How AI, Automation & Bots are Transforming Customer Support in the Digital Age

In today’s digital economy, customer success cannot be an afterthought. Consumer demands are rapidly evolving beyond what organizations were prepared to handle. The new age digital customer demands personalized experiences, seamless customer experiences and ease of access across all touchpoints. According to a recent survey by Adobe, keeping up with constantly changing demands was cited as a key challenge by over 40% respondents. Technology has put unprecedented power in the hands of the customers to dictate the rules in purchasing goods and services. 75% of customers expect immediate service within five minutes of first contact. Hence there is a heightened pressure among businesses worldwide to stay competitive and deliver real time personalized services and seamless customer experiences in the digital age.This shift from a transaction-based economy to a relationship-based economy demands better service and this is where a raft of technological advancements – automation, bots and AI are making their presence felt. An effective Customer Experience strategy mandates the need to empower humans while manning the frontline customer care operations through technology. AI, chatbots and automated, self-service technologies free up the customer support workforce from routine tier-1 support requests so they can focus on more complex tasks that require human intervention.

How AI, Automation and Bots create impact for businesses
The convergence of AI, automation and bots could not have come at a better time to positively impact the touchpoints, to arrest the slide in Customer Experience. Robotic Process Automation has given way to its evolved successor – Cognitive RPA – thus effectively freeing up bandwidth for agents to discharge tasks that demand greater interactive skills and judgment. Predictive Customer Service has significantly impacted customer support by helping resolve customer service issues before they arise, hence significantly lowering customer abandonment rates. Over the past few years, chatbots have been augmented with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to simulate a real interaction with users. It is estimated that by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent.

Automation, AI and bots simplify the overall experience a customer has with the business’s support function. They help by automatically validating (and therefore remembering) the customer, dispensing with the need for repetition and presenting consistency across channels. Powerful computing prowess of AI, triggered through automation and funneled through bots, helps in better micro segmentation of customers for greater personalization. Customers who recognize that their special needs or preferences are understood and met by organizations offering services or products will exhibit greater loyalty. Organizations can spot customer preferences through automated analysis and this will help agents to handle queries, and address concerns in a manner that is most appropriate for customers.

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Adopting and adapting to these digital innovations
A survey by Altimeter Group showed that 42% of businesses invest in these new digital channels to serve clients more effectively. Organizations need to focus on a digital overhaul to achieve the transformation towards these future proof customer experience paradigms. The varied benefits of AI, Automation and Bots make for a compelling business case, in not just improvements in customer facing operations, but improving workforce productivity, acquiring new customers at reduced costs and retaining customers thereby improving customer lifetime value and ROI. After all, the prime driver of digital transformation is Customer Experience, which makes it all the more important for CIOs to focus on bringing in automation, bots and AI into operations.

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