Can Artificial Intelligence Improve Customer Service? 3 Metrics to Watch
Thanks to technology, customer service is a highly measurable activity that generates an incredible amount of data. You can produce endless reports that detail contact rate, call volume, chat times, resolution rates, interaction counts, etc. However, with so much data available companies often get caught up in metrics instead of focusing on their meaning.
Deciding which metrics to track over time is important because metrics are one of the key ways you judge your department’s success (and how management judges you!). They’ll also help you identify strategies for improvement in the event that your metrics hit a wall.
The trick is to organize your metrics around the people and the processes that make up customer support. Once you do that, it’s easy to see how automating some interactions with AI technology can really help your department realize dramatic performance improvements.
Focus on metrics related to 3 quality areas
The customer support process is made up of 3 main quality areas that are related to people in one way or another:
- The customer experience
- The problem resolution
- The call/contact process itself
When AI technology (aka AI chatbots) is implemented, customer frustration and wait times are reduced. When calls are intelligently routed to the right agents, customer problems are resolved faster. When a significant portion of calls/contacts are deflected altogether, customers are getting the instant answers they need and agents aren’t stuck with repetitive work.
As you improve the quality of people’s experiences, your metrics will invariably improve. Let’s take a closer look at how this all works.
Your customers will be happier
Customers want answers to their questions instantly – and an intelligent automated customer service system can give them that. According to a recent Gartner report, “By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.” When they can’t resolve their problems with self-serve options, like FAQs, and they call your support center, they don’t like to wait. In fact, 77% of U.S. online customers say that “valuing my time” is the most important part of customer service.
The best intelligent virtual assistants can mimic customer service agents, salespeople and tech support, using natural, friendly conversation to interact with customers and resolve a myriad of issues. In one case, virtual assistants reduced customer request time for 10% of calls from an average of 2 hours to 2 minutes.
With AI technology you’ll see significant improvement in these metrics:
- First call resolution (FCR) will rise.
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT) / net promoter score (NPS) will rise.
- Customers’ average time in queue (AHT) will be reduced.
Your agents will resolve issues faster
Your agents can’t be effective if they’re dealing with customers who have issues they aren’t familiar with. That’s one way that AI technology can help. Behind the scenes, virtual assistants collect context from callers to ensure that they are routed to the most appropriate agent, while also adding an additional layer of regulatory monitoring.
In the event that an agent is not completely familiar with a customer’s issue, the agent can query backend AI technology to quickly get answers, which will lower the average call handle time. By making agents more effective, your customers’ average time in queue is reduced by at least 10%. And by providing more satisfying outcomes, you can also help reduce agent turnover, another key metric!
To summarize, here are the agent-related metrics where you’ll see improvement:
- Better context is collected, which means better call routing to appropriate agents.
- Average handle time is reduced.
- There are fewer issues in the queue, which means a customer’s average time in queue will drop by at least 10%.
Your call/contact volume will be reduced
These days, rather than calling customer support, customers are willing to put a little effort into finding their own answers. But just a little. Make it too difficult by providing unclear FAQs or an automated chatbot that doesn’t interact with them intelligently and they’ll spend significant time waiting for an agent to help them.
An intelligent virtual assistant can deflect at least 10% of your current ticket volume (with an ultimate goal of up to 50%, depending on the use cases utilized). And it does this two ways: 1) by deflecting live support requests, and 2) by raising customer’s ability to answer their own questions through automated self-service. Good AI technology is transactional. Not only can it guide customers through a series of steps to complete tasks, because it understands context, it can also execute transactions on the behalf of customers.
Here’s how your call/contact volume can improve:
- At least 10% of the current ticket volume will be reduced.
- Live support requests will be reduced.
- Use of automated self-service will increase, which deflects calls.
AI can improve customer support metrics and decreases your costs
Typically companies that invest in AI technology, such as intelligent virtual assistants, see an improvement in their customer support metrics by as much as 10% (and that’s conservative) in every key area. And when your agents are handling fewer customers, your costs go down. Multiply a 10% reduction across the board on your customer service costs. That’s how much you can save. AI technology has an excellent ROI from Day 1.
To learn how an intelligent virtual assistant can help your company improve its customer metrics, click on the image below to download our solution brief “Intelligent Virtual Assistants for the Enterprise.”