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Accelerating AI during COVID: Getting more bang from your bots

Chatbot connects different digital icons popping out of the tablet screen

AI, machine learning and other technologies allow today’s business leaders to better leverage customer insights, deliver quality customer experiences while simultaneously empowering the workforce.

Even prior to the spread of the health crisis, organizations understood the valuable role that AI and chatbots could play in improving customer considerations.  Consider these facts:

  • By 2023, 30% of customer service organizations will deliver proactive customer services by using AI-enabled process orchestration and continuous intelligence, according to Gartner.
  • 27% of companies say improving their customer intelligence and data efforts are their highest priority when it comes to customer experience (CX).
  • 30% of customers will leave a brand and never come back because of a bad experience.

Now, as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread, it is disrupting businesses and causing an unprecedented uptick in call center inquiries. That is left many businesses scrambling to learn all they can about AI call center solutions that can help them meet customer demand for information.

5 ways AI improves CX during a crisis

According to HBR,
over 80% of customers have already taken the lead in automated service experiences, leveraging self-help portals or chatbots before contacting a live agent. With the emergence of COVID-19, it has become more important than ever to accelerate implementing AI-powered solutions.Three key steps to accelerate Artificial Intelligence in a crisis

During these COVID times, today’s customer experience executives are asking critical questions:

  1. What are our customers saying about COVID and the brand externally and internally?
  2. How do we capture COVID-related comments from all channels?
  3. How do we compare CSAT scores pre-COVID and post-COVID and associate with customer verbatims?
  4. How do we identify the appropriate channel for COVID comments?

Traditionally companies use NPS to measure customer experience. As indicated in this joint white paper between HGS & AWS, NPS is a lagging indicator. Rather,  capturing omni-channel interactions (Including customer speech, email and chat text) is the best way to measure the voice of the customer. As illustrated below, HGS has a comprehensive strategy to capture the omni-channel interactions of the customer that will stand as the ultimate Voice of the Customer. 

Illustration of a comprehensive strategy to capture customers omnichannel interactions.

 

Yasim Kolathayil (Yas), HGS Digital Vice President - Data and Insights, outlines five ways AI can improve customer experience during a crisis.

  1. Deeper understanding of customer needs. AI and voice of customer solutions help businesses gain deeper and contextual understanding of customers and support efforts to create personalized and tailored experiences during times of crisis. Often, customers contact the brand before they vent their frustration on social media. Therefore, it is critical to address the needs of the customer proactively to protect the brand and its reputation.
  2. Channel identification. AI can identify the channel where most COVID comments are initiated (chat, email, phone, text, social etc.). As a recent WSJ article noted, customers are open to receiving text during crises, adding to the multitude of channels tthe brand already supports.
  3. Proactive issue resolution. AI-enabled, real-time speech analytics can identify COVID-related concerns of the customer during the call and proactively address them before the call is disconnected.  Intent recognition is a component of AI that helps address nuances of communication.  Using natural language processing (NLP) tools, virtual agents can analyze communications to determine what customers are trying to say.  Even more importantly, AI platforms can help chatbots recognize the user’s intent.
  4. Customer sentiment assessment and proactive call routing. AI techniques can be used to determine the live customer sentiment and the call drivers during the COVID-19 crisis for deeper insights. AI-based voice analysis tools, for example, can uncover customer insights that don’t show up in usual call center KPIs.  The AI-based tools can check whether the customer sentiment is negative during the middle of the call and proactively escalate the call to the team lead for immediate or fast resolution.
  5. Facilitation of COVID-19 remedial action. AI techniques can be used to determine the products and processes linked to COVID so that quick remedial action can be taken by the product owners. This is particularly important for brand impacting issues such as fraud.

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped widen global usage for AI technology. An automation-first strategy that includes smart, AI-powered solutions helps provide customers with answers they are desperate to access while providing support staff a chance to focus on mission-critical work and troubleshoot crisis-related issues. As McKinsey mentioned noted in an article about digital strategy at scale, now is the time for bold learning at scale. The question is – “Are you ready”?  

Is your organization AI-ready? HGS is a leader in CX business and serves the back office and contact center for many Fortune 500 organizations.  As the pandemic hit, HGS proactively moved its agents to work from home and embraced AI tools.  HGS Digital, the digital arm of HGS, recently partnered with AWS to discuss how AI can measure the voice of customer to improve CX and increase revenue during crises. Learn more about HGS Digital's AI solutions or request a consultation.