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How AI is improving consumer engagement and customer experience

Donald Brown, CEO, Interactive Intelligence | Nov. 9, 2015
Artificial intelligence (AI) – when computers behave like humans – is no longer science fiction. Machines are getting smarter and companies across the globe are beginning to realize how they can leverage AI to improve consumer engagement and customer experience.

AI-assisted speech recognition helps

Additionally, AI-aided speech recognition helps improve customer service. Key words can be spotted to trigger service enhancements. The word “supervisor,” for instance, could alert a manager to join a call and alleviate any issues with a customer. Or systems can be programmed to listen for competitor mentions. With AI, healthcare organizations can monitor for words or signals that indicate a heart attack may be occurring.

Financial institutions are experiencing similar progress. Take a customer who regularly calls the bank on a Friday to check her balance. Using AI, the bank possesses the intelligence to send the customer an automated message with her bank balance before the customer picks up the phone.

By detecting behaviors and interaction patterns, a business can also choose the best channel for communicating with customers. Not every customer requires a lengthy and personal phone call. Reaching out via email or leaving an automated voicemail can prove just as effective in terms of customer satisfaction and is far less costly than a live agent phone call. It simply requires an understanding of what each customer prefers based on collected data and demographics.

Keys to driving success with AI

From a company perspective, certain elements are critical for success with AI. These include expertise, historical and accurate customer data to understand patterns and act on them, loads of research (as illustrated with the continued investment in Siri), and cloud storage for the mountains of data being generated.

The cloud maintains data across many interactions and systems and delivers the capacity to maintain and aggregate data. This enables offline analysis across millions of customers to develop complex models. Only a few years ago, this wasn’t possible with on-premises systems.

It’s increasingly clear that AI advances are helping to bring humanity back to customer experience. Cognitive technologies are making possible:

  • Faster actions and decisions that satisfy today’s consumers who seek speedy responses.
  • Better outcomes, whether it’s a resolution more tailored to a customer’s problem or quicker diagnosis of a health issue.
  • Improved efficiency of operations and employees, including call center personnel and others.
  • Reduced costs, especially with lower labor costs from automated telephone customer service.
  • Greater scale through performing major tasks that are impractical to perform manually.
  • Innovations in products and services, from adding new features to improving customer service and launching new approaches.

For businesses, therefore, the return on investment incorporates all of the above, especially lower costs and the intangibles: Happier and more loyal customers.

Interactive Intelligence is a global provider of business communications and call center solutions for customer engagement and unified communications.

 

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