While AI-guided conversations with customers can improve customer experience, the real impact comes from teams that show deep empathy and understanding.

We live in an era where voice recognition assistants such as Google Assistant, Siri, and Amazon Alexa are useful enablers of our daily activities.

As these virtual assistants grow smarter and more advanced, humans will be able to communicate effortlessly with technology via voice and speech rather than via manual command input because the human voice is the most natural interface for anyone to interact with.

This new method of interaction has also dynamically affected how customers interact with sellers of products and services. Today the AI-enabled customer service is a US$470 billion industry and is ripe for change. Due to the pandemic, people are increasingly looking at customer service to solve complex issues through various platforms quickly. To address this new demand, conversational AI is high on many business leaders’ agenda to deliver better customer experience (CX) and build long-term affinity with customers.

Despite having understood the importance of CX, businesses can face difficulty in finding the right tool or channels to manage conversational AI capabilities in real-time and at scale. This is where Conversational Service Automation (CSA) can help. It is the only platform that addresses the entire conversational experience for both customers and agents. Using conversational AI, robotic process automation (RPA), and workflow automation to blend front-office and back-office operations, CSA is the key to unlock ‘two-way happiness’ for all stakeholders.

Benefits of CSA

Enterprises across industry verticals—from banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI), telecommunications, education technology (EdTech) to healthcare—are investing in conversational AI and adjacent technologies today. Contact center in these industries act as one of the touchpoints where consumers and businesses converge.

For example, the tedious work of processing traditional customer service phone conversations is easily automated in a conversational AI workflow. During a global pandemic, one company that adopted a  Conversational Service Automation platform reportedly improved the productivity of more than 1,000 of their agents. Also, the company achieved up to 80% reduction of after-call work and a 20% reduction in average handle time.

Automating the call disposition improves accuracy and drives better-quality call categories in the customer relationship management (CRM) system, thereby delivering measurable and sustainable business value.

Speaking up during the pandemic

During the beginning of the current pandemic, contact centres played a vital role during the current pandemic, but many could not handle the influx of calls. As a result, businesses turned to AI and other technologies to give their valuable front-line call center agents a hand. This surge in contact center calls shows that customers prefer to speak to another human being rather than a bot or a virtual assistant, especially during crisis times. This is because, unlike machines, humans are capable of empathizing and understanding distress.

However, the a survey commissioned by Uniphore showed that 43% of respondents could not speak with a representative after calling a helpline, and 40% did not even receive helpful information when finally contacting a healthcare call center.

While business leaders know that voice-based conversations are the ultimate drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty, the quality and outcome of any communication is what will have a longer-term effect on how customers feel about a brand and how long they stay with that brand.

What is needed, then, is a better understanding of the types of experiences people have with contact center and how to improve outcomes and satisfaction levels.

Happiness is a two-way street

It is clear that Conversational Service Automation can benefit both contact center agents and customers to move companies closer to improving CX. Both the technology required and the people skills needed in agents seem to be equally important. That brings us to whether businesses should invest more in AI and automation, or should they rely on people to give that human touch.

According to one Uniphore podcast for contact center professionals, it was established that these two go hand-in-hand. In order to build a tool to help customers, it is important for businesses to ensure a team that is truly representative of the customer base. If a business fails to do this, they will not see things from the right perspective and the tools they use will not help anyone achieve satisfaction.

In retrospect, for companies to stay ahead while keeping customers and agents happy, they must first invest in solutions that can deliver the best and most efficient CX. Thus, the secret to lies in showing empathy and understanding and leveraging technology to improve communications via the way we always have: with our voice.