Leveraging AI for an Exceptional Customer Experience

Leveraging AI for an Exceptional Customer ExperienceLeveraging AI for an Exceptional Customer Experience

Artificial Intelligence is no longer just a buzzword. It's here and is helping Customer Experience teams across the board better retain and grow their customer bases. It's transforming how businesses interact with their customers. AI in Customer Experience is becoming more of a necessity. It's cutting down time on tedious tasks, creating a more proactive environment for CX pros, and helping organizations identify things like revenue expansion opportunities and customer escalations quickly.

The reality is that there are so many tools and strategies being talked about that it's hard for CX executives to keep up and know which ones are best for their teams and customers. This blog post will break down not only how to best use AI in CX but also how to determine where to get started in implementing the best strategies and tools for your teams.

Introduction to the Role of AI in Customer Experience

AI, in the context of CX, means leveraging automation more throughout the customer lifecycle. Having an AI-backed customer journey is a hack many software companies are starting to implement and see the value in. Customer Experience with AI can significantly improve the efficiency and personalization of most, if not all, customer interactions.

To fully leverage the power of AI in your CX efforts, there are a few key steps. Let's talk about them.

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Understanding the Customer Journey

The first step in leveraging AI is to thoroughly understand the customer journey, which involves mapping out all customer touchpoints and identifying where pain points exist. While customer journies vary based on multiple factors, here are some important milestones and touchpoints to map out:

Purchase and Onboarding: Once onboarding starts, the process should be as smooth as possible, from payment to initial setup. Effective onboarding is crucial to ensure that new users understand how to use the product and can start seeing its value as quickly as possible. Rocketlane is a great tool that uses AI and customer data to ensure a great onboarding experience for everyone involved. 

Retention and Loyalty: After successfully onboarding users, companies need to maintain their engagement and satisfaction. This could involve regular updates, support services, community building, and adding features that users request or need as they grow with your product. AI can help identify customers who have strong usage and who can qualify for beta programs, offer testimonials or join a customer advocacy board. 

Advocacy and Expansion: Satisfied customers can become advocates for the product, promoting it through word of mouth and social media. Additionally, this stage involves upselling or cross-selling to customers with new services or premium features that meet their needs. ChurnZero and Gainsight are exceptional tools for not only mapping out the whole customer journey but also helping CSMs find ways to grow customers and bring in more revenue for the organization. 

Understanding these touchpoints and pain points can help companies identify opportunities for integrating AI to improve the customer experience.

Selecting the Right AI Tools

Yes, there are tons of tools on the market right now. It can be overwhelming. Before looking at tools, it’s important to at least have a rough draft of your customer milestones mapped out and an idea of where automation will be beneficial. Once you have this in place, it’s time to start looking into AI-powered tools that can help. 

Here’s a quick guide that can help get you started: 

  • Chatbots and Virtual Assistants: Tools like Intercom, Drift, and Zendesk offer AI-powered chatbots that can handle customer inquiries in real time, provide instant responses, and escalate issues when necessary. These bots can be integrated into websites, apps, or social media platforms.
  • Predictive Analytics: Tools like Pendo use AI to analyze user behavior and predict future actions. This can help SaaS companies anticipate customer needs, address issues before they become problems, and offer timely, relevant content and suggestions.
  • Personalization Engines: Tools like Dynamic Yield and Optimizely use AI to tailor experiences and content to individual users. By analyzing user data, these tools can customize the user interface and functionalities to suit individual preferences, enhancing user satisfaction and engagement.
  • Automated Customer Support: AI-driven tools like Solvvy provide automated customer support that can resolve common customer issues without human intervention. This reduces wait times and frees up human agents to handle more complex queries.
  • AI-Driven CRM Systems: Salesforce and HubSpot use AI to enhance their CRM functionalities, providing sales teams with insights into customer behavior, lead scoring, and next-best actions. This can help improve sales strategies and customer retention.
  • Voice and Sentiment Analysis: Tools like UpdateAI analyze sales calls and CSM interactions to provide insights into customer sentiments and behaviors. This helps train staff and refine customer interaction strategies.
  • Automated Onboarding and Training: Tools like WalkMe help automate the customer onboarding process. They use AI to guide new users through the initial stages of using a product, which can improve customer retention and satisfaction.

Measuring AI’s Impact on Customer Experience

You can have all the right tools and processes in place, but if the ROI can’t be proven, then the CEO and CFO will have a thing or two to say about the overall Customer Experience analysis. Measuring the impact of AI and how it positively affects the Customer Experience is crucial. There are a number of ways this can be measured and tracked. 

First, it’s important to have a set of KPIs in place. Knowing what success looks like for your customers from an organization's point of view is how these KPIs can be determined. Once the KPIs are known, the success of your tools can be measured through automated systems like dashboards, reports, and even A/B tests. 

These reports should be evaluated consistently. Monthly or even weekly check-ins should be a priority within the first 6-12 months of an AI tool’s implementation. 

Tableau is a great tool for this. It can integrate data from various sources to create comprehensive dashboards that track the performance of different tools. It’s particularly useful for visualizing data and making informed decisions based on the performance metrics of the tools you’re evaluating.

Case Studies of Successful AI Integration

Many companies have successfully integrated automation tools into their CX strategies. For example, companies like Gong and AppsFlyer implemented EverAfter’s B2B customer interface to cut down on time-consuming customer tasks and automate much of their customer journey. Gong uses the AI that is infused in EverAfter’s customer interface in various parts of the journey to streamline tasks like creating call summaries, gathering notes, crafting emails, and making decisions that will help move the customer along in their lifecycle. 

Another example is how the Customer Success team at ClientSuccess uses UpdateAI to create more task-oriented and data-rich customer call recaps. This has significantly helped their team manage the customer lifecycle better and provide more quality information to their customers. 

Future Trends in AI for Customer Experience

The role of AI in CX will continue to evolve. Future trends are pointing towards even more personalized and anticipatory customer experiences. Companies should stay informed about these trends and consider how they can leverage new AI technologies to stay ahead of customer expectations.

CustomerThink and CX Network are two great communities and resource hubs for anyone wanting to stay up-to-date on AI and CX trends. 

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There will also be news ways to ethically consider customer privacy when it comes to using AI for your organization. Right now, it’s important to ensure that the AI solutions you choose are transparent about their data usage and comply with relevant privacy laws, such as GDPR and CCPA. Safeguarding customer data not only builds trust but also protects your business from legal repercussions.

While the future isn’t always predictable, what we do right now to prepare our organizations and our customers for future changes can have a huge impact not just in the future but also in our present circumstances. AI improving Customer Experience is something to be expected and embraced. 

Conclusion

AI offers businesses a tremendous opportunity to transform their customer experiences. By doing the things outlined in this post, companies can leverage AI to exceed their customer’s expectations. The future of CX is human-led and AI-driven. By taking proactive steps today, businesses can set themselves up for success in this new era.

We encourage all CX professionals to explore AI's potential in their strategies and to remain curious and open to the innovations this technology can bring to their Customer Experience efforts. 

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