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Customer Experience, conversational AI, AI-Powered Support

Customer Service Challenges and How to Solve Them with Conversational AI-Powered Support

Author: Marli Tucker
Customer Experience Optimization Blog Series

If you manage a contact center, you see customer frustrations every single day.
Day in, day out, you're in the thick of it - solving problems, lending an ear, making things right. From all this hustle and bustle, one glaring truth emerges: customers absolutely detest having to repeat their problems over and over again. It's like being stuck in an exasperating, never-ending loop, and it tops the chart as the number one customer service frustration by 79% of consumers¹.

Diffusing tensions while trying to resolve issues can feel like an impossible task with already frustrated customers. In our second episode of the 'Customer Experience Optimization’ series, we will explore some of the biggest customer service challenges and how to solve them with conversational AI from our latest Customer Experience (CX) Benchmark report

Haven’t read the first blog in the series? Check out our first installment - What Your Customers Really Want Based on Consumer Research

“I’m so tired of having to repeat myself again and again.”

Does this sound familiar? No one likes to constantly repeat themselves, except perhaps your neighbor who can't stop bragging about their new car. However, customer support systems seem to have missed the memo.

Recognized as the “biggest customer service frustration” by survey respondents of the CX Benchmark Report, this frustration is consistent across all industries, genders, and generations. Why does this bother people so much? It makes them feel like their time isn’t being valued by the company and can happen when a transfer occurs from one agent to another or from a digital assistant (like basic chatbots) to a live agent.

On top of that, most legacy systems aren’t able to seamlessly pass off information during an interaction, another issue that forces customers to have to restate their problem. 

How do you reduce customers having to repeat themselves?

According to Shep Hyken, world-renowned keynote speaker in customer service, “If time is money, and it is, then that wasted time over a number of calls, can add up to a big number” How much loss does that ‘big number’ add up to? Think $75 billion in lost business due to poor customer service. So stop wasting both your money and your customer’s time.

This is often easier said than done… unless you consider AI-powered customer service solutions. It’s crucial for customer service centers to have an intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) that can provide a seamless experience across channels and ensure a smooth handover, which is important to 80% of consumers, during a transfer is paramount to customer service centers.¹

This kind of conversational AI technology is game-changing for your agents on the front line too. When a call needs to be passed on, customer service reps will have all the essential info they need right at their fingertips. And hey, that's pretty crucial for 72% of customers out there.

The latest CX Benchmark Report is here! Want to skip ahead and dive into the report? Read the Report  

Customers don’t want to play the waiting game

Between hustling to work, juggling families and errands, and handling everything else,  your customers pretty much never have the spare time or patience to wait on hold. On top of all of this, we found that fully two-thirds of consumers put top importance on speed when it comes to a successful customer service interaction¹.

Why is that? On average, American consumers spend 13 hours per year waiting on hold with an estimated monetary cost of $38 billion. If we break that down, that’s over one hour of time and roughly $3.2 billion a month. That’s a lot of time and money. 

2023 CX Benchmark Report (1)

What are some other reasons to avoid putting a customer on hold? Not only is there a strong chance that the customer will simply hang up, it can also signal that there are operational inefficiencies and lower the customer’s trust in the information they receive. That creates a major support issue as accuracy and trust are in the top 5 most important criteria of a successful customer service interaction, according to consumer feedback¹. 

How can you reduce customer hold and wait times?

In an ideal world, the best solution is to eradicate hold times all together. If you have a high call volume and are frequently having to place callers on hold, it may be time to consider conversational AI-powered virtual assistance.

Customers crave experiences that let them resolve their issues swiftly and smoothly. That's where Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) come in. With 24/7 assistance, reductions in wait times in less than 30 days, and improved speed and efficiency in the support process, it’s no wonder that they’re gaining popularity.


