How AI-powered automation can drive digital experiences

17th May 2018
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As a forward-thinking enterprise catering to digitally-savvy customers, unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably invested in Artificial Intelligence-led automation technology to optimise and improve your conversations with customers.

At the very least, you must have considered developing and deploying an automated solution in accordance with a brand’s unique needs and goals, as well as those of your customers.

Not just because everyone else is talking about it, but the fact is that Artificial Intelligence and automation play a vital role in driving great experiences. It is no longer about future-proofing - it has to be done, right here and now.

The future cannot wait, neither can the present

Today’s digital customer is spoilt for choices. Irrespective of what you offer them, there is always a competitor lurking, looking to offer the same, except that they promise a better, quicker and more seamless experience.

Digital journeys that customers embark upon, not the siloed interactions, are being firmly established as the most important focal point, and even a single misstep can result in a broken experience.

This has led enterprises to turn to AI and automation in order to shape a customer experience ecosphere. But, it has become passé to refer to these technologies as the Next Big Thing. They are already giants, and are standing on the shoulders of other giants to oversee daily operations, be it within an enterprise’s backend technology framework, or in the channel’s front-end experience.

“Over half of all customer interactions happen during a multi-event, multi-channel journey”- McKinsey & Company

Five reasons why you should give automation a serious thought

  1. It ensures efficiency and cost-reduction of operational processes
  2. It turns deep-dive behavioural analytics from AI engines into valuable business and marketing insights
  3. It helps design consistent and memorable experiences across your suit of products, services and / or solutions
  4. It creates higher customer lifetime value
  5. It minimises the total cost of retention of existing customers and for new customer acquisition

Destination unparalleled experience

These are great reasons to make automation one of your primary customer experience goals. This is why many enterprises rely on it to drive and manage digital conversations with their customer. Today, technology automation has turned reactive contact centres into proactive customer engagement hubs. It is breaking down barriers such as expensive hardware, and limited bandwidth while enabling personalised customer experiences.

Whether enabling a rule-driven approach to eliminate redundancies, deploying email and chat automation to answer queries and solve customer concerns, or creating geo-agnostic monitoring and control paradigm - enterprises are scaling up the adoption of AI to deliver faster and effective customer service.

“25 percent of customer service operations will use virtual assistants by 2020.”- Gartner

However, in the era of digital conversations, there are several myths about the role of automation and AI in the customer experience world. If these are not busted, enterprises might find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place while seeing the fruition of their investments. To unlock the potential of automation, the issue must be dealt with like any other software development process. It should include documentation of requirements, scoping, acceptance testing, validation, support and revision tracking.

Five crucial steps to take before implementing automation

  1. Charter a concise and practical roadmap to determine which of your processes are suitable for robotic process automation and whether there is a software/tool that is already available for the activity you are trying to automate.
  2. Document the information needed to choose the right tool. You must understand the differences in technical functionalities of the robotic process automation tools to select the right software platform. Remember, there may not be a single tool that caters to all your requirements.
  3. Equip your teams to prepare for operational changes. Firstly, formalise your IT teams’ involvement as early as possible. Then, identify and build the necessary skills and provide enough training to the workflow automation.
  4. Ensure that your environment is standardised to handle automation by carefully defining a regular review process. Use dashboards and enforce high quality control standards to continuously monitor improvements.
  5. Calculate the estimated return on investment of automation to understand the time and effort spent as against the time and effort saved.

AI-powered automation goes beyond the lack of choice that enterprises have in meeting the expectations of their millennial customers. It is not merely a collective reaction to the changing purchasing behaviour. It is rather a proactive effort taken by enterprises to be mindful of expectations set by their customers, and to meet them gregariously so that they keep coming back.

If done right, the right experience will always reach the right customer at the right part of the journey.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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