NLI – Putting the Customer First

Customer service was once all about putting the customer’s needs ahead of the business, but somewhere along the way technology changed this viewpoint. Whilst there is no doubt that technology has helped improve customer service over the last decade, it has also shifted the balance, putting the organisation’s need for cost cutting solutions first.

IVR for instance initially helped companies manage and route calls more productively, but poor implementation over the years has left the customer very definitely feeling that they are on the end of a bad deal.

Nothing alienates a customer faster than making them engage over a channel they didn’t want to use in the first place. Nothing that is, except for perhaps having to repeat themselves as they get passed through the system, or receiving a different response to the same question depending on who they ask.

But the balance of power is about to be re-dressed back towards the customer as organisations realise that delivering the service buyers expect can differentiate themselves in a crowded market, and NLI is helping them realize that strategy.

In order to increase customer satisfaction, organisations need to strive to develop an omni-channel service, one that delivers consistent results regardless of where the customer joins or finishes the conversation. Increasingly, engagement will start first on a mobile device and strategies will need to be developed in isolation of other web based channels in order to take advantage of the mobile environment.

Whether it’s chatting with a virtual assistant or talking to call centre advisor, NLI ensures that a consistent and accurate response is given to the customer. It allows organisations to route conversations intelligently, based on a number of factors such the topic of a conversation or whether or not a contact centre is open, and can pass on the relevant specifics of a conversation. In addition, because NLI works with a variety of input methods from voice to gesture, the small screen real-estate on mobile and wearables doesn’t present a challenge.

But providing great customer service doesn’t just stop at being able to converse intelligently. Customers are also looking for proactive engagement from the companies they choose to interact with, such as offering live chat based on certain trigger words used or time spent on a shopping basket. Personalisation is a key ingredient to NLI, knowing a users dislikes and likes implicitly is crucial to delivering proactive engagement by pre-empting, and in some cases predicting, the information a customer wants before they even realise it themselves.

All this adds up to a customer service that increase customer loyalty, but still takes advantage of technology to deliver lower costs, alongside improved efficiencies. This can then be taken further by deploying end to end analytics using NLI to help discover and improve interactions in the future, as well as highlight the cost savings and the increase in revenue too.

It’s often said that customer loyalty can’t be bought, but putting the customer back where they belong in first place goes a long way to securing their business in the future.

Andy, who lives with his family in the UK, is Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Artificial Solutions. A regular speaker at industry conferences and events, Andy delivers insight on the rise of AI, the challenges businesses face and the future of intelligent conversational applications.

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