How AI can improve your customer experience in 2023
The meteoric growth of AI has influenced every aspect of modern business. Today, organizations tap into a combination of machine learning and artificial intelligence tools to guide decision-making processes, structure and analyze data, and stay one step ahead of their competitors.
AI can also be used to streamline and optimize the customer experience (CX), which will allow you to remove friction from the buyer journey, generate more leads, and boost your sales to previously unseen heights.
This article will explore the ins and outs of AI customer experience and highlight the many ways that CX can be improved using artificial intelligence. Specifically, we’ll cover:
- What AI customer experience is
- How AI can improve customer experiences
- Examples of AI customer experience
What is AI customer experience?
AI customer experience is the process of using machine learning, conversational applications, chatbots, and other forms of AI-powered technology to enhance the efficiency of every customer touchpoint.
AI customer experience solutions don’t replace human support agents — rather, they work with them to complete repetitive tasks and expedite workflows. AI software can give customers quick answers to simple inquiries, allowing human agents to spend more of their time resolving complex issues.
AI customer experience solutions are important because they can process vast amounts of data quickly, enabling them to meet consumers’ needs effectively. You can also use AI’s robust data-processing capabilities to create targeted ads that are highly relevant to your customers’ needs, interests, and behaviors.
How AI can improve customer experiences
AI and customer experience have become inextricably linked in the modern business environment. As the array of AI-powered tools continues to expand, businesses are finding all sorts of exciting new use cases for both artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.
By following suit and integrating AI into the customer journey, you stand to accomplish the following goals:
One of the most impactful use cases of AI customer experience involves leveraging this technology to better understand consumers’ preferences.
With the right AI tools in place, your organization can harvest, structure, and analyze massive quantities of customer data, including purchasing history, browsing habits, and demographic information. Cumulatively, these datasets will help you present customers with personalized recommendations that feature products or services relevant to them and their buying habits.
The key benefit of AI-driven personalization is that you can help customers access the services or products they need and want faster. Instead of spending unnecessary time browsing your product or service listings, customers can use your personalized suggestions to find offerings and make purchases.
By removing friction from the product search process, you encourage more purchases, boosting your total sales volume and nurturing feelings of loyalty among consumers.
Provide self-service tools
Using AI to provide resources such as chatbots for customer interactions empowers your user base to be their own advocates and problem-solvers. Chatbots can answer basic user questions, even outside of regular office hours. This functionality allows you to offer 24/7 support without bringing in more customer service agents or incurring significant overhead.
Chatbots can also suggest related articles, guides, instructions, and other content to users based on their queries. This functionality allows customers to solve problems independently without the need to interact with your support agents. In this way, chatbots can reduce your team’s workload while enhancing the customer experience.
Integrating chatbots and other self-service tools into your support model can also provide valuable insight into where customers tend to get stuck along their journeys.
For instance, if you’re receiving a huge influx of inquiries about pricing, it’s likely that customers are having trouble finding your pricing page. You can use these insights to remove friction from the customer journey and make it easier for them to find the information they’re looking for.
You can also analyze your helpful content to see which resources receive the most engagement and views. You can use this data to better respond to customer needs, improve their overall experience, and curate your content library to align with search habits.
Resolve issues quicker
A chatbot can generally pull up relevant answers and content faster than humans. They can also filter spam so your support agents don’t waste time addressing non-issues or answering basic questions that are already covered in existing content.
The speed with which AI-powered chatbots can respond is a big selling point for consumers. According to 2022 data, 68% of customers find the speed of chatbot responses appealing. Additionally, chatbots allow customers to avoid waiting on a support agent when they need an answer to a quick question.
Using AI to implement a callback queue is another way of expediting the issue resolution process. With this feature in place, users can request a callback and hang up without losing their place in line.
AI customer experience solutions can process more data than humans and quickly find minor errors before they become major ones or negatively impact the integrity of organizational data. Unlike human support agents, AI doesn’t become fatigued by repetitive issues, which means there’s a reduced chance of errors.
