Artificial Intelligence

Q: What do consumers want? A: Seamless digital interactions

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Author: Brent Davids | IBM ANZ Business Development Executive & Customer Cognitive Care Leader

“Nothing is more frustrating than hearing that robotic voice on the other end of the phone line telling me I have progressed further in a queue that I didn’t even want to be in the first place.”

Brent DavidsToday’s customers demand quick, easy service and expect frictionless interactions with companies whenever wherever and however they want. In fact, 90% of consumers expect an organisation to offer a self-service customer support channel (McKinsey Global Industry Report, 2017). Research by IBM partners, such as LivePerson, have found that customers desire this self-service to be provided completely in digital channels. Conversely, if they can’t be provided with this or cannot find the answers they’re looking for with ease, they are quick to leave.

In our everyday personal and working lives, it seems messaging has long overtaken the phone-call as the favoured method of communication. As a society, we’re getting busier and the value we place on saving time is ever increasing. So whether we need to contact our work colleagues, family members or make a reservation at our local restaurant, sending a message has become the quickest and most convenient method. It is with this in mind that businesses should seriously consider asynchronous chat as one of the primary means of providing customer service to their customers. If they don’t, they risk becoming irrelevant to their consumers.

“8 out of 10 customers will choose messaging as the preferred method of communication over calling when contacting a call centre.”

(Robert Locascio, CEO LivePerson)

Messaging iconsThe most efficient and easily adopted method of messaging is asynchronous chat. Companies who adopt this method have the advantage of not having to constrain their customers to be bound to a ‘’session’’ – as you would typically experience with the online chat capability or the dreaded voice call centre queue. Moreover, a typical ‘’session’’ has a distinctive start and end. If your customer has any further questions after the end, they will need to start another session. This ultimately results in all details and information from the previous session to be lost. By contrast, asynchronous messaging allows you to have a continuous discussion. Your customer’s questions are visible in the context of the entire discussion, rather than just small chunks of it. This allows for organisations to better digest their customer’s issues or questions, provide them with an accurate answer and decreases the need for frustrating back and forth chatter.

What Consumers Need: AI

The capability of AI provides the opportunity to set leaders apart from their competitors, especially when it comes to the customer service experience.

When the service of asynchronous chat is combined with a layer of AI, customers can receive an immediate response notifying them when they will receive an answer to their question. Your customer will no longer have to wait for extended periods of time waiting for an answer. They can walk away from their message, get on with their day and return when it suits them– no queues here!

Moreover, contact centres can learn from these digital interactions. Over time, the company can gather data, identify previously made questions, answers and responses. By continuously learning with each new data input, your company can better understand and therefore service their customers.

Making a judgement on someone within the first 7 seconds of meeting them is a pervasive part of human nature. A similar rule can be applied in business, so first impressions with a client are critical in determining whether repeat contact or transactions will occur. AI chat bots can mimic how humans work – they are emotionally intelligent, can understand another person’s emotion, tone and sentiment and respond within this context appropriately. They process information quickly and are able to respond to customers accurately, with versatility, scalability and availability 24/7 to ensure a positive first impression.

Messages have become the channel of choice in every aspect of our lives. It’s an obvious choice for businesses to adapt to this trend. Yet when combined with the power of AI, early adopters will gain a distinctive edge over their competitors. They will learn more efficiently, effectively and better understand the needs of their client through an easier and more enjoyable customer-centric experience. Cognitive Customer Care offers this competitive, customer-centric experience. Find out more here (PDF, 108KB).

Author: Brent Davids | IBM ANZ Business Development Executive & Customer Cognitive Care Leader

Contribution by: Madeleine Kinchington | IBM Marketing & Communications Intern

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