Make no mistake: it’s the lifeline of your business, or a 1-star stain left on your Yelp profile. So, be honest: how good is your customer service offering? Sure, you know customer service matters; it’s always mattered. Nevertheless – as we wade our way through the COVID pandemic, it’s more important than ever.
In short, the customer service you provide determines whether or not potential customers are going to become actual customers. More importantly, it determines whether current customers are going to become recurring customers.
According to Entrepreneur.com:
- It costs about 5 times more to attract a new customer than to retain an old one
- An existing customer is more likely to buy a product or service than a new one
- The word-of-mouth advertising from good customer service is invaluable
Beyond an excellent product or service, it’s super important to get customer service right, but: it can be a big investment. It takes time, humility, training, structure and a willingness to provide a satisfying customer-service experience. And failing to provide a good experience can be devastating for a business.
With AI-driven vocal interaction, awful customer service can be avoided.
By solving some of the most common customer-service mistakes. Let’s take a look:
Not being available
On average, Americans spend 13 hours per year in a line for a call. A third of resolutions take more than one call, and some people give up after the first call.
While not being available is a way to save money (they can’t get a refund if you don’t pick up the phone), it’s a mistake in the long run. When you aren’t available for customers, your brand value drops, you lose customers, and set yourself up for failure.
The solution is obvious. Be available for your customers, all the time.
Just kidding. We know it’s difficult for you to be available all the time. But it’s not difficult when you have AI-driven vocal interaction.
Aa a quick aside, AI-driven customer service isn’t the same as chatbots. Chatbots and voicebots take care of some preliminary work, answer a few queries, and direct customers to resources where they can find answers.
But they don’t give a full customer service experience. And more often than not, they leave customers wanting to speak with a live agent.
The example of IBM
Here’s the mix-up. AI-driven vocal interaction like IBM’s Customer Care Voice Agent allows customers to have natural conversations with an AI agent. No buttons, no prompts, and no guessing which keywords to use so that the bot will understand.
Creating always-available customer service using AI voice agents can be a powerful business move, especially if it’s on par with real human interaction. It can provide that much-needed connection between you and your customer, without you having to be there.
One thing to consider — AI-driven vocal interaction will never be the same as human interaction. Ultimately, you can empathize, and AI can’t. You can adjust and adapt to no end, while AI can’t.
So at some point, a niche issue may come up, and you will have to step in. In the end, a skilled human will still be better than an AI.
But having an AI voice as an integral part of your customer service offering is still an improvement over never servicing your customers!
Failing to solve a problem quickly
In 2018, a woman bought a few toilet paper rolls on Amazon, and was charged over $7,000 for shipping. After 2 months, a lot of calls, and emails to Jeff Bezos himself, she was finally refunded.
Imagine letting a customer build up frustration for 2 months. It’s kind of scary — who knows what that will do to a business’ reputation.
Now, certainly you’re not going to take $7,000 from a customer and not give it back for 2 months; this was a rare customer-service horror story.
But in any customer-service situation, the longer you make the customer wait, the less valuable you and your company becomes.
Considering Artificial Intelligence?
Meanwhile, AI-driven vocal interaction can deliver instantly. If you’ve used AI voice agents like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, you know what I’m talking about. In fact, people are starting to prefer voice AI interactions.
While voice AI can act instantly, it can’t always solve your problems. Unless the AI is set up well with your business, customers may become frustrated when they talk to an AI voice agent that can’t resolve an issue.
Still, it’s important to make the customers feel understood and valued, and give them the impression that you’re working as quickly as you can to solve their problem.
Having an AI-driven voice agent that sounds human can be the first step in making that impression.
These customer service mistakes are classics — but not in a good way. The reality is, great customer service can be hard to provide, while still being crucial for your success.
In order to fill these customer-service gaps, you may see that AI-driven vocal interaction might be a way for you to start providing better service. AI voice agents can be there when you’re unavailable, can act quickly, and can still provide personalized experiences.
Have you seen the way Google Duplex, a voice AI, speaks and handles the nuances of the demonstrated conversations? The conversations are shockingly…. human.
AI voices needn’t sound robotic or boring. And with the way they’re performing now, they might help you avoid these common customer service mistakes.
In fact, Replyco.com has a superb list of 25 rules for great customer service that is worth bookmarking for future reference. Ultimately, customers rule and customer service is a key differentiator!