AI further minimizes errors via its robust data-processing capabilities. By analyzing more data, AI can provide context for decisions. More informed decisions lead to fewer errors, as the AI algorithm can view data holistically.
Using AI to reduce mistakes is a great cost-saving strategy as well. If all of your agents spend just 30 minutes per day remedying errors, this wasted time and lost productivity will have a huge impact on your bottom line. With AI, you can drastically reduce or, in many cases, eliminate the need for manual data entry and error correction.
Anticipate customer needs
AI algorithms use predictive analytics to understand current consumer behavior. AI can also be used to analyze customer behavior with the aim of determining what they’ll want or need in the future.
Using AI to anticipate customer needs is a wise move for any operation, but it’s an especially great strategy for subscription businesses.
In this use case, the AI will look at a customer’s data to predict when they’ll need a new order. As that time draws near, the customer management platform will send them a message asking them if they want to reorder.
This improves the CX because it demonstrates that the brand remembers the customer and is conscious of their needs. Most customers will also be more likely to make recurring purchases when they can do so by simply hitting a couple of buttons rather than having to go through the entire browsing and checkout process again.
Forward-thinking brands try to use AI capabilities to support their data collection efforts as well.
Organizations can better understand and anticipate customer needs by leveraging AI to optimize data harvesting. They can also use these data insights to engage in forecasting, identify emerging growth opportunities, and adapt their marketing strategies to align with shifting consumer preferences.
There’s a risk that customers won’t finalize their purchases when they experience issues with the buying process. Since AI can uncover friction points in the customer journey, business leaders can remove these purchasing barriers and reduce cart abandonment issues.
AI chatbots can also fill in when customers experience purchasing issues. A chatbot can resolve these barriers on the spot, reducing the bumps in the road that can occur during purchases.
Streamlining the purchasing process can encourage users to buy from your brand more often. You may also be able to increase average order value, especially if you make adding items to the cart easy and seamless.
Capitalize on customer analytics
AI technologies are revolutionizing how brands collect, structure, and use customer data. With modern AI tools and platforms in place, your company can gather more customer data than ever before, arrange the data based on your unique goals and industry requirements, and analyze it to gain a better understanding of your target audience.
Previously, businesses have used customer analytics processes to understand past behavior. Today, robust AI solutions can predict the context of user interactions so you can anticipate future behavior. This means you have more time to curate upcoming interactions in a way that will elevate the customer experience and remove friction from the purchasing journey.
You can also take advantage of customer analytics insights to prevent or reduce churn proactively.
For instance, you can identify at-risk customers by tracking support ticket requests and gauging user sentiments after each interaction with your brand. If customers are experiencing frustration with your company, you can reach out to them to apologize, offer discounts to incentivize them to place a new order, or take other actions to salvage the relationship.
Reduce employee burnout
When customer service reps are overwhelmed, they can’t dedicate the necessary attention to customers. High levels of support agent burnout can diminish the CX and lead to widespread attrition. If left unaddressed, flagging morale can create lasting impacts on the customer journey that may take months to resolve.
AI customer experience technologies work in conjunction with human reps to alleviate the mundane and repetitive tasks from the support agent’s workday. By removing these tasks, you can decrease your support team’s daily workload, prevent burnout, and bolster productivity.
Chatbots can take on some of your agents’ workload by resolving simple inquiries. Additionally, AI can send pre-recorded answers to customers who reach out via phone.
Using AI in these ways prevents reps from having to answer the same simple questions over and over again throughout the day. This, in turn, allows them to spend more time and energy on complex issues that require human ingenuity.
Ensure cross-channel consistency
Leading AI solutions can track customer interactions across channels to ensure that information isn’t lost. Since customers are now interacting with multiple channels before making a purchase, consistency is more important than ever. AI provides this experiential consistency.
For instance, let’s say that a customer clicks on one of your social media ads and starts putting their information in. However, something comes up, and they must switch from their mobile device to a computer. With AI, they can pick up where they left off, increasing the chances that they’ll complete the sign-up process.
