The first step toward understanding how customer experience is changing is to define customer experience itself.
The following factors and AI customer experience examples contribute to the modern-day understanding of what constitutes customer experience – whether that person is purchasing a couch, a car, or a home.
Reduced Labor but Increased Customer Satisfaction
Before artificial intelligence entered the picture, customer experience and service were driven by hired employees. For example, if a customer experienced an issue with a product, they would be in touch with a sales representative, who would help them resolve the issue.
At the dawn of the age of AI, the employee in that interaction might have been replaced with a rudimentary chatbot. These early-AI bots were extremely limited and often caused customer frustration. In many cases, this dissatisfaction led to a lower customer retention rate. While a company could reduce labor costs, they also, in most cases, reduced revenue.
However, recent improvements to chatbots in customer experience settings have bolstered satisfaction. In fact, more advanced chatbots are now associated with greater customer loyalty, particularly because of their ability to emulate human emotion. Now, customer experience is not only defined by the ability to assess a person’s needs. It is also defined by the company’s ability to provide a similar quality of service while reducing labor costs associated with customer service.
Decreased Wait Times for Customers Needing Help
Long queues and wait times are frustrating in every situation. That frustration is compounded when the wait time is associated with customer service. In prior years, customers might need to sit on the phone to wait for a representative to help resolve their problem. These wait times are especially difficult for seasonal businesses, like tax and wage support, because CX specialists have more cases to handle.
With the introduction of conversational and experiential AI, customers can now have near-instant access to the help they need. This type of service is, crucially, scalable. Seasonal businesses that experience an uneven distribution of customer experience requests throughout the year can expand and contract their chatbots depending on need. As a result, customer experience is not only defined by improved wait times but also by individual companies being able to cater to customer needs without overspending on support.
Improved Trustworthiness in CX Interactions
Trustworthiness has historically been a crucial aspect of customer experience. For example, when reaching out for support, the customer must trust the company to have their best interests in mind. This type of assistance was possible before the implementation of AI, but it diminished when rudimentary chatbots rolled out. The customer usually ascertained that they were speaking with a bot, which reduced their trust in the service.
Now, AI has improved to the point where conversations emulate human-to-human interaction. According to a recent article in the Journal of Computers in Human Behavior, trust and “perceived sacrifice” are significant factors that mediate the effects of perceived personalization in an AI customer experience interaction. Innovations in CX artificial intelligence have improved perceived trustworthiness from customers and, thus, have redefined customer experience.
Additional Contributing Factors to Customer Experience
While the above characteristics are the primary factors driving customer experience progress, additional pieces are scattered across industries. These include:
- Increased ability for personalization
- Prioritizing interactions over transactions
- Moving from AI chatbots to AI “companions”
- Improved brand loyalty and customer retention
- Better feedback gathering
- Ability for 24/7 customer support
- Integration of AI bots with company loyalty programs
- Brisker sales cycles
- Strengthened customer engagement
- Compare prices across platforms or a single website
- Improve advertorial personalization
The customer experience (CX) changes with new the implementation of new technologies, but the past several years have seen unprecedented change. The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) is changing customer experience across industries and disrupting how customers interact with a company results in a wholly unique experience. If your business has not yet considered AI for customer experience, now is the time to do it. Otherwise, you will see your competitors winning the race of customer service, engagement, retention, and loyalty.
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