The phrase “the customer is king” has been used to describe consumer purchasing power for years, but this power has increased substantially in the digital age. Our connected lifestyle means that people expect a seamless customer experience across channels and won’t hesitate to use that power elsewhere if an experience disappoints. 

For example, PwC found that 73 percent of consumers believe that the customer experience helps drive their buying decisions. Another study found that 49 percent of customers surveyed had made an impulse purchase after an excellent, personalized brand experience. And finally, a recently published report found that companies that invested in improving their customer service were able to double their business revenue in 36 months. 

Currently, artificial intelligence sits at the forefront of helping organizations achieve these customer service goals. As advancements in AI bring more efficiencies enterprise-wide, customer service stands to realize numerous benefits, including: 

Chatbots

While many companies are already using chatbots, we can soon expect these AI innovations to handle more advanced queries of varying complexity. As this happens, the customer service team can help more people and create a better overall experience while also driving down operating costs. 

Natural Language Processing 

Natural language processing helps agents meet customers’ needs more efficiently by transcribing interactions across phone, email, chat, and SMS channels and analyzing this data for patterns and trends. This, in turn, helps foster deeper, contextualized, and more productive customer experiences.

Sentiment Analysis 

Sentiment analysis can analyze and identify customers’ demeanor and recognize when someone is becoming upset so that an agent can intervene and de-escalate the situation. Sentiment analysis is part of a broader category of tools known as emotion analytics. Check out this previous APEX of Innovation post for more on how biometrics, facial recognition, and other technologies are helping improve customer service. 

AI Training 

A relatively new customer service application of AI uses the technology to simulate various scenarios and assess agents’ abilities to address them satisfactorily. Whether it’s onboarding new hires or training existing employees, having AI assume the role of the customer can help efficiently test a variety of possible scenarios and ensure that agents are prepared to handle them in the real world. 

Self-Service 

Numerous studies have documented that customers would prefer to solve basic issues on their own if armed with the proper tools and information. Advances in AI mean that self-service options will become increasingly pervasive, enabling customers to answer their own questions more efficiently, simultaneously freeing up agents to focus on more complex issues.

For more on the above and other examples of how AI is transforming customer service, take a look at this TechTarget article.