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How Conversational AI Brings a Human Touch to Customer Service

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Conversational AI has fundamentally changed how companies think of customer service. According to a 2019 Gartner report Evolving IVRs to Conversational Platforms — Critical Leadership Issues, “by 2025, 30% of major enterprises will have selected a single, enterprise-wide, conversational platform that is leveraged as a front end by business applications, both for customer service and to improve employee effectiveness.”

Relying on representatives to respond to all inbound requests can become costly if not impossible. Some companies have learned this the hard way during the pandemic. Today, customers are almost always greeted with automated, but too many simple customer requests are still being rerouted to a representative. When the technology is working optimally, most customers do not need to speak to an agent to resolve their request.

Companies that have harnessed the power of AI to resolve most customer requests are now pushing the envelope and providing automated customer service through webchat, mobile apps, smart speakers, texts, and social media. While providing customer services across different channels can greatly alleviate the pressure on customer service center agents, companies should not forget that retaining a human element to customer service is key to maintaining a good relationship between a company and its customers.

To obtain and maintain consumer loyalty, companies must build trust. When properly deployed, Conversational AI has the power to facilitate that trust across different channels.

Build a Connection With Your Customer

One way to start building trust with customers is to make them feel heard. It is important that they get an individualized experience and that they are not being treated as “just another customer.” How can companies accomplish that while providing customer service through automated customer service channels?

When a customer contacts a company, they still expect someone who is highly attentive to their needs rather than a machine with pre-determined responses. Sophisticated Conversational AI solutions allow customers to communicate in an unconstrained manner while making multiple requests at the same time. Additionally, when a Conversational AI solution is equipped with Natural Language Understanding (NLU) and advanced speech recognition capabilities, multiple customer intents can be understood and processed without interruptions during a customer service interaction. That way, customer service provided through an automated customer service channel can simultaneously recognize, process and respond to dialects, accents, and phrases during the entire customer interaction without the need to reroute the customer to a customer service agent. This requires a high speech recognition accuracy rate.

A customer’s experience using automated channels can be further improved when the technology can “remember” the customer. This way, it can store and then use memory for any future interactions with that customer.

Quick and Safe Customer Identity Verification

Many customers are wary of using automated channels for customer service in part because they have doubts about the safety of their personal information or fear fraud. AI can help safeguard customer information through automated multi-factor authentication.

The nature of multi-factor authentication varies depending on the communication channel that the customer is using (phone, webchat, mobile). An advanced conversational AI solution has the ability to use Voice Biometrics as part of multi-factor authentication strategies and can unify different communication channels to ensure proper customer verification. The creation of a voiceprint can facilitate identity verification through an analysis of a customer’s voice when the speech recognition engine is deployed in tandem with voice biometrics. For example, while a customer is providing their date of birth, the technology can simultaneously verifiy their identity using the sound of their voice.

In addition to time and cost savings, advanced Conversational AI solutions with these capabilities increase customer satisfaction while keeping their personal information safe.

Using Cloud Technology to Reduce Costs

Cloud-based Conversational AI solutions can be configured and deployed within minutes. With a cloud platform, a. company can still utilize their existing contact center, removing the need for new infrastructure, infrastructure management, and reliance on professional services. In essence, a cloud-based platform can be leveraged for customer service across various channels, with speech recognition results with extremely high accuracy rates while significantly reducing costs. Cloud-based Conversational AI should support omnichannel communication, so customers can have access to this technology from all touchpoints. That also means customers could begin their communication over email and continue the same conversation over SMS.

To improve customer service, companies need technology that can solve multiple requests at the same time, across various channels and make customer interaction seamless and quick. However, companies must also think about how customer service interactions impact their long-term relationship with their customers. Adding a human touch to customer service can go a long way especially as communication channels become increasingly digitized.

Chris Adomaitis is the Director and Solutions Architect for North America at Omilia, a global conversational intelligence company that provides advanced automatic speech recognition solutions to organizations worldwide. Chris has significant experience in all aspects of customer contact centers, from technology implementation and interactive intelligence platforms to customer service experience. Chris has a unique insight into the customer journey that drives decisions about contact center technology implementation in global markets.