Putting digital enquiries under the microscope

Businesses are wasting a colossal amount of time and money answering basic email enquiries that could be handled by an AI chatbot providing customers with instant resolution and freeing up contact centre agents to focus on higher value and more complex enquiries that require speaking to a human agent.

Statistics show that the average office workers receive 121 emails per day, and this keeps on rising considerably. Last year emails averaged around 281 billion per day (DMR). Each email enquiry takes about 7 minutes to handle.

That’s a lot of unnecessary money and time wasted.  Britannic’s customer Peabody has deflected 30% of emails with an AI from the contact centre who no longer had to spend valuable time on mundane tasks and saved 30-40 hours daily.

Gartner forecasts that one in 10 agent interactions will be automated by 2026, an increase from an estimated 1.6% of interactions today that are automated using AI so it’s time to get ready to welcome an AI chatbot in your contact centre.

The benefits of using email for enquiries are everyone has email and it works across all platforms. However, often customers consider that the cons outweigh the benefits as email enquiries could result in a slow response, go unanswered as they are stacked in an in-box, get mislaid, or an agent hasn’t got round to answering yet because they are also trying to deal with calls and complex issues.

This results in poor customer service and in today’s world customers want resolution and information immediately. If you can’t provide this, then customers will go elsewhere especially as customer loyalty is on the decline.

The TechSee survey revealed that 59% of survey participants said that negative experiences led to their decision to go elsewhere, and 21% did so after just one event that left a bad taste in their mouths.

An AI chatbot is just one way to solve the email conundrum. Another alternative is to embrace the email channel and conquer it with automation. Drive the emails that need human intervention to the contact centre or the relevant teams.

Determine through conditions those that need further information and react accordingly, automatically. Handle those emails automatically that are routine and can benefit from automation based on content and sentiment. These technologies are now mature with many use cases from organisations like local government and housing associations to insurance and travel.

Many companies and organisations are aware that they need to modernise their contact centre to offer multiple channels of communications including an AI chatbot but often feel overwhelmed when thinking about the project, so they park it.

Their fears include that a digital transformation project like an AI chatbot will be a large undertaking; it will too expensive and not within their budget. There also fear that they won’t get approval because what they have already works – ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ adage.

However, you don’t need to rip out and replace existing contact centre solutions. Deploying an AI chatbot is a small project that can be broken down into small manageable projects. It is also cost-effective and doesn’t take long to implement. The time is in the planning of the business processes and setting the conditions. This is the crucial element to determine whether the project will be successful or not.

Statistics show that the average office workers receive 121 emails per day, and this keeps on rising considerably

If these fears are holding you back, maybe a good hard look at the impact on your profitability will be what it takes to start making this change. Your project can start small and grow, but rest assured, it will have an impact within the first month!

Digital enquiry management enabled Peabody to control their customer journey by deflecting over 25,000 emails from their contact centre, which improved their Trustpilot score, their agent experience bringing all of their communication (including social media) into one place… all with an ROI of less than 8 months.

Companies that are stuck in the ‘status quo’ need to move forward and look at how they communicate with their customers and employees with a new lens. If they don’t embrace modern technologies and ways of working such as AI, the use of social media, hybrid working etc they will almost certainly be left behind and lose out.

To improve customer service companies need to go back to basics and examine their customers’ and agents’ journeys under the microscope, taking a detailed and scientific approach studying how their enquiries are managed and what the process is. It is advisable to work with a trusted solutions provider who can guide you through the process of digital transformation and change management.

It is vital to have a clear understanding of the customers’ and agents journeys to identify what and where the touchpoints are.  By conducting a thorough evaluation, you can identify pain points, areas for improvement, and opportunities to enhance the overall experience for both.

Many companies think agents will not like working with chatbots and view automation as a threat to their jobs, but they are not, they simply augment their roles.

It is vital to provide training on how to work with these tools and go through the processes in the detail, so they are comfortable with them. Once the system is up and running agents realise how much better and easier their roles are and welcome the bots.

By implementing AI and workflow chatbot solutions that can handle simple enquiries it will allow agents to focus on high-value complex enquiries that require speaking to a human. Therefore, making their jobs more interesting, challenging and rewarding. Discovering new ways that the chatbot and human agents can work together to increase productivity, efficiencies and improve overall service.

Companies can then take this opportunity to invest more into the agents’ training and development plan to ensure they are happy and retained.

The customer experience will rapidly improve because enquiries can be dealt with instantly which will satisfy the customer and reduce previous frustrations of being passed from one department to another, repeating information, or put on hold for a long time.

Another benefit of chatbot is that they are available 24/7 so can be used outside working hours therefore saving you additionally on ‘out of hours’ contact centre services.

By integrating the AI chatbot with your in-house database, the chatbot and agents have visibility of the customer’s details and history therefore helping you to deliver a better service, drive loyalty and growth.

Become the agent of change and introduce an AI chatbot to your team and reap the benefits of improving the customer and agent journey, increasing productivity and efficiencies, and driving revenue growth.