7 Benefits of Conversational AI for Customer Service

7 Benefits of Conversational AI for Customer Service

Britta Reque-Dragicevic
July 12, 2021 5 min read

Conversational AI is quickly changing the way businesses engage with customers and how customers experience customer service. Using natural language processing, machine learning, and big data, conversational AI enables computers and humans to converse in a human-like way. Think of Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. Both are examples of conversational AI technologies.

The benefits of conversational AI are experienced every day as consumers engage with voice assistants, chatbots, and virtual agents. For contact centers, conversational AI is changing the game when it comes to providing faster, more accurate, and more scalable service without having to add agents or contract with a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider. This reduces total customer service costs while giving customers easy, fast, 24/7 access to customer service without having to wait on hold.

If you’re a contact center looking at adding conversational AI to your platform, here’s a look at seven conversational AI benefits you can expect:

  • Improved customer experience
  • Automated scalability
  • Reduced costs
  • 24/7 accessibility
  • Improved first contact resolution
  • Increased agent engagement and productivity
  • More accurate data collection

Improved customer experience

The most significant benefit of conversational AI is improved customer experience — a strategic goal of every contact center.

Contact centers are losing customers by simply making them wait. Almost two-thirds of surveyed consumers are only willing to wait two minutes or less before hanging up. By deploying conversational AI, contact centers reduce or eliminate wait times. This creates an immediate uptick in how fast customers receive service and delivers an easy, convenient option to solve their issue without having to talk to a human.

For complex issues, conversational AI can even transfer customers to a human — serving up a complete transcript of the conversation to the agent, so customers don’t need to repeat themselves.

Although we’ve gotten used to speaking in keywords or selecting from a limited menu when interacting with self-service options, it’s not a great experience. Just think of the last time you interacted with an IVR. Conversational AI enables customers to talk or write in natural language, rather than feel like they’re “talking to a robot.”

Also, as AI ties into your CRM, it can deliver a more personalized experience from the moment it responds to the customer. With over 60% of consumers saying they’ll likely become repeat buyers after a personalized shopping experience, personalization can help contact centers turn into revenue generators.

Ultimately, conversational AI makes it far easier to improve customer satisfaction and keep customers happy.

Automated scalability

Conversational AI gives contact centers elastic capacity, which is the ability to scale customer service capacity up or down based on customer demand. This reduces contact centers’ need to add staff, increase shifts, and outsource — all expensive or slow ways of scaling.

Conversational AI responds to every customer immediately, no matter how many customer requests there are. Contact centers now have the ability to handle both anticipated and unpredictable spikes in customer demand. This elasticity is central to the modern contact center’s ability to respond in an unpredictable world and is a key component to business continuity.

Reduced costs

A top benefit that contact centers get from conversational AI is the ability to serve more customers than ever, while also lowering costs — an unprecedented opportunity in the customer service industry. Most conversational AI solutions cost significantly less than outsourcing or adding staff. In fact, conversational AI can cost just 50% of a highly optimized business process outsourcing (BPO) provider. Plus, you only pay for the service you use. When things are slow, you don’t have to pay employee wages or BPO fees for unused agent capacity.

Conversational AI also has zero training and employee benefits costs. And if you choose a conversational AI provider that continuously improves its AI, you’ll be assured that your solution will evolve as the field of AI does too — further extending your ROI.

24/7 accessibility

Customers want to be able to contact brands when and where they choose, but staffing agents 24/7 is expensive. Conversational AI enables you to offer around-the-clock service globally, without needing to expand shifts or staff.

Because conversational AI is capable of resolving over 90% of Tier-1 issues, it reduces the amount of issues that require an agent call-back. Customers love being able to resolve issues immediately, no matter what time of day or night the need arises.

Improved first contact resolution

First contact resolution (FCR) is a key metric that’s used to determine how well businesses are meeting customer needs. Many contact centers use FCR as their primary performance indicator or track it as part of their customer experience metrics, and they’re constantly trying to improve their FCR for good reason.

Customers want their issues resolved in as few interactions as possible. If you can resolve a customer’s issue the first time they contact you, the more likely they are to feel positive about the experience. Conversational AI can increase your FCR, since it fully resolves Tier-1 issues and doesn’t deflect customers to an agent or another service channel.

Increased agent engagement and productivity

Agents often handle the same call type hundreds of times per shift. Rote, transactional issues take up the majority of their time and, frankly, zap their enthusiasm for the job. In fact, repetitive work is one of the top three reasons for agent attrition. Conversational AI frees agents from the routine work and gives them more time to draw on their empathy, creativity, and problem-solving skills to address more complex issues.

Additionally, contact centers can refocus and retrain agents to do higher-value activities. This includes upselling, cross-selling, and performing high-touch outbound proactive service, such as calling customers about late payments or notifying them of special discounts. Repositioning agents to perform higher value work can make their jobs feel more fulfilling and improve retention.

More accurate data collection

Conversational AI can capture data more accurately and comprehensively than humans can. By automatically tagging conversations and transcribing every word of voice conversations, conversational AI unlocks an incredible amount of customer data and insights. Companies can use this data to identify trends and run targeted campaigns. Better data collection translates to better customer experiences, as conversational AI gives businesses the power to understand customer interactions in a deeper way.

The benefits of conversational AI build a strong business case for why companies need conversational AI. The unique improvements in customer experience, first contact resolution, cost savings, and scalability can only be realized by adding this technology to your contact center’s toolkit.

Learn more about one of conversational AI’s biggest benefits — elastic capacity. Get your guide on how conversational AI ensures your contact center capacity always matches customer demand.

Download The Ultimate Guide to Elastic Customer Service