How AI Assistants Take Automation to a Superior Level
Digital artificial intelligence (AI) assistants are shaping a new model that allows businesses to keep customers engaged across the complete lifecycle, prodding them to take better actions sooner through higher degrees of availability, convenience, and personalization. And it’s not just consumers that are benefiting from AI assistants; businesses are realizing new opportunities to advance their automation using AI Bots and lower the cost to serve customers in ways that were not previously possible.
Conversational AI Assistants: Becoming the New Norm
Mobile devices, messaging apps, social media and video channels like FaceTime, WhatsApp, Slack, and others are now the norm for most consumers, offering immediate and convenient ways of connecting, communicating, transacting, and buying. The days of customers dialing a contact center number and waiting on hold until an agent is free to answer them are fast disappearing. Similar can be said for emailing a support query. So why do many businesses still put toll-free numbers and email contact forms as the interface to their service or support center?
Companies now have the chance to use digital AI assistants that enable chat-based self-service and engagement models at several times of the customer lifecycle thanks to recent breakthroughs in AI. Conversational AI solutions are replacing many human interactions in labor-intensive or repetitive procedures thanks to natural language processing (NLP) technology. An AI assistant can understand and respond to a customer using natural language, similar to how humans carry on a conversation. But rather than replace humans altogether, they can be put to work to deflect and automate common customer requests, leaving the unique or complicated issues for human agents to deal with.
The use of conversational AI, also known as digital assistants, virtual AI assistants, AI Bots, or chatbots goes beyond just replicating human communication to introduce higher degrees of automation to solving customer concerns. It does this by utilizing natural language as an interface and AI to support it. This offers a fresh wave of AI-powered automation and customer self-service models. For this reason, we foresee that digital AI assistants will become a more dominant interface in supporting customers throughout their different journeys with a business, from the first point of contact in a sales cycle through operational interactions, service and support, and more.
5 Digital AI Assistants Use Cases
The business applications for digital AI assistants are not just confined to customer service but span the complete customer lifecycle, engaging with a customer at the very first point of interaction in a sales or acquisition process right through to when a customer makes a claim, re-orders a product, upgrades their subscription, checks their delivery status, lodges a complaint, or leaves for another competitor. As such, many different departments in a business are finding their own use cases for implementing these AI-powered digital assistants to help them automate how they engage with customers from sales to operations, customer service, finance, marketing, and retention.
Think of all the many ways in which we interact with businesses, whether it’s a retailer, utility provider, an insurance company, our banking partners, or any other service provider. There are several customer engagement points, such as renewing a membership, getting a quote, purchasing a policy, monitoring our account, or submitting an application for a loan when an AI assistant may be quite helpful in providing quick and simple access for consumers.
Here are five use cases for digital AI assistants at various stages of the customer lifecycle:
1. Sales AI Assistant
Digital channels are critical to how we communicate and search for information. But they are also key to support a consumer’s decision-making and ultimate purchase; a journey that often entails many different steps and supporting processes. In the online world, converting a customer to purchase a product or service is a key business performance metric. The journey starts with a prospect searching and finding a vendor site, supported by top-of-the-funnel marketing tactics such as digital advertising (PPC, Social ads, retargeting, etc.). Once a user clicks, engagement commences but can still be a long way off from converting that customer to a sale.
A pre-sales AI assistant can support customers and keep them engaged in the journey towards a final purchase. It can offer personalized advice or customized quotes, answering customer queries, and providing more transparency of product and pricing details. Additionally, it greatly lowers the risk of client attrition and friction. During the interaction, it may also respond to any questions a client may have, or if it is unable to, it can refer them to an employee. A digital employee also plays a critical role in converting quotes into sales by quickly and conveniently helping clients through the process. Income and cost-effectiveness grow when conversion rates rise.
Our chatbot insurance case study demonstrates how an insurance business used a Quote Assist bot to enhance sales conversions by over 11%. Here’s a short video that shows how the Quote Helper Bot was implemented by the client.
2. Customer Onboarding AI Assistant
Customer onboarding is essential since it creates a revenue potential if you can sign up new customers and get them up and running as soon and effectively as you can. However, certain sectors may find it difficult and expensive to onboard new customers, particularly if there are several phases in the customer experience that call for the gathering, verification, and approval of documents and information. For example, insurance companies need to onboard new customers with policies and banks need to set up customers with mortgages or loans. Anyone who has been through these journeys knows well that they often have a lot of friction and delays while proper proof documents and details are gathered, scanned, or mailed to and from the provider in an effort to gain final approval.
To make the onboarding process quicker and more effective, an onboarding AI bot may proactively connect with consumers on a messaging platform and maintain their interest throughout each step of the process. The bot can request all the required documents as image uploads, validate the data, and collate all the information. This takes away a lot of the friction compared with human workers managing the gathering of documents via email or white mail. Additionally, by integrating the business systems with the onboarding bot, it will be possible to update document pictures and data in the customer record automatically, removing the need for personnel to manually key in or scan documents and enter them into the client’s account details. And, like with any bot, a path to human handover means that at any stage a customer can raise a ticket or be handed over to a live agent.
Here are nine compelling ways that a digital onboarding assistant can transform a traditional onboarding experience.
3. Account AI Assistant
Checking the balance of an account and requesting other account information are very common customer interactions, whether it’s relating to their bank account, utility account, or some membership account, However, the costs associated with manning contact center live chat or phone lines to deal with routine account status requests are prohibitive, eating into valuable agent time that could be better spent on more complex queries. An Account AI Assistant can engage with customers 24/7 on their preferred channel and answer account-related requests, such as account balance, payment due dates, most recent transactions, among others. To ensure security and data protection, the account bot can authenticate a customer and access their data through secure integration with backend business systems.
And as with any digital assistant AI solution, a path to a live agent offers a more collaborative model that leads to a superior experience where the live agents respond to unique or tricky account issues while the bot automates the handling of more routine queries. Agent productivity rises, CSAT increases and, the costs to serve go down.
4. Customer Service AI Assistant
There are multiple use cases for digital AI assistants in customer service that I have covered in a previous blog. Think of almost any customer service interaction and you’ll generally discover how bot technology can help automate and manage tasks. From handling complaints to tracking the status of an order, updating a customers account details, setting an appointment, or providing technical support, the application of conversational AI is transforming traditional customer service engagement models. But these AI assistants can also play a critical role in call deflection, where an inbound customer phone call can be routed via the IVR to a text channel where the customer can click a link to a bot and self-serve.
For more information, read this post on customer service chatbot use cases.
5. Renewals AI Assistant
AI bots may also be pro-active, reaching out to customers to remind them of upcoming renewal deadlines and give them a perk to sign up ahead of time or a fresh offer to take advantage of any changes in their circumstances. A better relationship is created by communicating with a client more regularly during the subscription cycle, making them less inclined to shop about and switch providers when the time for renewal approaches. This lowers the price of proactive outreach while simultaneously increasing the rate of client retention.
Discover how an AI bot platform can help you to keep customers engaged and help you build compelling AI assistants that increase your conversion and retention rates and lower your costs to serve.