In today’s business environment, technology is a key aspect to making procedures more efficient, both for companies and their clients. In that sense, Artificial Intelligence is becoming more and more available for brands to implement innovative strategies in different areas of their companies. A research conducted by Adobe found that, today, 15% of enterprises are already using AI, and 31% said it is on the agenda for the next 12 months.

Overall, by 2022, global spending on AI will grow to $7.3 billion a year, up from $2 billion in 2018 (Juniper Research), and, unlike what some may think, the biggest investments will come from client-facing areas. In fact, a study by Forrester revealed that 46% of companies that implement AI today use it on their sales and marketing departments today, and 40% on customer support. But are we sure this is what customers want?

Customers: pro or against AI?

As time goes by, artificial intelligence is slowly but steadily becoming more pervasive in everyday life. It makes daily tasks and small chores easier for companies and consumers alike, and that’s why customers are adapting so quickly to this new reality. In fact, even without noticing, according to Pega, 77% of consumers already use an AI powered service or device today.

AI is proving to be beneficial in many areas and can even manage to fix some common errors and client frustrations present in traditional customer service. Consumers are sick and tired of experiencing delays on delivery, lack of control over interactions, lack of personalization, and, foremost, lack of availability when and where they need support from a company. Even if this means after business hours. They want their expectations to be met.

To put it simply, these issues are related to the absence of a customer centric strategy, a deficiency that might have a meaningful impact on sales and overall business success. But different companies’ experiences demonstrate that Artificial Intelligence can help brands tackle these issues.

For instance, Easynvest, a Brazilian digital investment platform, implemented a chatbot powered by Artificial Intelligence, that allowed them to provide 24/7 support to investors, achieving more than 260K conversations and 57% more customer retention. For Movistar, one of the biggest telecommunications companies in Latin America and Spain, the case was similar: using AgentBot increased their retention by 80% and achieved more than 2.5 million conversations while lowering costs by 30%.

So, specifically, how can AI help businesses that want to improve their relationship with their clients?

7 Advantages of Artificial Intelligence in Customer Support

AI can help bring:

  1. Greater control over interactions. Systems that use AI are more accurate in every way. The information provided is more objective and the consumer has greater control over the conversation.
  2. 24/7 Availability. Even if you are not, communication channels are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With AI, brands can help their customers, even if they cannot afford or don’t have the time to be answering customer requests all the time. This makes the consumer feel constantly supported, which is excellent for the brand.
  3. Faster problem solving. Unlike human operators, virtual assistants or chatbots can simultaneously assist a large number of customers and provide answers in real time. Users don’t have to wait to get solutions because everything is done much more quickly, making interactions shorter and less frequent.
  4. Less consumer effort because the dialogue is clearer, consumers don’t need to make great efforts to get their questions answered and solve their problems. Keeping each customer’s records and past requests also makes interactions much easier.
  5. Greater trust. Consumer confidence in a brand is also much higher because there is no risk of human error when solving problems.
  6. Greater privacy and security. When using AI supported channels users don’t worry so much about the personal information they provide because the system protects their privacy.
  7. More customized interactions. Virtual assistants or chatbots learn from every interaction with the consumer. This information, combined with the customer’s records, is used to increasingly customize their interactions, making them feel a brand knows them and remember their preferences.

As we can see, overall, clients have a more seamless, integrated and personalised experience when AI is implemented. Nonetheless, not all benefits are for customers. From a company’s standpoint, this technology is also helping streamline and automate processes.

For a brand, undoubtedly, AI’s greatest benefit is that it helps build customer loyalty. A satisfied customer is loyal, and a loyal customer improves a brand’s performance. And this is crucial. With how big the market is, if you let a customer down or don’t manage to WOW them, the higher the risk they will replace you next time. In fact, a Salesforce’s study confirmed in 2018 that 52% of consumers are more inclined to change brands if a company doesn’t offer personalized communication. In United States alone, poor customer service is costing business more than $75 billion a year.

Another great advantage of artificial intelligence is constantly learning from you customers’ behaviour. This is an excellent method to obtain valuable information from leads and customers. If used properly, this information can help you grow your brand significantly since data is a great source for better market research and identifying trends. In fact, according to Narrative Science, 61% of those who are using technology to implement innovative strategies, said they are using AI to identify opportunities in data that would otherwise be missed.

In short, customer behaviour has been changing at an extreme pace and the companies that are, indeed, putting the client at the heart of the business know that, to keep up with customers’ demands, they need to step up on the experience they offer. Implementing Artificial Intelligence in customer service can help companies not only reduce costs and boost sales, but also differentiate from competitors and improve the services their offer their clients, enhancing their customer experience and making their procedures more efficient.

The picture is clear. In order to survive this constant innovating environment, companies that haven’t implemented Artificial Intelligence yet, will need to consider AI seriously in order to rise to the challenge. Ultimately, AI is not a cost. It is an investment to connect better with clients, either through customer service, marketing strategies or data analysis.

Originally published here.

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