Oct

Building 24x7x365 Customer Support and Online Sales... FOR FREE (Almost)

                                                             

We’ve all seen the numbers and they tell us that customers are more likely to make a purchase if they’re able to speak to a representative at the time of purchase. Study after study shows that if you can prevent even the smallest percentage of customer defection revenues and profitability can literally skyrocket as much as 80%. Just as important, the faster is your service the better is customer experience.

The same can be said for customer support. More than 70% of customers say that responsive customer support providing fast, courteous, relevant and contextual answers to their inquiries are the most important factors in determining the quality of customer service and the likelihood of that customer doing business with the company in the future.

As our world becomes even more “on-demand” and global, providing around the clock sales and customer support is quickly becoming a key differentiator. Customer’s desire to do business with companies on their own schedule and terms are driving financial growth and customer loyalty across all sectors and industries. Companies that neglect this “always on” requirement not only lose out, but need to find ways to be competitive.

Unfortunately, only the largest companies have the financial resources to deliver 24x7 customer support and sales operations. Still many of the largest companies can’t justify the expense of building out and staffing a 24 hour contact center. While outsourcing to a BPO is always an option, statistics show a diminishing return for outsource customer and sales support operations.

As customers continue to drive up the use of chat and social communications for customer support and sales, along with the incredible growth in Artificial Intelligence technology, smart companies on the forefront of customer service now have the ability to offer around the clock service for a large portion of their customers.

Think about this: While the average phone support call has previously been measured at almost 6 minutes, the average chat session lasts just 42 seconds, indicating that the vast majority of customer support issues are simple and only require limited information in order to leave a customer informed and satisfied with the interaction.

Today Artificial Intelligence can deliver a personalized, informed, and contextually relevant response to just about any question related to most customer inquiries. Add on the fact that AI actually “learns” as it interacts with people and information and the value to the customer and the vendor actually increases over time.  Wouldn’t we all like to have immediate service with zero wait times and fast, courteous response that immediately addresses our needs? I know I would.

Implementing Artificial Intelligence for customer service comes down to an application cost that, when amortized over the number of chat or social sessions it can handle, reduces customer support costs to as little as 10% of traditional contact center and agent expenses.

The one objection to relying on Artificial Intelligence in the contact center is the customer experience. There’s enough bad press out there about Chatbots and broken, robotic responses that are sometimes irrelevant that some customer support professionals are wary of any form or automation. My response to that is, while those were valid concerns; just take a look at Siri today vs. 2 years ago. The quality of responses has dramatically improved, as has the customer perception and usefulness.

What are your thoughts about Artificial Intelligence in the contact center? We’d love to hear from you.

Interested in reading more? Check out our other blogs:

WHAT IS AI TRAINING



AI training is a critical part of conversational AI solutions, a part that makes AI software different from any kind of software previously created.
AI training is not coding.
Unlike all other existing software which is fully coded.

Let us consider a simple example:
We create chatbots for two companies, one company is selling shoes, another is selling cars. From the software standpoint it is one chatbot solution running as an online service accessed remotely or a program available locally. In both cases they are two identical instances of the same software (one instance for the shoes company, another for the cars company).
Yet, for the first company the chatbot is supposed to talk about flip-flops, summer shoes, high heels and so on. For the second company, however, the chatbot is not expected to know any of that. Instead, the chatbot should be able to support conversations about car brands, car models, should know how to tell Toyota Camry from Toyota Corolla, etc. This shoes and cars knowledge is not programmable. It is trainable. It is not coded, instead it is a part of language processing capability that AI solutions like chatbots have. And herein lies the major differentiation and advantage of the AI solutions compared to traditional software.

How to train AI?
There are several ways to do it. Sometimes AI system can train itself, improve its linguistic ability over time. It also can be trained by professional linguists. And in some cases, by the users. The latter is the desirable scenario because businesses know better than anybody else what they want their chatbot to talk about.
It is not easy, given the existing state of AI technology, and usually requires a high level of technical knowledge. You may have heard mentions of intents and entities in chatbot discussions. These are examples of linguistic elements AI training is currently based on.
Without proper understanding of what these linguistic elements are and how language acquisition process works in existing AI systems it is better to leave AI training to professional linguists.

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Social selling. Difference between Facebook and Twitter

                                                         

There are obviously some key differences between Facebook and Twitter that make them appealing to different people as well as businesses. If possible, businesses should try to leverage both networks in their marketing and sales efforts.

But marketing approaches for each network differ.  Consequently social selling approaches differ as well. Here are some major differences of the two networks that impact sales strategy:

- Twitter lets all the accounts commingle, Facebook makes a definite distinction between business and personal. This can be an issue because a business page cannot proactively connect with individuals with personal profiles. Individuals have to first like a business page and still the business can’t reach out to them directly unless they message first. This is not the case with Twitter, as anyone can follow pretty much anyone.

- Facebook preferred way to market products and promote online sales can be compared to a showroom. The prospects can see the product and purchase it through some other channel, however engagement (with prospects) is limited to friends and followers. Hence growing the number of friends and followers becomes a critical task on Facebook.  Twitter does not offer promotional capabilities but engagement activity is not limited to followers. The engagement on Twitter is therefore more straightforward and can lead to direct sales.

- Facebook user data is typically open to friends or followers. Twitter data is typically open to the entire world.

- Twitter is fast (minutes). Facebook is slower (hours and days).

- Twitter is more about building a brand identity. Facebook is more about business relationships.

To summarize, a direct timely engagement could be a good strategy on Twitter. In a typical scenario a user tweets that she needs a taxi or asks where to dine tonight. A taxi company or a relevant restaurant engages in a conversation and secures a customer. It is an efficient approach with immediate ROI.

On Facebook a good strategy is to grow and educate a community of followers. Facebook is excellent for promotional campaigns. This is a longer-term strategy with effects not visible until after several months.

 

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