In order to delight customers in a post-pandemic world, retailers must optimize an increasingly delicate balance between technology and a human touch. The bar for personalized experiences continues to rise, with 95 percent of shoppers adamant that they don't want to talk to a robot, and 84 percent say being “treated like a person and not a number” is very important to winning their business.
In addition, the flood of offline-to-online interactions following COVID has forced many brands to reconsider their omnichannel strategy as consumers gravitate toward brands more ready-and-able to meet their needs any time, anywhere. Retailers that don’t prioritize a seamless approach risk losing revenue opportunities, as multichannel customers are typically 15 percent more profitable than digital-only customers and 25 percent more profitable than offline-only customers.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a key technology in empowering retailers to gain new levels of visibility and understanding of customers, their unmet needs, and key moments that can tip the scales in driving satisfaction and loyalty — at speed, scale, and across multiple customer channels.
Gain 100% Conversational Visibility
While it used to be impossible to analyze every single customer interaction, savvy retailers can now leverage AI to monitor 100 percent of customer conversations in real time, and integrate insights from across phone, chat and email. This is allowing team leaders to more rapidly pinpoint high-priority cases for review and action, and identify specific opportunities to accelerate positive customer interactions.
When we recently interviewed over 200 contact-center leaders to gauge key trends and concerns, just 15 percent reported using intelligent speech and text analytics. This means the vast majority of brands are sitting on an untapped treasure trove of data and are missing a huge opportunity to transform conversational visibility into superior customer experiences.
Streamline Quality Assurance
While quality assurance (QA) and key performance indicator monitoring are essential for any retail contact center, they have traditionally been tedious and time-consuming processes that involve manually searching for and reviewing countless interactions across channels. With AI, however, every interaction can be instantly and automatically evaluated, categorized and scored.
Our research shows the vast majority of contact centers are automating QA to some extent, which is allowing supervisors to spend more of their time on higher-value tasks — e.g., data and business intelligence — and encouraging them to be more proactive and strategic in boosting transparency and addressing compliance requirements.
Personalize the Agent Experience
Contact centers are harnessing AI to help agents maximize on every touchpoint with the customer. In addition to equipping team leaders to provide personalized coaching and guidance, AI also promotes self-coaching by giving agents immediate, self-serve access to their conversation transcripts, which automatically analyze and identify critical moments of strong customer sentiment and offer specific pointers on which areas need improvement.
Supervisors can set and measure performance goals, capture best practices by top agents, and scale successful processes across the rest of their teams. The outcomes include improved KPIs that directly influence the bottom line, from improving customer sentiment and satisfaction to reducing average handle time.
Embrace AI to Humanize Your Omnichannel Strategy
For many brands, the post-COVID market offers a big opportunity to invest in solutions that significantly impact customer satisfaction and loyalty, operational efficiency, and agent effectiveness. Our research shows that 72 percent of contact centers plan to increase hiring during one of the most challenging job markets the nation has ever seen, with 64 percent saying their budget for services and technologies has increased year-over-year.
Retailers looking to fortify their omnichannel strategy should embrace AI-powered insights to humanize their approach and make their customers feel loved.
Natalie Abeysena is omnichannel product lead at Observe.AI, an intelligent workforce platform that transforms contact centers by infusing AI into 100 percent of customer conversations, optimizing agent performance and automating repeatable workflows that drive revenue and retention.