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“/>(Representative image)Although the jury is still out there on the impact of AI in customer experience and care, the global market size for AI in customer care industry is estimated to rise from the current USD 1.7 billion to USD 4.2 billion by 2027. Some researchers say Gen-AI will power almost 95 per cent of customer interactions by 2025.

There have been numerous cases of “too-little-too-early” of AI usage in India from MakeMyTrip to ICICI Bank, there is a case for improving customer care using AI the right way. Businesses that offer AI in customer service grow revenues five to eight per cent faster, as per one study.

Clearly, customer service has evolved from traditional call centres to sophisticated AI-driven systems. Marketers fancy technology for more impact and measurement but whether they have considered all aspects before migrating is a moot question.

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in customer service brings numerous benefits, enhancing customer satisfaction, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Although there is a call centre names Customers 24/7, AI can make every call centre function 24/7.

AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants will ensure round-the-clock support, helping customers receive assistance anytime they need it. It is important to provide global toll-free access numbers for today’s global travellers. An all-time availability helps businesses cater to global customers across different time zones without the need for additional staffing. Look at how the fashion retailer H&M used an AI chatbot on its website and mobile app to handle customer queries about product availability, order status, and returns. Their customers get instant responses, enhancing their shopping experience – unlike many Indian retailers where even chatbots tell us they could not understand what the customer wants.

Imagine handling multiple customer queries at the same time. AI systems can handle multiple inquiries simultaneously, significantly reducing wait times. By quickly addressing run-of-the-mill questions and issues, AI frees up human agents to focus on more complex problems. BankAm’s virtual assistant, Erica, helps customers with tasks such as checking account balances, transferring money, and even offering financial advice. Erica’s ability to handle numerous inquiries at once has improved response times and customer satisfaction. HDFC is trying its best to imitate this but not anywhere near Erica.AI has the ability to analyse customer data and offer personalised recommendations and solutions. A tailored approach such as this was never imaginable when Peppers and Rogers first mooted the one-to-one marketing decades ago. Not only this resolves issues more effectively but also enhances the overall customer experience by making interactions more relevant. Amazon’s AI-driven recommendation engine is a classic example. It suggests products based on a customer’s browsing and purchase history. Additionally, their customer service chatbots use past interaction data to provide personalised assistance, making the support experience more fulfilling all around.

Implementing AI in customer service reduces operational costs by automating routine tasks and minimising the need for a large support staff. Businesses can re-allocate resources to other critical areas and enhance overall productivity and ROI. Sephora, the beauty retailer, uses a chatbot on Facebook Messenger to provide product recommendations and beauty tips. This has reduced the load on human agents and lowered operational costs while maintaining high service standards.

Gen-AI is capable of delivering consistent service quality by sticking to accurate and uniform responses for routine queries. Unlike human agents, who may vary in their expertise and performance, AI systems provide reliable information and solutions every time. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines employs an AI chatbot named BlueBot to assist customers with booking flights, providing travel information, and handling FAQs. This has ensured that all customers receive consistent and precise information and improved the airline’s service quality drastically.

As with any tech solutions, easy scalability is another virtue. Scale is needed to handle increasing volumes of customer interactions without compromising service quality. This is particularly beneficial during peak times or business growth phases. Look at Uber that uses AI to manage customer support. Their system can handle a vast number of inquiries related to rides, payments, and account issues, scaling seamlessly during peak hours and busy seasons.

Zara utilises Gen-AI to analyse customer feedback and buying patterns. This data-driven approach allowed Zara to tailor their inventory and marketing strategies to ensure meeting customer expectations in a timely manner. AI systems collect and analyse vast amounts of customer data, providing valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences. That can help to improve the product offerings, services, and overall customer experience.

Finally, Gen-AI will be able to anticipate customer needs and issues before they arise, offering proactive solutions. This proactive approach will result inprevention of problems and enhance customer satisfaction by addressing potential concerns early. Spotify, the music streaming service, uses AI to monitor user activity and detect potential issues with the app. They proactively reach out to users and offer solutions to ensure a smoother and more enjoyable UX.

In a recent survey, as many as 64 per cent of business owners believed AI would improve customer relationships and that it can increase average order value by up to 47 per cent.

Marketers should remember that Indian consumers do not appreciate plain vanilla AI customer care after being exposed to global brands and there is no novelty in introducing a chatbot that cannot do pretty nothing much. As much as 73 per cent of customer respondents expect the ability to start on one communication channel and continue on another without restarting.

Indeed, the old saying in customer care that “a smile is a curve that sets things straight” is no more possible with call centre calls, so let Gen-AI solve the real pain points of customers and set things straight for all!

  • Published On Jun 28, 2024 at 10:06 AM IST

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