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Using Artificial Intelligence to build a great future for CX

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

AI is already here and it’s revolutionising the way businesses manage their data to transform the customer experience (CX).  Henry Jinman, Commercial Director at EBI.AI, says it pays to tread with caution, despite all the success stories and shares his top 3 Tips for before you begin…

No longer confined to the realms of science fiction, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here and companies are waking up to the potential of machine learning to push the boundaries of customer interactions and drive effective CX strategies.  The truth is AI is totally revolutionising our approach to data through its amazing ability to capture, process and analyse masses of unstructured data across the business.  By automating customer contact management, data recording and analysis processes, AI can readily identify patterns of consumer behaviour that give contact centres and customer service operations a new competitive edge.  With vital customer intelligence at their fingertips, frontline staff are able to push out targeted sales content, pre-empt what customers will purchase in the future and predict their loyalty and value to the business.   

Here are just two real-life success stories to prove it.  Royal Bank of Scotland manages 17 million customers but managed to raise its Net Promotor Score by 18 points unanimously after deploying AI while US telecommunications giant Sprint achieved a 14% increase in customer retention in just six months, simultaneously overcoming an industry-high in turnover rates.

The beauty of Artificial Intelligence is that it is truly democratic.  The wonders of the Cloud mean it is readily available and accessible to all sizes of enterprise.  Now is the time to consider what AI can do for customer service in your organisation but stop before leaping in.  Learn from those who have already gone through the process and follow a few simple guidelines to ensure a successful AI implementation that optimises CX and futureproofs customer loyalty.

Three things to do before you begin

  1. Learn from the past – the major lesson is to tread carefully.  As with all new technologies, instinct tells us to rush in for fear of being left behind the competition or because we believe the latest innovation will be an instant cure-all for everything.  Think back 20 years to when the new mobile, Internet-enabled generation first grabbed the headlines.  Unfortunately, the marketing hype caused a lot of grief with businesses investing in technology that their customers just weren’t ready for!  Similarly, many organisations today deploy AI without really understanding how it is going to benefit their customers or the business.  Instead, businesses should take an inclusive strategy to adopting AI with the emphasis on customer needs and outcomes.
  2. Draw inspiration from real-life successes – EBI.AI has seen first-hand how AI is transforming customer service.  Take Get Living, the largest operator in the UK’s build-to-rent sector.  The company is providing a seamless move-in experience for 500 new homes at the former London 2012 Olympics Athletes’ Village with the help of a virtual AI assistant based on Google Home.  The Get Living Assistant helps people settle in to their new home, from letting them know where they can buy groceries down to giving instructions on how to use their induction hob.  The more residents use the bot, the smarter it becomes while special feedback functionality is crucial to understanding residents’ needs so that Get Living can continually improve its personal service and rental offer.
  3. Get it right first time around – by following a few simple rules:
  • Involve the right people from the very beginning so that when frustration strikes, you’ll have allies who are incentivised to make your AI project successful.
    Avoid over-expectations by educating stakeholders about the limitations of AI technology, explaining what it is and what it isn’t.  Be realistic when sharing  timeframes for results – machine-learning takes time to perfect!
  • Have a plan, start small and don’t go beyond your organisation’s capabilities.
  • Take time to assess the marketplace – engage with experts who understand the complexities of AI but are energised to find creative ways of realising its potential for great customer service.
  • Put data at the heart of AI design.  To build an effective bot, you need access to relevant customer data and you need to train the bot to answer the questions that really matter to customers.

What does the future of AI look like?
The predictive qualities of AI will create a world of augmented intelligence not just artificial intelligence.  Blending AI into their CX platform, organisations will be able to react in real-time with the next best action regardless of how customers engage or where they are on the brand journey.

What is more, as AI enhances rather than replaces human beings, companies should expect to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship between man and machine that adds a completely new dimension to the customer experience.

