By Simon Black, CEO, Awaken
The world in which we now live and work is truly global and as such many companies need to communicate with customers across multiple languages. The inability to converse with customers in a common language presents barriers for many businesses. And while it may seem like a huge ask to address this need the technology now exists to make it possible to communicate with customers no matter where they are and no matter their local language. Now is the time to create a frictionless customer experience (CX).
Quite often you’ll find that the customer contact centre is at the heart of any company’s customer services. It’s usually the first point of call for customer queries so it’s important to make sure that the communication is as mutually understandable as possible between the agent and the customer. Afterall customers’ experiences are the life blood of your business. It only takes one good or bad experience to make or break a relationship and in today’s world of over-sharing customers are likely to recommend or complain about your business, products or service across their social channels, within minutes.
According to Reputation Refinery a customer who is dissatisfied will tell 9-15 people about their bad experience with negative interactions spreading to two times as many people as positive interactions. But do not fear, there’s good news. Throw Artificial Intelligence (AI) into this mix and, as a recent survey by PointSource highlighted, 49% of customers are willing to shop more often when AI is present. Furthermore 34% of customers will spend more money, and 38% will share their experiences with friends and family. Essentially, AI makes people shop more, spend more and share more. So, with today’s technology there is every reason and every opportunity to get the customer experience right.
According to IDC, $13.9B was invested into CX-focused Artificial Intelligence (AI) and $42.7B in CX-focused Big Data and analytics during 2019, with both expected to grow to $90B in 2022. You don’t need much more of an argument that now might be the time to look at how AI can support and enhance the experiences of your customers.
Back to the supposed language barrier. We’ve worked with many organisations and several online retailers, using AI, to automatically translate languages on the fly. This means a customer can communicate in French (or any other language), and then the text or voice is translated in real-time into the local contact centre agent’s own language so that he/she can understand and respond appropriately. The subsequent communication is then translated back into the local language of that particular customer again. The ability to respond in real-time is transformative. Being able to quickly respond to customers in their own language (not yours) and not have to rely on basic manual translation tools means that you’re creating a truly frictionless experience for your customers.
Furthermore, being able to understand the conversations taking place across your entire omnichannel is crucial. With AI you can instantly pick up on the tone and sentiment of conversations taking place which helps to better inform your contact centre agents and enables them to predict the journey of that particular customer conversation, adapting their responses and behaviours appropriately and immediately.
Not only does this approach help to improve the customer experience during a live engagement but it will also help you to identify areas where you need to better communicate and share information with customers online, perhaps via your website, for example. We now have the ability to dynamically change the customer journey as it happens. The call or text can be analysed straight away, within seconds, so your agent can respond and adapt without interrupting the flow of conversation all the while improving the customer experience. AI enables us to give the right information at the right time to help provide a seamless and smooth customer experience.
Addressing language and translation barriers is an absolute must for businesses operating across multiple and diverse geographies. But once that’s dealt with you need to look at what else can be achieved with AI. For example, we recently worked with an online retailer that had introduced a variety of new services to improve their customer journey yet they couldn’t assess whether these services were being utilised by customers and improving their experience or detracting from it. They weren’t getting any feedback whatsoever. Thanks to AI we were able to quickly build in a voice analytics solution that analysed both voice or text communications and could pick up on feedback, whether positive or negative. For example, ApplePay had been introduced but they didn’t know how customers felt about it and if they liked paying that way. With voice analytics we enabled the business to assess their customers’ emotions and experiences and therefore make informed decisions on which services were working well and other areas that needed improvement.
AI and voice analytics are proving crucial tools in delivering a better customer experience and being able to measure what is or is not working. It’s also important to remember that communications are two way and that it’s not just about how the customer is communicating with your business but also how your team are responding to those customers. Analysing both sides of the engagement will help you to fine tune customer engagement further.
AI can help you to recognise if there’s a problem brewing and that some of your people may need your support beyond that of screen prompts. As we all know, if you have a happy and well-informed team, you’ll have happy customers.