The right customer service automation or chatbot support approach can be the cornerstone of a long-term customer satisfaction, retention, and growth strategy. The wrong strategy is a big waste of money that could harm your relationship with customers.
It’s time to sort out the difference.
In this blog, we’ll explore…
- The potential power and capability of AI customer service
- The reasons why most AI customer service implementations fall short
- What a great AI partner really looks like
- How you can take your first steps toward customer service automation
Why AI Customer Service is Business’ Latest ROI Creator
Customer service automation eliminates inefficiencies consumers have put up with for decades to build a better, more satisfying experience than ever while also lowering costs for businesses.
Customer Service Savings
Generally speaking, an AI customer service agent or “chatbot” can process customer service inquiries at around 50% the cost of a human agent. That means the more call center requests you can redirect toward AI, the more you can save. The higher the degree of personalization your bot possesses, the more cost reduction and ROI it can generate (more on that later).
Customer Satisfaction Boost
People love self-service: there’s no wait or hold times and when you’re successful, you feel the psychological reward of having done it yourself. That’s why chatbots are associated with major CSAT boosts (20-30%). In particular, younger or more tech-savvy customer bases are highly likely to use AI or chatbot customer service experiences with a high degree of success and satisfaction.
How it Goes Wrong: Nightmare AI Implementations
So, if AI is so powerful, everybody must doing it and doing it pretty well, right? Wrong!
For all its power, there is a lot of noise in the AI space, and the somewhat “trendy” nature of the technology means a lot of providers are selling the enthusiasm about the technology, not an approach that’s built to work for you.
There are three key ways AI customer service implementation can go massively wrong:
- Long deployment time leading to long ROI timeline
- Expensive up-front investment leading to long ROI timeline
- Dissatisfying or weak AI experience harming customer satisfaction
Those pitfalls exist largely because of the way solutions are packaged and bundled. The providers know that a certain percentage of their customers will fall victim to them, but AI is such a conceptual gold mine that many aren’t necessarily focused on each individual client’s results.
Let’s take a look at how both the biggest and the simplest solution providers often fail to provide true AI ROI in a timely manner.
The “Comprehensive & Customized” Solution
There’s no question that industry leading technology companies have done a spectacular job branding their AI offerings over the last decade. For that reason, many businesses flock to the household names, assuming their big-vision approach is the path to ROI.
Those recognizable names come with commensurate price tags, however, and those big providers are managing AI deployments for dozens, if not hundreds of businesses at once. Their comprehensive approach builds a powerful AI framework, but may require significant updates or major integrations to your existing investments.
All that means the timeline to go-live, and therefore ROI, can be much longer than you’re expecting when you’re first reviewing providers.
That means that, while your business may eventually get a powerful AI customer service engine when you work with the big, custom-built providers, you could be working somewhere else before your vision realizes any value!
The “Hassle-Free & Inexpensive” Solution
At the opposite end of the spectrum is the “out-of-the-box” chatbot solution. From a value perspective, they’re basically the opposite of the Comprehensive & Customized options: they create a deployable chatbot quickly and inexpensively, but they lack the thoughtful strategy, integration, and specific functionality that more developed approaches offer.
That total lack of customization can lead to major issues once the chatbot or AI agent is deployed. If the bot lacks functionality that your customers want or need, the whole experience feels frustrating and like a waste of time.
Those consistent failed or disappointing experiences actually harm customer satisfaction, which is the fastest way to turn your AI customer service strategy into a failure. At the end of the day, no-code or “hassle-free” chatbots offer very little of the value of a true AI customer service strategy and risk harming the reputation and satisfaction you’ve already built with traditional call center-based service.
Visualizing a Balanced AI Customer Service Implementation
Based on the nightmare scenarios we described above, getting into the AI customer service space might seem a little intimidating. Finding balance between value, deployment time, and customer-centric functionality can feel like an impossible task, especially when you’re focused on business and not tech.
What you really need is the right partner – a partner who understands your business imperatives, knows what your customers need, and has an implementation framework that puts you on the path to ROI without a lengthy, elaborate deployment.
Let’s think about some more qualities a great partner should have…
- A track record of successful AI customer service deployments
- An experienced team, especially in the AI space
- An understanding of your industry and the functionality you require
- A clear roadmap for how they’ll deliver ROI in a timely manner
If you know someone who meets all those criteria, you’ve identified a solid potential partner! If you’re still searching for the right integrator, we may be able to help you further, though.
Learn More from a Team of AI Veterans
If you’re hoping to deploy AI customer service to create a highly functional, personalized experience, reduce your customer service costs, improve CSAT, or navigate your technical debt to create a responsive, modern feel, rSTAR can put you on the fast track to success.
We have experience implementing AI customer service agents at the Fortune 500 level, but we also pride ourselves on creating a collection of accelerators that help organizations of any size deploy satisfying AI agents in less than one month at a price point that makes sense.
If you’re interested in learning more about our AI implementation approach or would like to start a conversation about how we could help your business improve, modernize, and streamline customer experience, please join us on October 22 for our upcoming webinar The Fast Track to AI Customer Service.