Artificial Intelligence: friend or foe? Seven ways to turn your agents into superheroes

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Far from replacing people, artificial intelligence (AI) has the power to enhance employee engagement and productivity and customer interactions in one go. Henry Jinman, Commercial Director of EBI.AI, explores 7 ways to turn your contact centre agents into superheroes using conversational AI.

New technology inevitably changes lives. However, rather than fear robots replacing front line customer service representatives it’s time to think differently and embrace automation to elevate the status of the contact centre agents and make their jobs more engaging.  

The aim of AI isn’t to replace people with robots.  As former Oracle director Paul Reader said, “Automation is not the future, human augmentation is.”[i]  From contact centres to factories, AI tools such as bots can reduce costs and increase team efficiency in a matter of months. Automation can be a game changer for customercommunication and overall job satisfaction. 

Change the mindset, starting with your people and AI will soon become a friend, not a foe. View this technology as the strategic enabler of employee productivity and satisfaction and see service levels, customer loyalty and profits soar.    

7 ways to turn your agents into superheroes

Use the latest AI technology to hasten your path to agent superstardom: 

1.    Eliminate the mundane – AI liberates agents by taking away the repetitive or mundane tasks, leaving them free to enjoy the challenge of tackling complex or emotionally sensitive calls that only humans can handle. 

It’s a smart move – by elevating the role of agents, you give them the career they deserve and in motivating them to train and hone their skills, they soon become the superheroes that every contact centre leader wants on their side.

2.    Build caller context – this can take many forms, for example a bot sitting on the front of an IVR menu asking preliminary questions while the customer is waiting or  analysing previous customer conversations to build caller profiles. This gives live agents the valuable intelligence they need to answer customerqueries with greater speed and efficiency when a call is transferred to them from their virtual colleagues.  The latest AI tools can even identify sentiment and notify the agent of a customer’s emotional state of mind.  Depending on the outcome of an interaction bots can direct the call to the best-skilled available agent at the appropriate moment.  

3.    Provide a warm handover – using Natural Language Processing (NLP), AI can understand the initial query and so provide a warm handover to a live agent who already knows what the person is calling about and doesn’t have to ask any unnecessary questions, one of the biggest irritations for customers.

4.    Good memory, good rapport – today’s AI tools are so sophisticated that they can measure customersatisfaction levels based on tone of voice and vocabulary. They speedily recognise repeat callers from voice and then use this intelligence to flag up pertinent information to customer service agents and alert managers to recurring issues that require multiple repeat calls.  Memorising the customer experience based on historical evidence drives proactive call resolution and builds customer trust.

5.   Deliver your best ever service – all forms of AI technology such as bots perform like the model employee – they never get tired, are never sick and because they don’t suffer from emotions, never have a bad day and they don’t need holidays!   Always predictable, they offer customers a great, consistent service any time of day or night and there’s no limit to the number of users one bot  can talk to at once. No matter how many people are already talking to it, yours can answer them right away in natural language – leading to lifelong, positive customer relationships.  Meanwhile, agents benefit from additional time to deal with more difficult and complex cases that only humans can handle or can even ask bots for advice on how to respond.  

6.   Humans and bots in harmony – when AI works hand in hand with the live agent team, contact centres benefit from all the perks of a human workforce plus the consistency of artificial intelligence to boost first call resolution for enhanced customer experience (CX).   

7.   Agent assistance – help new agents hit the ground running and become super     heroes in a matter of days.  The beauty of AI is that it acts as an agent’s personal assistant.  Let new joiners ask questions and allow experienced agents to share their customer success stories with an agent assistant to increase the company knowledge pool.  Agents can even ask the bot questions while in conversation with a customer to deliver fast, efficient responses.  

It’s time to embrace AI as a friend. AI is here to stay and it’s set to revolutionise the way businesses interact with their customers.  Start by turning your agents into superheroes.

[i]https://www.raconteur.net/technology/ai-human-augmentation