President of Uniphore APAC Ravi Saraogi says two-thirds of client conversions fail in Singapore due to poor customer service and shares how conversational service automation may help vendors close the sale.
By Ravi Saraogi
This decade may mark a transition into the great unknown. With the emergence of new possibilities and challenges ahead of us, successful organisations must be quick to identify and take advantage of opportunities through the power of emerging technologies.
Specific to the customer service industry, brands that utilise Conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies will improve business operations and customer experiences. However, many fear the uncertainties that come with digital transformation, for example, in the US alone, the number of call center workers is predicted to steadily diminish as companies adopt new technologies.
According to a Gartner report it is estimated that about 70% of organizations will integrate AI to assist employee productivity by 2021 to meet the high demand of delivering faster, relevant and holistic services to today’s customers. More often than not, customers today are frustrated that broken customer service systems and poorly equipped agents don’t understand their requests. To fix this, businesses must move away from a siloed experience and approach service holistically.
The eagerness to map customer journeys, intent, and experiences is showing a similar uptick across industry verticals in the region and in Singapore. Banking, Financial Services and Insurance companies are all incorporating Conversational Service Automation into their strategic business processes at a faster rate; understanding that the role of automation in increasing productivity of existing call centre agents, instead of replacing. The time is now to blend the capabilities of people and AI and better understand conversations in real-time for businesses to stay ahead of the race.
With technological capabilities, it’s about time we start hearing what customers really want. Customers are time poor, distracted and empowered by a plethora of products and services’ options. Instant gratification is their modus operandi. With other factors like price point and product quality being at par, superior customer service remains challenging and is often a deal breaker. In a competitive landscape, we are finding that customers demand a seamless experience when interacting with a brand.
According to an American Express Customer Service report, Singaporean customers are among the world’s most demanding. Two out of three Singaporeans will not complete a purchase due to poor service. Nobody likes their voices to go unheard.
That said, poor customer experiences are not difficult to resolve at all, more so today due to machine learning, AI and automation. This is because AI is now helping brands to truly listen to the voice of the customer and understand their needs in order to quickly resolve customer queries, deepen customer engagement, and deliver superior customer experience at scale.
Headway with Conversational Service Automation
The use of AI is becoming more prevalent in the customer service industry as conversations become more complex. There is a small window of opportunity for brands to deliver personalised customer service, particularly when your engagement happens across diverse channels. Being equipped with an understanding of context, sentiment, behaviour and real intent, and being able to act on such insights in real-time becomes even more crucial.
Conversational Service Automation is about enabling front office automation in contact centres. Consider this scenario: A customer starts a conversation with a chatbot for quick self-service. The bot is able to provide some quick and valuable updates based on the customer’s previous interactions. If the conversation gets more complex, the voice bot politely hands the call to a human agent via a live transfer. The agent is assisted through real-time analytics and chat transcripts to be able to make the next best offer which the customer gladly accepts.
This automation backed by real-time analytics is continuously self-learning, enabling real-time listening of conversations across channels and then converting them into actionable insights. As a result, a win-win situation is created where businesses can reduce work pressure on call center agents, improve accuracy of information and greater customer satisfaction.
We are in the midst of a customer experience transformation and conversational AI technology is leading this change. There is a positive acceptance from both businesses and customers to adopt newer conversational AI technologies. This is driven by the try-before-you-buy and pay-as-you-go models offered, which enterprises find appealing and less risky. Brands can take smaller bets, test-and-learn and then scale up.
Automation has successfully allowed computers to respond to contexts within queries, monitor customer behaviour and improve overall customer service. Moreover, contact centre agents can now receive real-time alerts and recommendations for upsell and cross-sell. The time is now for companies to leverage conversational AI to deliver a quantum leap in customer service, in an industry that is full of potential. Just like rats that are quick thinkers and clever, brands that embrace conversational service automation will be the ones who stay ahead of the competition and thrive in the new decade.