Shortened waiting times, saving resources, higher customer satisfaction: AI in customer communication can be used profitably for both customers and companies. For example, AI helps to automatically extract topics that customers primarily deal with in their messages. This gives the company’s management the opportunity to identify trends at an early stage and to react accordingly.
AI in customer communication helps both customers and companies
In addition, thanks to technology, the waiting time for customers to communicate with companies is reduced. Chatbots can provide automated responses to recurring requests. Thus, the employees are relieved and can take care of more complex customer matters.
Four measures to use AI appropriately
Nevertheless, in my opinion, there are a few things that should be considered when using technology in order to create the necessary acceptance for AI. I recommend four measures for the use of AI in customer communication.
1. Document the use of man or machine transparently
The use of AI should be made transparent to the customer; the customers should therefore know that they are currently exchanging information with a system. They automatically have completely different expectations of the conversation, forego irony, or pay attention to clear pronunciation.
Ideally, the company provides clarity right at the beginning of an interaction. For example, at the beginning of a call, a company indicates that the waiting time for a conversation with a service employee is fifteen minutes and that you can also be put through directly to the automatic system if you wish. Customers can decide for themselves which variant they prefer.
2. Ensure the high quality of the data
An AI system is only as good as the data it is fed with. However, the quality of the data recorded in companies is often very fluctuating or incomplete, as the data in many industries is recorded by an external sales force and in some cases is not fully communicated to the head office. So I recommend collecting data in your own company and also making sure that the data is always up to date. For example, if I continue to send a customer apartment offers in Düsseldorf even though they moved to Munich two years ago, that can quickly have a negative impact on the customer relationship.
3. Eliminate data silos
Companies often have two separate databases: A CRM system, where all customer data is entered, and an operational system for order processing. If these databases are not linked, it is difficult to link the respective customers to their orders. This prevents holistic customer service and can only process customer inquiries slowly. In customer communication, it is therefore important that companies have seamless access to all relevant systems and customer information. In this way, data from the individual data silos can be combined to form a complete picture.
4. Don’t track everything that is possible
Even if it is tempting, not everything should be tracked that is technically and in terms of the data situation possible. For example, when companies track their customers across multiple websites, information is collected that in many cases obviously does not come from the page currently being visited.
Originally, customer profiles were supposed to serve to replicate and scale the effect of the corner shop, in which the saleswoman knows every customer. But even then, customers would have been puzzled if they had been greeted when they entered a bookstore with the information that the new Tuscany travel guide had arrived. The customers would have asked themselves how the seller knew that they had just been to the travel agency.
Too intensive tracking often leads to a feeling of surveillance that leaves customers with a stale aftertaste. Customers should always be given the opportunity to decide for themselves which information is made available to the company.
CRM – Does Technology Improve Customer Relationships?
“Only to a limited extent”, say 65 percent of the participants in an Appian study. Automation technologies are only “reasonably effective” in order to provide all the necessary data.
Appian publishes the results of its “Business Automation Technologies and the Customer Experience” study. The aim was to gain a better understanding of the attitudes of employees in large corporations in the US and Europe with regard to business automation technologies and the “humanization” of customer relationships.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, this question becomes even more pressing for organizations. The current social distancing guidelines – separating companies from their customers – illustrate the need to exploit the potential of technologies in order to strengthen customer relationships.
The central question is whether business automation technologies create better customer experiences and thus enable companies to better anticipate and meet their customers’ needs – and thus create stronger customer relationships.
Eighty-two percent of the study participants agree that companies need to focus on increasing the human factor as part of customer interaction.
However, only four in ten respondents see the way their organization uses automation as “highly” helpful in building stronger customer relationship.