A recent study by Olive Communications found that 60% of consumers place a higher degree of importance on customer experience than anything else when purchasing goods.
Despite this, according to Nick Beardsley, Enterprise Director at Olive Communications, most organisations today still have no successful digital strategy in place, confusing multi-channel with omni-channel, or those that are embracing AI are merely scratching the surface of its potential to transform customer service.
In this piece, Nick discusses how having a clear digital strategy and omni-channel solution at the core, overlaid with AI is the real gamechanger to customer service.
How AI is changing the CX Landscape
The CX landscape has changed forever and customer experience is everything. Customers today expect to be able to connect whenever and however they choose, and at their convenience. Matters need to be resolved simply and quickly and providers have high expectations to meet. This means understanding exactly what their customers want as individuals, and the ability to be able to deliver a consistent customer experience across all touch points.
As consumers we expect as a minimum the best price, value, and convenience. We want to be able to engage with service provider’s whenever and however, using our preferred communications channels. More than anything we expect to be loved. But get this right as a business and excellent customer service and CX can be a powerful differentiator, bringing real value.
To meet today’s customer expectations, service providers must provide a meaningful and consistent experience that delivers across all channels. And AI is fundamental to that.
AI holds the keys to the kingdom of meaningful customer service. But in the contact centre, AI is about so much more than chatbots, as companies often mistake. AI allows businesses to scale. AI is a gamechanger.
Yorkshire Building Society is a great example of an organisation that uses AI to truly understand its community. As well as evolving its customer service technology, YBS worked with Olive to harness AI capabilities to put the customer at the forefront, taking time to understand what its community wanted and needed. For example, AI enabled insights identified that YBS members preferred to control hold music, some choosing to turn it off entirely. And YBS realised that by putting customers at the heart, means happier customers, which in turn means a happier business.
How to deliver a seamless experience
So how can organisations meet today’s consumers’ demand for convenience? The answer lies in having a consistent and seamless customer experience within an omni-channel strategy – but a layer of AI is key.
The majority of businesses still lack a unified contact centre system. Many still rely on a disjointed, multi-channel customer service system which means repetition, each time customers having to start a new journey. This not only fails to meet expectations but can often be detrimental.
Having a unified system powered by AI means organisations are better informed and more empowered to address the needs of customers and their experience.
Ask yourself what do your customers want? Be in their shoes. Then you can start to plan the customer strategy. Take the time to understand your customer as it will bring dividends.
The Art of the Possible
AI unlocks the ‘art of the possible’ it’s true capabilities, potential and power to deliver excellent customer service within the contact centre – based on the following four value opportunities: –
Personalisation – the customer journey is dynamic with ever changing behaviours. CX is no longer about serving the average customers but the individual. AI can deliver valuable outcomes through harnessing its powerful analytical elements. Today we are only just scratching the surface on what it has the potential to deliver on. AI feeds on data to enable the provision of truly personalised customer interactions. Though harnessing data we have the ability to analyse data from plethora of sources, giving us highly valuable customer information at our fingertips and deliver a more individual, personalised service that customers have come to expect.
Faster than real-time customer service – AI solves problems before they arise for a more proactive, rather than reactive, customer service.
Unparalleled personalisation – AI gets to know customer preferences, their intent and context providing the capabilities to offer a much more personalised, but also simple and straightforward service. Agents too, benefit – an omni-channel overlaid with AI is a win-win for agents, relieving them of routine tasks to focus on more complex interactions that are more challenging, specialised and might require a degree of empathy or emotion. This in turn increases the value of the agent, enhancing motivation and engagement. A recent study by Olive found that over half (51%) of operators in an AI enabled environment are more motivated and engaged with nearly a quarter (22%) feeling greater job satisfaction.
With AI as catalyst, the role of the contact centre agent is changing, as the traditional contact centre becomes a central power hub, powered by AI and Machine Learning. The agents of today and the future are vital to business success; empowered by customer insight and highly focused on delivering brilliant customer service.
The successes of tomorrow are those organisations that fully embrace digital transformation to enhance their customer journey and experience. Don’t get left behind.
About the Author
Nick Beardsley is Enterprise Director at Olive Communications, the UK’s fastest-growing provider of unified communications and managed cloud solutions to high-growth SME and enterprise businesses.
Nick is an industry expert in developing transformative growth strategies for some of the UK’s best-known brands, both nationally and internationally. Focused on streamlining business operations, cost optimisation and driving cultural change in the modern workplace, he places an ultimate focus on delivering tangible customer service and experience improvements.