How financial services providers are using AI-powered chatbots to up-level their customer experience
In the midst of the coronavirus, a contracting economy is leaving many people panicked about their personal finances. 2.7 billion of the global workforce are facing full or partial closures of their workplaces as governments rush to provide stimulus packages to soften the economic blow. Subsequently, customers are eagerly seeking out answers and advice for how to manage their investments, savings accounts, retirement funds, debt, and more. In fact, when asked what kinds of messages are of the highest interest, 53 percent of consumers surveyed say "critical updates about what I can expect from an individual company," and 37 percent want "inspiration and strategies to stay safe and healthy based on a company’s area of expertise."
Providing customer service at scale not only requires the transition to digital services that's been underway years prior to COVID-19 but also fully enabling chatbots and virtual assistants to provide personalized, 1:1 interactions …
How COVID-19 is impacting retail and how it will shape the industry’s future
As the effects of the coronavirus continue to unfold, retailers are adapting their business continuity plans to suit current and anticipated changes to rapidly changing consumer preferences and spending patterns.
E-commerce is dominating retail
Industry-wide, the global pandemic is accelerating e-commerce’s takeover of retail. A recent UBS analysis predicted that COVID-19 will immediately increase the online portion of total retail sales from 15 percent to 25 percent per year.
Brick-and-mortar storefronts are finding their direct-to-consumer (D2C) footing as online shopping across all products and services grows in popularity: one-third of Americans bought groceries online in March, and tens of millions of them did it for the first time. Similarly, American restaurants now make more than half of their revenue from delivery, drive-through, and takeout.
As retail further transitions its sales and engagement to e-commerce, consumers continue to expect communication on …
How AI can help contact centers resolve issues faster during crisis
With the disruption caused by coronavirus comes new challenges for customer service and support. In times of crisis, it’s important to stay focused on best practices and reinforce the capabilities of your contact center—not necessarily rip-and-replace them. In addition to being prepared with business continuity plans and the right infrastructure, businesses can ensure their contact center agents are able to manage increased call volumes by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to help scale support.
Traditionally, customer satisfaction (CSAT) has been regarded as the ultimate measure of customer loyalty. However, according to recent Gartner research, a more telling indicator of customer loyalty, especially amidst the stresses and sense of urgency surrounding COVID-19 and other times of crisis, is customer effort: the ease of customer interaction and resolution during a request. In fact, customer effort is 40 percent more …
Three steps for creating CX that sticks—and how to evolve it with artificial intelligence
Much has been said about the role that AI and data can play in customer experience. Much less has been discussed about the implications behind those changes. Consider this scenario: An application aimed at one customer at a time, providing an increased level of sophistication and satisfaction with each interaction, constantly improving experiences as it learns from the previous one. Each level calls for increased support in communications, data, and AI. Let’s explore those levels and how they evolve.
Level 1: Hospitality
Checking into a hotel, even with "priority" status, can be tedious and often result in nothing more than validating your identity and method of payment and being given a room.
Instead, leading providers are exploring what's possible with CX when you know what customers want, combine data from multiple sources, use instantaneous inferencing, reach them on multiple channels, and generally make life more pleasant for them—without being creepy …
Conversational chaos: Taming the paradox of choice in the CPaaS world
In the past four years, Opus Research has tracked exponential growth in the number of “Intelligent Assistants,” positioned as chatbots, message bots, and automated virtual agents. We’ve chronicled at least 100 success stories at banks, airlines, phone companies, cosmetics purveyors and online merchants. It is now time to address the challenges confronting executives at companies—perhaps the majority of implementations—that are neither successes or failures; just older, wiser and more experienced. Today, we stand at the dawn of the third decade of a new millennium. A self-selecting group of customer care professionals and contact center operators reap benefits from cloud-based technologies. Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) providers led by Amazon, Twilio and Vonage and bolstered by Salesforce, Microsoft and IBM offer unprecedented levels of “openness” and flexibility along with consumption-based pricing.
Each platform provider rounds out its offer with a “marketplace for microservices.” …
Three enterprise learning use cases for augmented reality
Emerging technologies such as AI, robotics, and intelligent automation are reshaping the labor force.
By 2022, global average skills stability—the proportion of core skills required to perform a job that will remain the same—is expected to be ~58%*. This sea-change means that many traditional jobs are already morphing into something different, or disappearing altogether. No less than 54% of all employees worldwide will require significant re- and upskilling within the next three years.
In the time since massive open online courses (MOOCs) debuted nearly a decade ago, the objectives and means of employee training and knowledge have evolved. The most recent innovation to enter the enterprise learning space is Augmented Reality (AR). For companies seeking to minimize how the skills gap impacts their business, AR promises a collaborative, interactive, and highly effective method to advance employees’ skills for unmet needs.
Here are three examples of how an enterprise can …
How to use conversational design principles to build a better bot and improve customer engagement
For businesses, the fundamental value of a chatbot is that it scales customer engagement.
For customers, though, a chatbot is only as valuable as the speed and ease with which it can answer a question or complete a task. For that reason, AI-based chatbots, which have natural language understanding (NLU) capabilities, are vastly preferred by users.
Human-like conversations don’t happen by accident, though. AI-based chatbots that engage customers and lead to better conversations are a result of smart decision-making based on communication design principles and thoughtful conversational design.
Today, companies have a number of platforms to choose from, to provide the APIs, infrastructure, and tools needed to build intelligent bots. These platforms are commonly referred to as conversational AI platforms, and let you focus on building a bot experience that works for your users without worrying about the underlying capabilities or infrastructure.
Some of the better known of conversational AI …
Three factors shaping the future of enterprise contact centers
In today’s market, there are more channels than ever on which brands and companies can engage with their customers. At the same time, customers expect a seamless experience from one channel to the next and want to engage with their chosen brands and companies on the channels they want, when they want to.
Not ready to rip-and-replace? No problem. Read about powerful ways to augment your contact center.
That means the contact center of old, with locked-in phone trees, long wait times, and unclear menu options—among a lot of other disadvantages—just don’t cut it anymore. Building strong relationships relies on clear, consistent, trusted communications before, during, and after a purchase, and that means the contact center is the lifeblood of customer loyalty. To help inform how you approach improving customer interactions, here are three critical factors shaping the future of enterprise contact centers into 2020 and beyond: a changing workforce, …
Marks & Spencer: Keep it simple and trust your team to build a customer service solution that lasts
As a major retailer selling everything from party food platters to duvet covers to kids' clothes, UK-based retailer Marks & Spencer has a customer base as diverse as its product offerings.
And yet, according to enterprise architect Akash Parmar, the company had, for a long time, tried to pigeon-hole customers into three or four interactive voice response (IVR) options any time a call came in.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t go well.
“The key challenge we were facing was the fact we just didn’t understand. We were getting ten million calls a year and didn’t clearly understand what these calls were about,” he said.
It goes to show that the challenges facing a multi-billion dollar company can be the same ones plaguing a one-person start-up: namely, understanding and then communicating effectively with your target audience.
To solve this challenge, the company created a Natural Language Platform (NLP) l that captured more than …