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Six Trends Moving the Needle in Customer Care: AI, VCAs, Chatbots

Consumers are digitally savvy, well informed, and more demanding than ever. Not investing in resources that digitally transform customer care will become a competitive disadvantage.

This series explores six technology trends for delivering smarter and more strategic customer care.

Trend #4: AI, VCAs, Chatbots: The Future of Customer Care

If you’re tasked with evolving your firm’s customer care strategies, take a moment to consider these key customer care statistics:

  • By 2022, 20 percent of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI, an increase of 400 percent from 2018
  • 25 percent of customer service operations will use virtual customer assistants by 2020
  • Organizations report a reduction of up to 70 percent in call, chat, and/or email inquiries after implementing a VCA
  • Organizations report a savings of 33 percent per voice engagement after implementing a VCA
  • By 2022, 70 percent of customer interactions will involve an emerging technology such as machine learning applications, chatbots, or mobile messaging, up from 15 percent in 2018

These statistics demonstrate that as more customers engage on digital channels, VCAs will continue to be implemented across enterprises, supported by improvements in emerging technologies.

AI Enhances Customer Service Experiences

From chatbots and virtual customer assistants to machine learning and natural language processing, artificial intelligence (AI) continues to be widely adopted by customer service organizations, allowing for new ways to connect with customers.

However, the goal is not to replace human contact – it’s to enhance agent and customer experiences with intelligence to supplement those interactions. For example, machine learning analyzes incoming customer case issues and allows agents to understand customers’ requests. It anticipates the appropriate solution to assign cases to the right agents and accelerates case resolution.

Microsoft's Clippit (commonly referred to as ‘Clippy’)

Microsoft’s Clippit (commonly referred to as ‘Clippy’)

Virtual Customer Assistants Increase Customer Satisfaction

Remember Clippy? Thankfully, virtual customer assistants have come a long way since the late 1990s when Microsoft’s Clippit (commonly referred to as ‘Clippy’) was first introduced. Clippy is often remembered as annoyingly persistent, frequently popping up when not desired.

By contrast, today’s VCAs provide welcome help when a customer is engaged with your existing support channel. In 2015, Microsoft introduced Cortana, the new and improved Clippy, which is available on Windows 10 desktops and mobile devices. Today, customers can verbally ask Cortana anything from, “Hey Cortana, what new emails do I have?” to “Hey Cortana, set the temperature to 72 degrees,” connecting to the customer’s integrated smart home thermostat.

Beyond Chatbots, Cognitive Agents Impact Business

Customers expect innovative, relevant, and personalized engagement. You must engage customers on their terms – in a consistent, natural, and intuitive way. Cognitive technology is the new competitive advantage for enterprises focused on enhancing the customer experience.

Cognitive agents can offer 24/7 customer service covering anything from password requests to technical support questions – all communicated in the customer’s natural language. No longer reciting scripted responses, cognitive conversations are driven by conversational intents rather than an expected flow. These cognitive agents are trained to understand natural language, learning over time and capable of a wide range of tasks.

Learn more about AI, VCAs, and chatbots in our guide, Top Technology Trends for Smarter, Strategic Customer Care and take a look back at previously posted trends.

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