Nearly half of U.S. employees say their company has embedded AI into their standard business processes, and more than half of employees fear that they’ll lose their jobs to advanced automation and robots. However, in the midst of the chatter around how AI may be taking jobs away, we’re neglecting a very important discussion: how can AI actually improve jobs?
This is a particularly necessary conversation for brands and marketers looking to use technology to boost sales or reduce customer churn, but what areas are important for brands to focus on when implementing AI and data analytics? The first place to look is your employees and customer service agents.
Half of consumers are driven to a purchasing decision based on customer experience (CX) rather than price or quality – proving the critical nature of CX. With nearly all (95%) employees believing that the employee experience (EX) affects the CX, it’s clear that boosting employee satisfaction through growth is an important way to improve the customer experience. But to bring the full value to the customer, brands must also focus on what consumers want in an experience.
Research shows that 71% of shoppers are frustrated when their experience is impersonal, but nearly half of shoppers have made an impulse purchase due to personalized CX, showing the value that personalization makes in the path to purchase. Despite advancements in automated customer service, 75% of consumers want more human interaction in the future, not less; 70% of consumers would rather speak to a human customer service representative than engage with a digital customer service rep or chatbot.
Let’s explore three ways that brands can use AI and data analytics to bring the human touch to life within the customer experience.
Improving Agents’ Personalization Skills
As ironic as it may sound, implementing technology can make people less robotic. Training and coaching is a critical component of improving agent skills, and AI is a great tool to help guide the strategy behind coaching. To successfully use this technology, a data scientist can train the AI algorithms to pick up patterns in language, tone, pace of conversation, sentiment and more that should be flagged to the agents for improvement. From there a human coach or manager can use that data to build a personalized training program to help the agent improve in the areas needed most. This may be a skill like empathy, which is critical in customer experience, or, it may be something more simple, such as the agent’s understanding of the product itself. In either case, improving those skills will positively change the outcome of a customer service call, benefiting the employee (agent), customer and the brand.
Automate the Right Parts of the Experience
As we’ve discussed, American consumers are looking for more human interaction in the future, rather than less, but this doesn’t mean we should use technology to automate any processes at all. The processes we choose to automate through technology such as AI and data analytics must just be the right ones. AI shouldn’t be used to fully replace human agents, but to direct customers to the right human agent the fastest and free up agents’ time to detail with more complex scenarios rather than smaller problems such as a lost package or forgotten password. For example, brands can implement AI into their CX platform by starting customers off with an interactive voice response system, integrating AI to recognize if the customer is becoming frustrated and sending them to an experienced agent to handle their problem. However, if the customer is looking for a simple solution, these interactive voice response systems can save the agent time that could be better spent on a customer with a more complex problem.
Use the Data to Your Advantage
Through customer service calls, emails, chats, etc., brands can uncover a trove of data that helps them improve products, CX, marketing and so much more. But without a human being to guide the algorithms to collect the right data and uncover the most helpful insights, the data is ultimately worthless. Data scientists are a crucial human element that brands should keep top of mind when implementing any form of AI into their business processes, whether in customer experience or another area within the organization. AI cannot simply pull the right data and improve its algorithms on its own; it’s important to invest in a data scientist that understands the goals and objectives of the organization and can provide strategies to improve the data collection. Furthermore, the data scientist must be ingrained in the business as a whole, and in any related partnerships, to fully understand how the data will impact the goals of a campaign. Creating an elevated CX is a critical aspect of a brand’s overall voice and path, and when using AI to guide a company in the right direction, we must first show the technology the way, and then trust it to uncover the insights we don’t always consider. With the right data in hand, brands can improve their customer experience, their product and even their goals.
While AI may be thought of as the enemy to employees who fear losing a job due to its involvement in their everyday work, it’s important, particularly in customer experience, that we are harnessing the powers of AI and data analytics, combined with the human perspective, to create the exceptional experiences that keep employees loyal to their job and customers loyal to a brand.