The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has posed some unprecedented challenges to both public and private organizations. Measures implemented to control the spread of the virus and the impact caused by them have created confusion, uncertainty, and fear amongst consumers.
The immediate need for clarity among customers on a variety of issues, from loan payments to booking flights, from cancellations to insurance claims and mortgage payments, has led to a huge spike in the number of calls received by the contact centers. A majority of customers prefer call support as their initial channel of communication since it allows for greater flexibility and provides a human touch.
Customers want an opportunity to explain, reason or negotiate with contact center agents. Also, they generally prefer to solve urgent issues by calling for support rather than use other channels.
Many organizations across industries are ill-equipped to deal with such a massive increase in call volumes, leading to longer wait-times as the support staff serves other customers.
Adding to the turmoil is the need to comply with social distancing norms that have forced the support staff to shift to a work-from-home setup. Moreover, there is a shortage of service staff as workers fall sick and are unable to report to work.
The pandemic has brought to the forefront the pressing need for businesses to be empathetic towards the needs of their customers while also implementing significant changes in their operational setups.
In times of crisis, a business’s ability to provide quick and compassionate service will enhance its brand value and go a long way in building a loyal customer base.
The obvious question, which then arises is, “How can an organization respond to these challenges?” Let’s find out.
Before delving into the potential solutions, it is imperative to understand the key areas of concern that require swift action by the organizations. These include –
To navigate through the crisis, organizations must modernize their existing IT infrastructure. As a part of this modernization process, our customers and several large enterprises are adopting a myriad of advanced technologies. But the most popular of them are conversational AI and data analytics.
The combination of these technologies is enabling companies to effectively manage the growing demand for customer support, while reducing the burden on the support staff.
While analytics provide insights on the changing customer behaviour, emerging customer issues and common roadblocks in customer service operations, conversational AI can be used to deliver the first line of service and improve agent productivity.
Utilizing data to the fullest has never been more important. In the midst of this volatility, contact centers must utilize data to
This can be done in the following manner –
In addition to these two approaches, analytics can also be used to identify and deflect non-critical calls, requests and contacts to virtual agents or other self-service channels.
Conversational AI is an advanced technology that enables computers to process, understand and respond to text or voice inputs in natural language. Conversational AI platforms can be used to build conversational user interfaces, chatbots and virtual assistants which can be integrated with messaging platforms, social media platforms, SMS, and website chat.
Conversational AI technologies like chatbots and conversational IVR are designed to understand and provide answers to customer queries with minimal agent intervention. They can act as first line of support and improve the productivity of human support staff in the following ways –
Learn More: Human Handoff In Service Desk Bots
To realize the potential of chatbots completely amid this crisis, organizations must be mindful of a few things –
There are several real-life scenarios where companies have adopted chatbots amid COVID-19 to keep up with the growing customer needs –
Since March, it has assisted 350,000 clients who had trouble meeting their credit card, auto loan and other payment obligations, thereby reducing the call volume to the bank’s contact centres.
The bot has handled more than 20,000 transactions handled monthly and 70% of chats handled have an average handling time of less than 2 minutes. The bot reduced the company’s operational cost by 60%.
We, at Acuvate Software, are helping clients to streamline their customer service operations and reduce costs through our chatbot-builder platform called BotCore.
BotCore presents several benefits – (i) it is an intuitive, no-code platform to easily build AI-powered bots, (ii) it is versatile and can seamlessly integrate with existing legacy systems and AI services, (iii) it allows the connection of existing bots across different departments to create a strong digital network, (iv) it is deployable on both on-site and cloud environments, (v) it facilitates the creation of chatbots that can simulate highly complex conversations.
The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation initiatives in different functions of an organization and customer service is no different. To build a resilient customer service and infuse agility in day-to-day operations, organizations must continually evolve and adapt to the changing times. They must revamp their existing IT infrastructures to manage the pandemic-driven needs of the customers.
This response to the crisis is likely to transform the future of customer service forever. Adopting conversational AI and data analytics is a good starting point for organizations looking to transform their operations.
Since it is hard to predict the end of the crisis, organizations must plan both for short-term continuity as well as enabling long-term operational changes.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, please feel free to get in touch with one of our chatbot experts for a personalized consultation.