AI can also be used to send reminders to shoppers who abandon their carts. With AI, you can retarget these customers using personalized email messages. You can even incentivize them to complete their purchases by offering a modest discount or some other perk.
Route requests to the appropriate agents
Getting routed to the wrong support or service department adds significant friction to the customer experience. Being redirected multiple times only to have to repeat the issue to each new agent compounds these feelings of frustration.
AI solutions like chatbots and self-service tools ensure that customers are routed to the appropriate agents the first time. You can use chatbots to discover the nature of the issue a customer is calling about. For instance, your chatbot can ask customers whether they need help with billing, subscription concerns, cancellations, or returns.
By performing a cursory assessment of the issue with AI, you can minimize the need for rerouting calls and get customers the help they need fast.
Examples of AI customer experience
Numerous brands are already delivering AI customer experiences with great success. The following are a few prime examples of organizations that have integrated AI into the customer journey:
Spotify ensures that all of its users can start their mornings with multiple unique playlists based on their recent listening habits. The platform’s powerful AI customer experience software creates a personalized playlist for each use. Known as “Discover Weekly,” this fan-favorite feature also helps new and emerging artists gain traction on the platform, as it will suggest recently released songs from artists in genres that users seem to prefer.
At the end of each year, Spotify Wrapped features a rundown of the subscriber’s most streamed podcasts, genres, and tracks. The platform typically makes this list available for about one month and encourages users to share their year-end listening statistics with others.
Spotify supports its AI customer experience technology by making it fun for users to share data. Customers see an immediate benefit to sharing information with the platform, as doing so allows Spotify to create curated experiences.
The Starbucks app and associated reward system are shining examples of AI-augmented customer experience. When customers use the Starbucks app to place their orders, the AI tools silently work in the background to suggest product pairings based on the user’s past purchasing history and other factors.
By delivering personalized suggestions, Starbucks uses its AI platform to enhance the customer journey in a way that benefits consumers. At the same time, these product pairing suggestions boost average order value (AOV), which helps the global brand maximize revenue.
The 3D development platform Unity has exploded in popularity in the last few years. Naturally, this resulted in a surge in support ticket requests. To address this influx of tickets, Unity implemented AI-powered self-service tools, which helped it improve customer satisfaction and save money.
Unity isn’t the only brand to unlock cost savings through AI customer experience solutions. According to Oberlo, 54% of organizations have improved efficiency and reduced costs after implementing AI. The company also reports that 15% of all 2021 customer service interactions globally were fully powered by AI.
While Airbnb allows users to search for lodging in specific regions, the platform’s AI technologies also work to find potential matches outside of the designated search area. To do this, the AI-driven customer experience algorithm analyzes a wide range of factors, including price preferences, previous stays, and trip duration.
By presenting listings for a broad array of locales, Airbnb helps its hosts get bookings while also opening users’ eyes to new destinations. The result is an engaging experience that benefits both sides of Airbnb’s lodging ecosystem.
The Muse, a popular career site among Generation Z (and some millennial) job seekers, uses email as one of its primary marketing tools. To improve the efficacy of its email outreach, the platform began using AI marketing technologies to deliver more personalized communications to subscribers.
By personalizing emails, The Muse strives to increase user engagement, boost open rates, and drive site traffic.
Evaluate your CX platform to see if it can use AI
Combining AI and customer experience management technologies enables your business to curate the entire customer journey. You can empower your user base to engage in self-service, expedite support, and deliver personalized, engaging content that speaks to each audience segment’s unique needs.
However, to integrate AI into your marketing workflow, you need a CX platform that can accommodate these dynamic technologies. If your current CX platform lacks the capabilities you need to embrace artificial intelligence, consider upgrading to Adobe Experience Manager.
Experience Manager is a powerhouse combination that can meet all of your digital asset and content management needs. It also includes built-in AI customer experience tools and can integrate with the entire suite of Adobe experience products. Cumulatively, these solutions allow you to deliver personalized, content-led experiences that drive conversions.
To learn more, watch an overview video of Adobe Experience Manager.