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Joining up the dots with conversational artificial intelligence

(Image credit: Image Credit: Razum / Shutterstock)

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for years and is evolving at an exponential rate and predicted to explode. Gartner estimates that by 2022, 30% of customer service experiences will be handled by conversational agents. Consumers now expect outstanding customer service and companies should develop strategies to harness the power of AI to digitally transform and automate core services.

Many companies attempt to be innovators and deploy AI without a strategy, therefore the project is often set to fail from start. As with introducing any new technology into your business, it is essential that you plan a strategy from the offset to understand what you want to achieve with AI, and how to go about it. 

Strategy is Key

A Solution Provider who is experienced in real time applications and systems integration will be able to work closely with you to discover your needs and requirements. Helping you put together a technology road map and strategy to solve business problems transforming processes and improving customer service.

When deploying AI – virtual digital assistants into the contact centre, it is advisable to have a comprehensive CRM and multi-media contact centre strategy as part of your overall digital transformation process. 

They will ascertain what objectives you want your digital assistant to achieve, whether it’s to generate a sales lead or answer and process a customer service enquiry. Then to look at the next level on how the digital assistant will interact with the contact centre agents and the wider organisation if required. Once you have covered the objectives that you want to achieve and the processes required to set up, you can decide on the look and feel, conversational tone and content that you want to show.

Your Star Employee

A virtual digital assistant has endless ability to self-learn whether that’s to learn the content from your website and or from customer conversations that take place in webchat. They also have the ability to recognise and pre-empt the needs of customers during similar interactions in the future.

They can be programmed to produce answers to questions and resolve issues by completing web forms during conversations. When the customer wants to speak to a human they can be transferred to a customer service agent when necessary.

It is advisable to make the digital virtual assistant, the first point of contact for website users because often the initial stage is customers information gathering or requesting answers to basic questions. This enables contact centre agents to focus on complex enquiries handing over information sourcing to the digital assistant.

Improving customer service as they are asking to get the information they require faster. Also, it helps eliminates high form abandonment on busy websites and for those who are looking to deploy an extremely efficient web chat in response to rising demand for self-service and one-touch communication channels.  

Leading with AI

Industries such as retail and travel have started to embrace the technology and reap the benefits. Britannic Technologies provides a conversational artificial intelligence solution called Ami that has already helped companies like Cruise 1st to boost profit by 47%. Ami reads the Cruise 1st website in real time and independently decides how to use the knowledge to respond to enquiries and achieve predefined business goals. These can include generating sales leads or providing customer support by interacting with website visitors.

The company found that their sales agents were taking general, information seeking enquiries although they needed to be focused on sales calls. Now, Ami handles the customer research that previously would have blocked the telephone lines. She is delivering revenue to the business and the conversion rate in the call centre has increased from 20% to 22%.

Integration is Key

Systems integration is vital when deploying AI for it to be truly effective.

You will require a Solutions Provider who is experienced in integration and they will assess what technology you currently have in place. What technology you require and do you want it on-premise or via the cloud. You can then identify where and how a digital assistant can be integrated into your existing systems in the back office and the front. 

A Single View

A Forrester survey revealed that 64% of the survey respondents said their greatest obstacle is creating a single view of customer data and information when improving CRM capabilities. And more than half acknowledged they struggle with creating customer insight to drive decision-making.

When a customer service agent deals with a customer’s enquiry they are often faced with several screens, this is cumbersome and difficult to manage. A Solution Provider will integrate a digital assistant into the contact centre so customers and agents are presented with a single user interface where all interactions can be completed on a single screen. This helps to make the customers journey seamless, and makes the agent’s job easier at the same time, enabling them to deliver a better experience.

Agents can also view the screen of the digital assistant so they have visibility of all chats and can access both real-time and historical interactions.  For example, contact centre managers can use this information to analyse how many customers have logged complaints, call about specific repairs or rent payments. 

Augmenting the Agent’s Role

AI helps contact centre agents to get rid of the mundane everyday tasks. This could include anything from call routing to answering basic questions that an auto attendant or Web Real Time application could deal with. The more advancement in technology in the call centre, the more contact centre agents’ roles will be refocused on soft skills to deliver empathetic, personal service and advice. Together, these developments will help to improve customer experiences overall. 

A digital assistant can also reduce the workload for the customer service team enabling them to deal with more complex enquiries resulting in a richer customer experience and adding the personal touch. Their ability to  prioritise enquiries in terms of importance and urgency can even help to ensure that human agents are involved exactly where they need to be at any given time.

AI – the Opportunity

Artificial intelligence is the opportunity that busy customer services teams have been waiting for. If you get it right from the start and work with a Solution Provider experienced in real-time applications, contact centre technology, and system integration then the benefits of increased revenue, improved communications and better customer service will be worth it. 

Jonathan Sharp, Director of Britannic Technologies (opens in new tab) 

Image Credit: Razum / Shutterstock

Jonathan Sharp, Director, Britannic Technologies has 20 years experience in IT & Telecoms with a proven ability to lead and motivate teams, execute change, deliver market differentiation and achieve profitable growth. Currently responsible at Britannic for Sales, PreSales, Marketing & Project Management teams and instrumental in company vision, strategy & direction.