How Artificial Intelligence (AI) can reduce call waiting time
A resounding 96 per cent of customers say that customer service is important to their choice of, and loyalty to a brand.
In one example, KPMG research found that during the pandemic customers have had problems engaging with companies due to high volumes of enquiries across various channels, resulting in brands failing to effectively manage increase in demand.
This has also resulted in a significant rise in call waiting times, with some Australian customers having spent as long as five hours on hold before getting through to an agent.
Finding ways to reduce waiting times and address customer concerns and queries as quickly and efficiently as possible will help businesses to retain loyal customers.
According to global research by Accenture, the percentage of customer interactions involving emerging technologies is set to increase from 15 per cent in 2018 to 70 per cent in 2022.
With the global conversational AI market worth $5 billion, how can Australian businesses leverage this for their own success?
Six ways AI can reduce call waiting time
1. Ensure the engagement is instant
As society increasingly creates and moves towards an always-on generation, customers are increasingly demanding to engage with brands across multiple channels and expect this to be readily available, and instant.
AI chatbots offer the ability to provide an immediate response when a customer reaches out online.
A quick response helps customers to feel more valued and subsequently more likely to leave the interaction feeling satisfied.
2. Make AU assistance and live chat seamless
Virtual agents can reduce customer wait times by ensuring that customers have access to the information they need, immediately.
In most interactions, there will come a time when a human takes over the conversation so ensuring that the transition is seamless and the enquiry background details and pertinent information is shared is essential.
This will produce not only a better experience for the customer but also minimises wait times and resolves issues more quickly.
3. 24/7 availability
The Australian Government has recognised business adoption of AI as a key driver of the Australian economy, driven by its ability to cater for and service today’s always-on consumer behaviour and expectations of 24/7 customer support.
It would be extremely expensive for a business to offer this if only human employees were used.
However, conversational AI chatbots offer a more efficient and cost-effective option that easily scales up and down to respond to demand volumes.
The provision of virtual agents provides consistency to consumers at any time of day of night and helps to reduce the perceived wait time by removing the need to put a customer on hold or waiting in a chat window for a response.
4. Consistently improve the customer experience
Reducing waiting times relies on several factors, but the customer experience is an excellent place to start.
By leveraging AI technologies, it is easier to collect feedback from customers, to update the AI’s language and provide new options for customers as they become relevant.
Using virtual assistants and chatbots means that businesses can change the menu options and freshen up the chat window as needed.
5. Identify the best solution
Leveraging AI can enable a business to stay ahead of foreseeable issues helping to reduce waiting times by addressing commonly experienced issues alongside anticipated enquiries.
Virtual agents can be used to inform customers of technical issues and downtime and when they should expect their service to be restored, without tying up a human agent.
AI can also allow businesses to offer real-time notifications via phone or email, which is known to improve customer feedback.
6. Manage customer expectations
Research by Mordor Intelligence shows that the global chatbot market is expected to expand by 35 per cent, annually, between 2021 and 2028, demonstrating the value of AI and its ability to offer improvements across every interaction in the customer journey.
A virtual agent offers a simple and effective way to manage customer expectations and maintain a high level of service while helping to reduce the overall number of customers seeking assistance.
When customers know what to expect or where to find information, it’s less likely they’ll need to wait to speak to a representative.
As ongoing digitalisation continues to transform the way consumers interact with brands, businesses need to ensure that they are continuously evolving to meet customer demands and expectations.
As way of life accelerates, customer experience is not going away, but its value proposition is stalling because many of the fundamentals of customer experience are now commonplace.
A mandate of every organisation must be to deliver exceptional experiences for their customers.
Companies need to push beyond outdated customer service models and leverage technologies, such as AI, to reimagine the experience and service they are able to provide.
With the right technologies in place, such as conversational AI tools, businesses will find they can reduce one of the biggest customer pain points, call centre waiting times.