Consumers want more than single-mode communication

Have you ever started a conversation with someone over text, then shared a video with them on Facebook, before calling them to finish the conversation? In this one instance, that’s three separate channels of communication with the same person – people do this all day long across many voice and digital channels

I know what you’re wondering - how could anyone keep up with all of that? 

In today’s modern digital age, customers want to be engaged on the channel of their choice while having context preserved across interactions, seamlessly. By covering more channels like social media, web, text, and voice, customers will feel more uniquely connected and experience greater flexibility. Plus, it also lowers high call volumes.

How can you communicate with customers on their preferred channels?

Imagine cutting-edge automated assistant technology that can flip between a phone call, text, or chat as smooth as butter, never missing a step. And guess what? A solid 69% of consumers say they'd jump on the bandwagon and turn into huge fans.¹ 

Screenshot 2023-10-23 at 4.50.08 PM

Incorporating this type of omnichannel engagement ensures that you’re delivering frictionless, valued conversations and great outcomes whenever and wherever you engage with customers and prospects. Plus, three-fourths of CX Benchmark Report respondents put importance on a seamless channel-to-channel transfer, making this solution a no-brainer.


“I need to get to a live agent now!”

Sometimes, all you want to do is speak to a live agent - it’s a part of human nature to want to speak to a real person. And let's be real, when you just need to chat with an actual person, it can be frustrating if the system just won't put you through.

For these situations, what really matters when we're dealing with automated customer service is knowing we can get through to a real person when the going gets tough.

2023 CX Benchmark Report

Does that mean all customers want to speak to live agents, all the time? No. In fact, 66% of people would prefer getting an order status in 30 seconds from an automated assistant rather than having to wait 3 minutes or more for a live agent.¹ Hubspot had a similar finding with 40% of web users not caring if they were served by a bot or a human agent as long as they get the customer support services they needed.

How do you make sure chatbot-live agent transfer works all the time?

The solution isn’t to avoid using technology altogether but to make sure that your automated assistant technology is smart enough to handle real customer problems. This means using AI-powered customer service that intelligently determines when to transfer to a live agent is crucial. 

For consumers, the gap between what they expect from intelligent virtual assistants and live agent support is only 7%, with a whopping 70% anticipating top performance from intelligent virtual assistants.¹ So, having an intelligent, conversational AI-powered virtual assistant that can switch you to a real person when needed is key to a great customer experience.

Working together, intelligent virtual assistants are able to empower agents while minimizing long wait times and maximizing customer satisfaction. This hand-in-hand relationship makes for highly personalized, efficient customer service interactions that exceed customer expectations. 


Using AI-Powered Support for Exceptional Customer Experiences

Optimizing customer experiences starts with addressing customer frustrations and understanding customer expectations. This allows you to develop a proactive approach to customer experience can support your team in tackling complex customer issues more effectively and develop a lasting plan for handling any challenges that might arise later on.

Using tools like the 2023 Customer Experience Benchmark Report allows businesses can use the insights from this report to drive superior customer experiences and boost loyalty. This also helps businesses differentiate themselves from competitors and create a strong brand reputation.

¹Kore.ai. (2023). Customer Experience (CX) Benchmark Report. Unlock Exceptional Customer Experiences with AI. https://info.kore.ai/cx-benchmark-report-2023


Ready to narrow the experience gap with AI-native Automation?

Your journey into Customer Experience insights doesn't end here. Take a deeper dive into the data and insights within our Customer Experience Benchmark Report 2023.

Read the Full Report

Want to jump into the final part of the Customer Experience Optimization blog series?

Next time, we will dive into…

Upcoming Blog: Why AI In Customer Service Is Important Across Industries

Stay ahead of the game! In the final installment of the Customer Experience Optimization blog series, we dive into the goldmine of industry insights from our latest CX Benchmark Report. This report shows how customer likes and worries vary based on the industry they interact with. Stay tuned! We will discuss the ways companies can adjust their tech strategies to match the ever-changing demands of their customers.

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