Every business owner with a call center knows the experience you want your customers to avoid: stuck in an endless maze of automated options, none of them right, frustration rising as the minutes tick on.
Whether digitally or through automated voice commands, self-service has the capacity to increase efficiency. But an outdated system that isn’t anticipating consumer demands can lower customer satisfaction. And as consumer preferences have shifted, a seamless self-service experience has become an imperative for many organizations.
According to predictions by Forrester, the technology forecasting company, digital customer service interactions will have increased by 40% in 2021, due partially to the pandemic shifting in-person transactions at brick and mortar institutions — think grocery stores and banks — online. This shift meant that even customers who were formerly resistant to digital-first interactions became more comfortable and adept at using these channels and now expect digital options from other companies they interact with regularly.
“Soaring demand for digital service is driving organizations to accelerate their digital customer experience transformation and drive full resolution on their digital platforms,” says Barry Cooper, president of the workforce and customer experience division at NICE, a leading provider of cloud and on-premise enterprise software solutions.
Creating more efficiency for a superior user experience
A decade ago, self-service consumer interactions may have occurred through a phone call or a desktop-enabled app. Today, people are likely to be conducting customer service conversations on their smartphones in the minutes they have in between tasks.
“Ten years ago, someone may have carved out 30 minutes from their day to make reservations,” says Amanda Belarmino, assistant professor at the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at the University of Las Vegas, who studies AI use-cases in hotel management. “Now, they’re on their phones in the waiting room at the doctor’s office [or] in line at the grocery store. They’re somewhere that a phone call wouldn’t be appropriate.”
That’s why it’s imperative to streamline self-service solutions providing logical next steps in the user experience so that a user doesn’t need to talk to a live agent. “It’s important to program AI with that goal in mind: to make users more efficient with their time,” says Belarmino, who has a Ph.D. in hospitality management.
Customer service solutions, such as Enlighten XO from NICE utilize conversational data from past interactions to create an experience that anticipates the user’s journey. In the past, self-service scripts were manually programmed, limiting learning capacity and requiring manual updates. Now, Enlighten XO is an AI model that discovers automation opportunities for self-service by automatically analyzing conversational data and delivering the necessary intelligence to build the ideal self-service applications.
Beginning with better digital journeys creates a win-win for everyone
When self-service effectively meets customers’ needs with peak performance on digital channels, customer service agents can handle customers’ more complex tasks that need in-person interaction, reducing wait time and minimizing frustration for all. “I don’t need to talk to someone to book a weekend trip with my husband,” Belarmino says. “But someone from another country, or someone with specific needs for the trip, may need that. When customer service agents don’t have to worry about meeting quotas, they then can develop a relationship and assist a customer at the level they need.”
Better digital journeys create a win-win for everyone: providing agency for customer service specialists, reducing wait times for those who need human assistance, and providing a seamless digital experience for people who enter the customer service journey expecting an entirely digital path.
A system created in the voice of your customer
As superior AI-assisted customer service becomes a consumer requirement, it becomes ever more critical that organizations differentiate themselves with self-service applications that are intuitive and streamlined. In a world where customer service is a key differentiator between organizations, a “good enough” platform can be a vulnerability.
Utilizing the data from your customers can help you tailor a system that not only works — AI can speak naturally to your customers and understands their intentions. Not only can this lead users to their results quickly and efficiently, but it can also have the capacity to surprise, delight, and increase customer affinity toward your brand.
NICE is the worldwide leading provider of cloud and on-premise enterprise software solutions that allows organizations to make smarter decisions based on advanced AI analytics of structured and unstructured interaction data. Enlighten AI for CX self-learning AI solutions are built on 30+ years of experience using the largest syndicated interaction dataset. This solution analyzes every second of every conversation to identify the successful behaviors that drive extraordinary customer experiences. Enlighten AI for CX includes a suite of innovative, pre-built customer experience solutions that operationalize insights, accelerating action and turning customer service into a competitive differentiator. To learn more, visit nice.com.