As the novel coronavirus swept through the globe, we witnessed dramatic changes in the way we work. Businesses spent the first half of the year adapting to these changes. However, the second half looks much different. Conversations around value preservation and cost-cutting have given way to dialogs around growth and optimization.
In order to keep customer experience consistent and to deliver more with less, organizations are increasing their investments in intelligent solutions like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based software.
Businesses that adopted AI in the initial phase of the crisis have already begun benefiting from it in terms of reduced costs and higher ROI. Some ramped up exploratory phases with AI after the coronavirus outbreak. Let’s look at the numbers on how the adoption of AI solutions has helped enterprises:
It's evident that AI is big business, and expected to sky-rocket in the coming years.
5 Business Functions AI-solutions can Transform for Remote Workers
A recent survey of CFOs and Finance leaders by Gartner revealed that 74% of companies plan to permanently shift to more remote work post-COVID-19.
While most enterprises have already started working remotely, and everything is virtual, customers still expect a seamless support experience.
In fact, in the situation of crisis, the emotional state of customers adds to the challenges of remote workers. What’s more, businesses are focusing on digital human-centered technology to handle the emotional state of both agents and customers
AI and digital workspaces are likely to empower remote workers in different business operations in the coronavirus era and beyond.
Here are five business functions that AI-based solutions can help businesses, along with each function's benefits:
1. Real-Time Support
Customer interaction and call volumes have increased drastically.
Instant support via ticketing systems reduces the effort for the agents, and results in quick response times for customers. For example, an agent raising a ticket for a phone call or asking the customers to fill up request forms describing the issue, can easily pass on the information to his/her colleagues on the open ticket for all future communication.
Also, with a flood of incoming tickets, the agent can get confused about which ticket to prioritize first.
Here’s where automated ticket allocation works well, i.e., enables agents to solve the most frequently occurring cases first.
Now, how do AI-based ticketing systems help? Typically, solutions powered by AI come with the following characteristics:
First, they ensure that customers know where they stand in the line; they usually set service level agreements (SLAs) or maximum expectation of response time, usually 24-72 hours.
Second, AI-based systems are trained to ensure that every customer gets a personalized response, even if it's a simple automated acknowledgment message, similar to "We're working on your issue. It may take some time to resolve."
The instant or real-time support is often the best way to handle spiking customer case volumes during the pandemic, as it gets rid of the low-hanging fruits. It also gives agents enough time to understand which issues are critical or take the most time. Reactive support also helps agents maintain a good average handling time (AHT) for customer cases.
2. Back-Office Tasks
AI-powered solutions help businesses to free up people to do more creative, less operational work.
Think it over, support teams working remotely may have to take up out-of-office administrative work like maintenance of company records or basic administrative tasks.
AI-based solutions help agents handle the company’s back-office tasks, so they get to focus on more high-value tasks. For instance, advanced AI has the ability to analyze large volumes of data from countless sources making data classification and categorization easy, thereby helping in back office optimization.
An AI-supported system handles the dull/repetitive tasks on agents’ behalf so that the support teams’ capacity is freed up for the critical tasks. An eBook by ThinkOwl elaborates on how AI solutions and support teams can work hand in hand to relieve support agents from back-office operations and leave them to only do quality control of service processes.
Advanced AI helps support teams to do minimal administrative work. They achieve better productivity, more creative power, and better customer experience.
3. Sales Prioritization
Sales and business development functions are having a tough time. Traditional sales models are becoming obsolete as customers choose different paths to purchase (digital touchpoints can be mentioned). So, in the on-demand, multi-platform era, delivering faster and quicker customer service, is becoming increasingly complicated with conventional systems. AI-powered sales performance solutions can help businesses at every stage of the sales cycle. For instance, AI applications can automate the long-running tasks of initiating contact with a sales lead and then qualify, follow up, and sustain the potential lead.
In addition to this, AI-based solutions make mapping and managing that customer journey very easy. They have easy-to-use analytics tools to measure and improve the entire customer experience.
In a recent analysis, MIT Technology Review Insights found that:
Almost 90% of companies worldwide are using AI insights to improve customer journeys.
AI can analyze data fast to uncover, classify, and predict valuable information that helps businesses prioritize sales and open growth opportunities.
4. Team Collaboration
Remote work makes communication and collaboration more challenging. Employees also feel that they must be available round the clock or work extra hours. Bloomberg suggests that remote workers were logged on for two to three more hours per day during the quarantine than before the pandemic outbreak. Such instances blur the line between the personal and professional lives of employees. And they also don't get the know-how of what's happening in your team.
An AI-driven digital distributed collaboration can help. AI capabilities provide you with contextual insight that's usually not possible to get during an in-person meeting. Automating service processes, setting up different distributed collaboration solutions are some of the benefits of AI-based collaboration tools. Think of it as a team meeting you missed. For instance, during the session, the AI tools could automatically capture and present additional relevant information or resources such as web links, videos, and documents that would be useful for the meeting, based on the topic and keywords used. All of this helps to improve the service flow, save time, increase team productivity – and reduce digital impatience. So, you become more inclusive, less intrusive.
5. Document and Identity Verification
In the past few years, AI and virtual assistants have been on the top of list of technologies enterprises intent to add or replace. COVID-19 has just pushed this element to the front of the line.
Think of a bank, for instance, that needs to verify its customer's onboarding and ID documents. This is usually done by bank employees, who check pay slips, postal address, etc. which makes it a costly and inefficient business operation. Instead, AI solutions can be used to identify the type of ID document documents captured quickly, validate signatures, perform face-matching, and so on. Shifting to AI-based intelligent solutions only digitizes the process, making it paperless operation and saves on time and cost.
Many AI-powered smart tools are available in the market that helps businesses of different industry verticals like banking, finance, and insurance in document verification and identification.
One such tool is Fileee Conversations, an intelligent application that scans, analyzes, and automatically organizes your documents.
Fileee Conversations is powered by ThinkOwl – AI-based customer service software. The powerful integration of these solutions helps businesses deliver completely digital and AI-powered customer service. AI-based solutions can support different business functions and improve employee productivity, reduce user frustration, and create better business outcomes.
With the severe implications of coronavirus for businesses across the globe, it's much easier for them to adapt to the 'new normal' as operating an organization that is remotely using AI. At the same time, supporting customers in times of crisis can be incredibly difficult for remote workers. Are you among them? No problem. We are here to make things easy for you.
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