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Customer Service: What Business Value Can AI and RPA Add For You?

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“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

This historic quote by Peter Drucker, father of modern management, has been well circulated. But the ethos extends beyond business management alone. Ask any professional — from IT managers to marketers, to customer service leaders — and they’ll tell you that mastering information is the core catalyst for change.

Take a well-known example — FICO® credit scores. Personal finance decisions and loan approvals, once based on qualitative assessments, now have their own currency. Measuring it and tracking activities that contribute to it are all important; without it, consumer finance would be fraught with risk.

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These scores are comprehensive, factoring in a wide range of influences and assigning values using a simple range of numbers. So, how can we apply Drucker’s philosophy elsewhere? What is the FICO-score equivalent in the all-important aspect of businesses — customer service (Cx)?

Transforming Customer Service in the Age of Digital Transformation

Just as credit scores are the currency of personal finance — first contact resolution (FCR), average handle time (AHT), and agent morale are operational metrics for customer service. In the age of digital transformation, business leaders are looking at customer service as a strategic asset. This means driving higher customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS), leading to customer long term value (LTV).  

This has increased the complexity of Cx leaders’ portfolios and has, at the same time, made the customer service function strategic. Developing the right strategy means prioritizing new investments; and the two most transformative and impactive technology investments today are Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

If Cx leaders intend to improve, they need to think years ahead. That’s not just a suggestion — ask Kate Leggett, Principal Analyst at Forrester. In her January 2019 article, The Three Customer Service Megatrends in 2019, Leggett identifies the first trend:

AI upends customer service operations. Automation and AI help agents complete repetitive, predictable tasks — or take over those tasks completely and interact with customers autonomously to add value. They allow organisations to manage the ballooning volumes of interactions across an increasing number of channels without increasing agent headcount. The result? Agents are no longer essential to scale.”

Artificial Intelligence — the sequence of machine learning from past interactions, data, and results followed by mimicking human actions and decisions — has accelerated both Cx opportunities and expectations. That’s because AI can learn from existing customer-support cases and improve customer interactions over time.

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Combine AI with RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and you get Intelligence Process Automation (IPA) — the application of artificial intelligence through automation. It essentially is software that mimics the behavior of a user and is being used in mainstream business scenarios, primarily for process automation.

These solutions not only free service agents from redundant processes, but they also improve upon those processes as they perform them.

Zero Contact Resolution (ZCR)

Zero contact resolution (ZCR) drives the “the best customer service is no customer service” mantra. AI & IPA helps drive ZCR, which is automation of customer service requests with no agent interaction.

ZCR includes self-service, intelligent process automation, and automated responses to cases.

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Self-service delivers real-time AI-driven answers and deflections to customer queries using a knowledge base and eliminates case volume by up to 25%. It uses AI to understand the context and content of incoming cases and to provide relevant content suggestions from your knowledge base. Customers are able to self-discover solutions and resolve their queries. With this self-service AI tool, you’ll notice an improvement in CSAT score and an immediate reduction in case volume.

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Intelligent Process Automation uses AI and RPA to solve process cases that require agents to access multiple internal and external systems. It automates any repetitive customer request: for example, anything from sending a simple response to executing a complex workflow across multiple applications and systems. Agents need not look through other systems in order to complete their tasks and reply back to customers.

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Automated response with zero touch from agents is the ultimate goal for most businesses. AI models learn the pattern of cases and can begin auto responding to certain cases with 100% confidence, relieving agents from repetitive tasks and enabling them to spend more time offering personalized customer care.

Here’s Where to Start with AI and IPA

So, what does all of this mean when it comes to transformative business value? If we dive a little deeper into the lexicon of Drucker, we find a few variants to his time-honored mantra:

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That’s a starting point to implementing an elegant solution to next-generation Cx demands.  

You can achieve this with a three-step process:


  1. Measure: Before you begin, you need to measure the potential of AI-based automation. With this, you’ll get a clear idea of where you stand today, and what you aim to achieve through AI-based automation.

    A great way to measure your Cx Automation Potential is through the ZCR Score Assessment. Just like FICO®, the ZCR score tells you the health of your current Cx processes, and how you can implement automation to improve it. You can take the ZCR Score Assessment here.

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  2. Start: Begin with simple implementation of AI and IPA for Cx. You can’t realize the Cx AI automation potential until you get started with your solution. Set up processes for implementing self-service, process automations, and to automate responses. Take small steps first, by tackling low-touch support cases. Once you begin to get a hang of it, you can start focusing on more complex cases. If you wish to begin automating your Cx, AnsweriQ helps you streamline adoption, reducing risk as you take your first steps forward.

  3. Improve: Continue to drive improvement. You can continuously improve the contributing factors to your AI automation potential and manage that against your Cx objectives. AnsweriQ is here to help, every step of the way.

It’s time to implement, measure, manage, and deliver on your Cx goals. Learn more about how AnsweriQ can put AI and automation to work for you.

Topics: Intelligent Process Automation, AI-based RPA, Feature Post

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