85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent, within a few years. That’s been predicted by the likes of IBM, Microsoft and Gartner.
It means only very critical customer interactions will be handled by humans. All other repetitive and often mundane requests will be handled by machines.
It sounds good, but what benefits would it provide? Here are 7 key benefits of customer service powered by AI and automation.
- Cut operating costs by 50%-60% or more
- Eliminate wait time. Serve customers instantly
- Add or remove capacity rapidly
- Lower management, training and recruitment overhead
- Offer 24/7 support
- Eliminate error – deliver consistent service every single time
- Have cost effective disaster recovery and business continuity in place
1. Cut Operating Costs by Over 60%
Running a contact centre and customer support costs a lot of money, whether it is done onshore or offshore. Supporting customers over voice, chat, email and other channels gets expensive. A large portion of these costs are related to human agents – people who work in the customer services and call centres. These costs include salary costs, office and IT costs, management costs, and productivity lost due to employee attrition, to name a few.
It is very much possible to cut over 60% of the costs with automation of the customer service with AI. It does however require careful planning, and even more careful selection of the technology that enables automation across multiple channels e.g. voice, chat and email.
It’s possible to handle a large portion of call, chat, and email automatically with artificial intelligence and automation, so much so that you should be able to automate up to 90% of your call and chat support.
You need the AI and automation software that does what your agents currently do.
Remember, software doesn’t require minimum wage.
2. Eliminate Call Wait Time. Serve Customers Instantly
91% of dissatisfied customers won’t do business with you again. And only 4% of these will let you know.HelpScout Survey
Customers who get served quickly equate it with good customer service. No one likes to wait, especially on the phone (or chat for that matter). We all get frustrated by “your call is very important to us” (but we are not picking it up anytime soon). Customers who experience long delays may never come back, leading to loss of revenue and brand value.
Automation of customer service speeds up customer service, whether on the phone, or chat or via email . Well designed and well implemented automation solution is scalable, and reduces response time to zero.
Overall improvement in the speed of response, combined with lower cost to serve the customers is a very strong value proposition.
3. Add or Remove Capacity Rapidly
It’s difficult to plan the customer service and call centre workforce under normal circumstances. Now and then, your business experiences high volume of customer calls and requests. Perhaps it’s the result of a new marketing campaign working really well which causes lots of customers to contact you, perhaps one of the business areas starts to grow rather quickly, or maybe a competitor is having a difficult time and customers start calling your business. Similarly, a reduction in market demand causes less customers to contact you. This may happen during a certain season.
It means contact centre and customer support would need to ramp up rapidly. Or sometimes ramps-down to adjust.
Getting new agents on board is time consuming, expensive and rather difficult to do at a rapid pace. Then, the demand goes down and some of those will need to be let go.
Properly designed and implemented AI and automation software makes it a breeze to scale up and down with the changing business needs.
It enables you to adapt to business changes rapidly, with reduced cost, and lead time.
4. Cut Training and Recruitment Costs
Staff attrition is a common problem in call centres and customer support.
Hiring and training staff takes time and money. Then some people leave, and it needs to be done again. It costs money and time to hire and then train a call centre and customer service agent.
On the other hand, when there’s change in a business process, or product line etc. you need to train your staff, which is an expensive operation. The cost of not training the agents is rather high as well, as customers get annoyed when the agents don’t know the latest changes.
Contact centre and customer support automation offers huge time and cost savings in this area.
AI agents don’t leave, or fall ill. They are easy to deploy. And they make it easy to add or remove capacity.
5. Offer 24/7 Support
Our lines are open from “8am to 5pm”. Not many customers like this response. On the flip side, it is even more costs for the businesses to offer out of hours, weekend and night support.
However, automated contact centre and customer service is not constrained by time zones or public holidays. It doesn’t cost more to run software during the weekends or evenings.
Software doesn’t need any sleep.
Adding additional hours of support, or going one step further to offer 24/7 can greatly influence customer satisfaction and reduce churn. It shows that a company is committed to customer service. It helps the brand and increases customer loyalty.
With automated customer support, you should be able to offer 24/7 support at half the cost!
6. Eliminate Error – Deliver Consistent Service, Every Single time
Software doesn’t get annoyed. It doesn’t get tired. Once trained, machines don’t make mistakes. It doesn’t get angry, or frustrated. Software doesn’t miss the bus connection and turn up to work late with a hangover. It doesn’t need coffee breaks. It doesn’t gossip.
Customer service powered by AI and automation has the potential to provide a level of consistency that’s rather tough to be matched by humans.
Properly designed software and AI based automation should be free from many biases that can negatively impact a customer interaction.
7. Have Cost Effective Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity in Place
It is critical to ensure business continuity in case of a disaster.
In case your customers can’t reach you – they won’t remain your customers for long
Contact centres and customer support need to be able to respond to customers in times of emergencies. Planning and managing a disaster recovery site is expensive.
Your disaster recovery doesn’t need to cost you a load of money and time.
Automated customer support ensures that your mission critical customer support operations remain responsive. What’s more, it is cost effective. Well designed and well implemented customer service automation is horizontally scaleable. So you remain responsive, and on top of it, you can add capacity rapidly.