Conversational Process Automation: An AI-Powered Tool

Let’s look at what a CPA is as well as why it needs to be implemented in order to solve problems that customer service departments are facing.

In an age in which technology has led us all to a culture of instant gratification, a traditional approach to customer service will no longer meet the needs of modern customers. With the cost of complex customer conversations only going up, traditional contact center practices won’t be feasible for businesses, either. To bridge this gap, companies are turning to AI-powered solutions that allow them to accommodate an increasing volume of inbound service queries without sacrificing customer satisfaction.

Modern consumers have become increasingly connected through an expanding array of contact channels, and they’re not inclined to wait around for businesses to catch up with their increasing expectations. Service departments not only need to keep up with this volume, but they need to deliver the excellent service customers have come to expect.

Seem impossible? For a traditional customer service approach, it might be, but with the adoption of AI-driven Conversational Process Automation (CPA), this is the future of customer service. CPA uses machine learning to resolve customer inquiries without human intervention, automating the process end-to-end — even when multiple third-party systems such as billing, order processing, and account management are needed.

Here are two key challenges customer service departments are facing that can rapidly be solved by CPA adoption:

1: Understanding the Customer’s Need Cost-Effectively

In order to resolve a customer’s need, contact centers must first determine what that need is. This is a high-cost challenge for businesses, and the cost is only rising as ticket volume and customer expectations soar.

One popular approach to narrowing the customer’s intent is employing a phone tree that guides the customer through lists of increasing specificity, but customers don’t always cooperate. Think of the last time you were asked to “Dial one for billing information” by an automated machine. Were you happy to answer the ten questions it prompted you? Or were you frustrated when your particular issue wasn’t an available option after all of your time spent on the phone? These tools, although helpful, are far from ideal. Consumers often abandon these systems, opting either to speak with an agent, defeating the purpose of the tool, or to end the call and purchase from a different company in the future, hurting the brand.

2: Switching Between Multiple Systems to Resolve Tickets

Once the customer’s need is determined, the service department has to address it. Even the most simple of requests may require several steps to resolve, and these steps are often carried out in different software programs.

For example, if a consumer wants to upgrade their subscription from a base to premium level, the agent may start in the CRM software but have to switch to a backend application to complete their request. This need to “swivel-chair” back and forth weighs on the customer’s patience as well as the agent’s, and each manual transition between one application to another adds time and cost to the ticket resolution.

Conversational Process Automation Offers an Intelligent Solution

The best way to begin to implement CPA will be by identifying the three most expensive types of tickets handled by a company’s customer service department. These will be the customer issues that are repetitive and frequent – and by extension, the most expensive overall. Focusing efforts on automating these heavy hitters end-to-end will expedite and boost return on investment with this new technology.

As businesses realize the benefits of Conversational Process Automation, both financially and operationally, an increasing number of companies will transition toward using AI-based tools to aid their customer service team and move away from legacy approaches.

While many popular customer service tools such as phone trees and web forms work by deflecting customer questions, CPA focuses on resolving them. Instead of offering the customer a list of frequently asked questions from which to choose, CPA is able to recognize the question they are asking, and not only respond with next steps, but actually execute these steps through to resolve the problem. This system doesn’t rely on a fixed algorithm that is programmed to regurgitate a set dialogue for a given input but uses deep learning to understand customer conversations to deliver an optimal, tailored response and resolution.

Companies Need Customer Service Tools That Drive Results

Remember, the resolutions to almost all of the customer service inquiries are not going to be conversations, but actions. Customers don’t just want to talk about their issue, they want it to be solved. Refunds, upgrades, cancellations, etc. are all satisfied by completing some type of transaction. CPA is able to connect conversations which identify a customer’s need with intelligent processes that execute the appropriate solution to the issue.

API-powered Artificial Intelligence provides a distinct advantage for completing these actions because it works seamlessly between all backend systems. Think of the API as a translator, enabling the different software to communicate and interact with one another. When the AI determines what the customer is requesting, the API allows it to interface with the backend applications that will actually resolve the customer’s problem. This fully automated approach is able to deliver this resolution with no loss of quality. In fact, this process has been shown to correspond with higher CSAT scores than the department had before.

Excellent, timely customer service made possible by CPA can even become a differentiating factor for brands that are able to master this technology, attracting and retaining customers that feel valued. The same is true for retaining talent. Customer service reps, no longer burdened by an onslaught of mundane, repetitive tasks, will enjoy higher job satisfaction and less burnout. This newly found time will also enable agents to address complex service complaints and deliver a more personable customer experience.

Businesses are now finding it possible to capitalize on this synergistic relationship between automation and personalization with the adoption of CPA. Looking forward, as more and more customer service departments employ this technology, customer expectations will only continue to rise.

Customer service is reaching a pivotal point where businesses must either embrace the technological tools of the future or risk their reputation by falling behind competitors. Either way, it will no longer be an option to stay the status quo.

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