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Article of the week 30 – 2021

Expert Tips: Artificial intelligence (AI) and customer focus – how will AI influence production and customer service in the coming years?

What does AI mean for our working world? We are already dependent on digital media and computers in our everyday lives. A purely analog work environment has become a discontinued model. Today, it’s normal that we all work with e-mails, smartphones and in the cloud. In the future, AI systems will be the norm in our everyday lives.

Intelligent assistants support our workflows, algorithms make our organization more efficient, and programs enhance our visual, linguistic, analytical, and physical skills. These new innovations will support us in all areas of our private and professional lives.

Today, it’s possible to run “business as usual” in one way or another in many lines of business and lose sight of the customer. What do my customers really want? What do they need, or how are my customers’ needs changing?

So how can AI help answer these questions?

Let’s take a practical example that we all know well. You call the service hotline of your mail order company because you absolutely want to have this chic bed linen that you saw on their flyer. After the friendly service employee has taken your order, she also offers you the current suitcase set which has just been reduced by 30% this week. Now you think, why did she ask me if I wanted to buy a suitcase set?

Answer: She was given instructions to offer this set to every customer that called in week 27. She does not have AI to support this. With AI technical support, she would have offered you the matching bed sheets, the colorful bedspread, or the matching curtains as well, and not just a suitcase set. It is also very likely that you would have ordered these additional offers at the same time.

According to research, AI will restructure the market. Companies will be able to better understand how, what, when, for how long, in what personal context, and why their product or service is used or purchased due to more readily available and actual data provided by AI.

Over the next ten years companies will face fierce competition, especially from those companies that are looking for lucrative alternatives to AI and will be further developing and adapting their products and services to the new conditions earlier than their competitors.

This competitive pressure and the new possibilities of access to information, data, and products through AI leads to the fact that it is no longer possible to exclusively market what is produced, but increasingly only what your customers actually want or really need must be produced.

In addition to sales and production, however, AI can also be used effectively in customer service.

Let’s look at a common example of a reminder which causes a customer to call customer service. A customer receives a reminder about his last order because he lost track of the payment deadline. The customer has never received a reminder before because he usually pays his bills on time. The customer now calls the company’s customer service department in a huff to complain.

Our customer uses the voice announcement which works with speech analysis and is supported by AI. He loudly states his customer number. The deployed speech recognition immediately recognizes his customer account and dunning status, and at the same time determines his mood by means of the deployed AI. This information is made available to the service employee accepting the call.

Based on the available information, the customer is routed directly to the employee responsible for accounting. This employee will have already opened the transaction on the screen and has experience with dunning customers with this status. The employee can then respond and focus on the customer’s concern both emotionally and professionally, without first having to ask the customer for further information. The customer is helped immediately.

I am always pleased when I am reminded that a large, global online mail order company’s items can be delivered again and that we can, of course, still add or remove items. Or that items are recommended to me that I never looked at, but that are suddenly offered to me for purchase and which I also like.

Frightening? No! That’s the customer service of the future – knowing what the customer wants or might need without having to take any action.

Sandra Lenzing –  Consultant

 junokai

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