly make the interaction feels more personal.
At the end of the day, all customers want their enquiries and complaints to be responded to ASAP. According to HelpShift, a streamlined support system, 37% prefer an immediate response from a chatbot rather than waiting three minutes for human assistance. By using AI and automation as simple as chatbots or talking heads, customers don’t need to call the customer service line and stay on hold for hours, significantly improving the company’s aftersales service and increasing their goodwill. According to a recent report by Accenture, AI has the potential to increase corporate profitability by an average of 38% by 2035.
Not all AIs are the same
If you’re reading up until here, it means that you’ve been (or sort of been) convinced to incorporate AI into your next customer journey strategy. However, it is important to note that not all customers might fully accept the fact that they might be talking to a non-human customer support agent. In a recent survey, some respondents admitted that they find it difficult to feel a connection with a non-realistic agent, leading to lack of willingness to engage in interaction.
In other words, audiences prefer to interact with virtual spokespersons who look more like human beings to compensate for the lack of connection caused by their virtual nature. Now, the objective is how to make customers feel less like they’re interacting with a trustworthy human instead of an institution. After all, they are used to talking to humans in assistant roles, therefore it would be best to preserve as much of that experience as possible. Therefore, putting a human face on the AI (aka digital humans) can make the interaction feel more comfortable, natural, and conversational.
To deploy digital humans, personalised empathy is a key feature that they need to have to make the whole process more holistic. One of the best use cases of empathy in digital humans is in the field of healthcare. Constantly caring for a large number of patients can lead to burn-out for medical practitioners and compromising the quality of care. However, emotionally intelligent digital humans can eliminate the cognitive biases and use personalised empathy to care for all patients without feeling burned-out. They can be the middle-man between doctors, nurses, and their patients, also work closely with them to gather information, refine treatment plans, and engage in day-to-day care.
Another example, business operations have many areas that require some demonstration of empathy. The experience of talking to an empathetic digital human can be a lot more personal, it can present scripted responses with a certain tone based on conversational AI programming embedded in it after understanding the emotion the customer is displaying. They can detect a customer’s frustration, sadness, happiness, and act accordingly.
People might buy because of the product or the brand ambassador, but they will stay because of the positive experience they had. For that reason, it is of the utmost importance in today’s competitive market to be the leader in terms of prioritising customer experience. This makes the fundamentals of the AI market sturdy and the demand for conversational AI is strong. Market researcher Grand View pegged the global conversational AI market value at US$6.18 billion in 2021, with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.6% through to 2030. Grand View expects rising demand for AI-based customer support alongside reduced customer service AI development costs would drive this growth.