From the cars we drive, to the smart devices in our homes, to how we conduct business, artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere. AI’s seemingly endless applications and integrations into our daily lives has fundamentally changed the way we interact with the world around us.
One of the key areas of AI adoption is customer service. When applied to the contact center, AI opens a whole new set of opportunities for businesses to reduce traditional customer service friction points as well as differentiate brands in ways that weren’t previously possible. AI is critical to the future of customer service – as customer expectations continue to rise, competition amongst brands becomes fiercer, and agents, now serving as knowledge workers, must resolve the toughest customer problems with empathy and hyper-personalized service.
Businesses are adopting AI in the contact center
Contact centers have increasingly adopted AI to succeed in this new environment. According to Pega’s recent Resolution revolution: Customer service insights report, 85% of businesses expect that they will invest in AI in the next few years and 45% are already using it. This is good news as these investments are shaping the future of customer experience and have a significant impact on companies’ bottom lines. However even with these expanded investments, the reality is that getting AI-powered service right can still be difficult without the right strategy in place.
Channel-first or product-first approaches don’t scale
To accommodate for new customer expectations and deflect rising call volumes (especially during the pandemic), many businesses have invested in AI in a new channel or system. The problem with this channel-first approach is that logic and decisioning are built into each individual touchpoint rather than across the entire service journey. This can lead to context being siloed or lost, resulting in journey breakdowns that cause frustration for both agents and customers (think back to a chatbot experience you may have had that responded ‘please call an agent’ or ‘I don’t understand you’).
Not only that, in this channel-first model, each time a new channel is added, businesses are forced to rebuild and refactor logic and decisioning for each channel. This causes a strain on resources and has a negative impact on both customer and employee experiences.
The good news? With the right approach, businesses can implement AI and automation centrally to provide a unified customer journey across every touchpoint.
Putting the customer journey at the center of your AI strategy
By putting customer journey at the center of their service strategy, businesses are unlocking the full benefits of AI, while driving real outcomes and reducing costs.
Rather than spending time and resources hard coding logic and decisioning in each individual channel, businesses can leverage a Center-out™ business architecture in which AI and logic is built centrally and infused across every touchpoint and journey. It doesn't matter if it’s a mobile app, Pega’s Intelligent Virtual Assistant ™ (IVA), or a future channel that doesn’t exist yet, AI is activated across every touchpoint. Businesses can start with one channel and easily scale to others due to the journey being centralized.
Achieve customer centricity at scale – while also improving the agent experience
Not only does this journey-centric improve the customer experience, it also provides a better agent experience. This centralized AI and automation provides agents with the context they need to provide more personalized service through capabilities such as contextual knowledge management and intelligent guidance, while automation takes care of more manual, repetitive tasks such as data entry. This allows agents to spend time on customer interactions that require a human touch while AI handles time-consuming, repetitive inquiries. Happier agents often means better service, and less agent attrition. With AI, you can enhance your customers’ experience by providing self-service, on-demand customer service when they need it.
Moving from reactive to proactive service
Not only can AI improve customer satisfaction and the employee experience, new advances in AI can now even move service from reactive to proactive. Using the same technology described above with the power of event and pattern detection, you can detect and mitigate issues before your customers are even aware of them.
This allows businesses to introduce value-added solutions, right-size retention offers, and even identify potential churn risks. This can ensure that your delivering an individualized experience, while also protecting your bottom line. A win-win for customers and businesses.
With more at stake than ever before, AI can be a huge differentiator for your business. By putting the customer journey at the center of your service strategy, contact centers can scale service while also providing more empathetic, personalized experiences. And while the journey to AI-driven customer service is unique to every business, putting the customer journey at the center of your strategy will make it easier to scale across channels as your business continues to grow and evolve.
Learn more about the potential for AI to transform your service journey:
- Watch the webinar Infusing AI into your contact center
- Visit the Pega Sales Automation ™ page to understand how Pega helps you anticipate customer needs and provide seamless experiences, all while achieving greater close rates
- Learn how CNO Financial transformed its customer experience using Pega’s built-in modules and frameworks, including using AI to support end user recommendations in real time