Enhancing customer relationships with the power of AI

Customer Service and Chatbots with AI

Customers today are well-connected, informed and savvy. While there may be some loyalty to a brand, they are more interested in solving their problems quickly. If a competitor can help them quicker or give them a simpler solution, they are likely to make the jump. 

This is where automated communications – and especially AI-powered solutions – can help. It seems counter-intuitive: using AI to improve your relationships with customers. Surely, human-to-human interaction is the gold standard for customer service? “For truly excellent customer service, you need to use the best aspects of automated communications and pair that with personal follow-up and action”, according to Winston Taylor, MD of Gikko.

Chatbots don’t deliver instant loyalty or necessarily help customers resolve unique problems, but they can handle 80% of your standard customer questions and issues. As a result, your customer service teams can focus all of their efforts on more intricate issues. 

Here are some best practices and common mistakes to avoid when using AI in your customer communications.

Best practices

Choose the right tool for the job

Not all chatbots are created equal. If you have a complex product offering, it makes sense to introduce AI into your chatbot. With conversational AI, you can train an LLM, or large language model, on your own FAQ and product documentation, and provide chat functionality to customers to answer most of their questions. These chatbots can interact fluently with your customers and give them immediate feedback on most of their questions.

If you have an e-commerce store and customers frequently have the same questions, it might be better to build a chat flow and provide clear steps for them to get answers, quickly. 

For many Gikko customers, a well-structured chat flow is sufficient to solve most of their customers’ queries. With careful planning and thorough testing, you can provide your customers with excellent customer service on a platform they already use, while reducing the load on your team.

The right customer at the right time

With the power of automated communications and machine learning, you can also reach the right customer at the right time. Most businesses have a wealth of data about their customers, including their buying behaviour and what kinds of products they are interested in. On a larger scale, companies can start identifying trends and opportunities that they might have missed. 

What this means is that companies can reach out to the right customer at the right time. For example, if you know your customers will be online just after payday, be ready with targeted advertising and special offers, and if you have permission, reach out to them via WhatsApp or email.

Show empathy

Above all, be there for your customers when they need you. When someone reaches out to you via telephone or chat, they are very likely already frustrated or angry. Don’t make things worse by making them feel they have to talk to a machine when they really need to talk to a real person. 

Common mistakes

  • Letting AI write your important emails. In a B2B context, it’s critical to tailor your communications for your client. Don’t let an AI write the emails that could land you an important business deal or save a relationship. 
  • Putting customers into endless logic loops. The worst chatbots don’t have an exit button, or a way for customers to connect with a real person. 
  • Not using analytics to improve. With all of the data at your disposal about how customers are interacting with you, it’s important to identify areas of improvement. In addition, customers’ common pain points can help you address shortcomings in your products and services, and even reveal new opportunities to serve your customers better.
  • Letting a robot impersonate a human. Do not activate a chatbot and try to give customers the impression they are talking to a human. It might work most of the time, but when customers find out they will feel duped; completely the opposite of what you tried to achieve.

Chatbots and conversational AI are all around us now, and businesses large and small are using these tools to serve their customers better. It’s possible that 5 years from now, all of our interactions with big brands will be with a robot voice that is indistinguishable from a real person. Right now, there is a big opportunity for businesses to lead with their customer communications.

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