AI in Customer Care: 6 Ways to Improve Support

min read
AI in Customer Care: 6 Ways to Improve Support

When you hear about automating customer service, it may trigger flashbacks of all the times you waited on hold, screaming “speak to an agent” into your phone until you were red in the face. And, after you wore your vocal cords out talking to that damn robot, you probably weren’t even transferred to the right agent to handle your call. 

This kind of automation, obviously, creates unsatisfactory experiences. It can make your customers feel like they’re not valued and that you’d rather stick them with a robot than actually listen to their concerns. 

Thankfully, there are more empathetic ways you can use automation to improve customer care at your organization. Rather than using automation to replace human interaction with your brand, you should use it to scale human interaction and make sure every voice is heard. That’s where AI (artificial intelligence) comes in. 

With AI, you can scale automation at your contact center to better meet your customers’ needs and provide more empathetic experiences. Keep reading to learn how Invoca’s AI can help you improve agent coaching, identify common customer complaints, and more.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a machine’s ability to mimic human intelligence to perform tasks. AI can iterate to improve its performance based on the information it collects. Some of the top contact center solutions use AI to improve efficiency and identify trends from the voice of the customer.

What Are the Benefits of AI Customer Care for Companies?

AI provides numerous advantages for companies seeking to deliver exceptional support and enhance customer experiences. Below are just a few:

Benefit 1: Reduce Hold Times

AI-powered solutions like Invoca help companies understand which website pages are driving unnecessary calls for routine issues that can be solved online. Teams can use these insights to take action and make it easier for customers to find the support they need online, deflecting unnecessary calls. Because fewer customers need to call to get their issues solved, hold times are reduced as a result.

Benefit 2: Identify Common Issues to Deliver Proactive Support

By employing AI-driven conversation intelligence, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer sentiments and identify potential issues in real-time. AI algorithms can detect negative trends and emerging problems, allowing companies to take proactive measures and address customer concerns before they escalate. This proactive approach not only prevents customer dissatisfaction and reduces the risk of negative reviews but also fosters stronger customer loyalty and trust in the brand. Using AI to identify issues and provide timely support, companies can then demonstrate their commitment to customer well-being, ultimately leading to enhanced customer satisfaction and long-term brand advocacy.

Benefit 3: Easier Performance Tracking

With AI customer care in place, businesses can collect and analyze valuable data on customer interactions and support performance. AI analytics provide insights into key metrics such as response times, resolution rates, and customer satisfaction scores, allowing companies to monitor and evaluate support performance accurately. In addition, AI can automatically grade agents on their performance, leading to better coaching. By having a comprehensive view of support metrics, companies can identify areas for improvement, optimize resource allocation, and implement targeted training for agents.

Benefit 4: More Time to Focus on Complex Problems

AI efficiently handles repetitive and common inquiries, providing instant and accurate responses. This automation not only reduces the workload on human agents but also ensures faster issue resolution and response times for customers. With routine tasks offloaded to AI, human agents can then focus on providing specialized support, solving intricate problems, and building deeper relationships with customers. This shift allows agents to offer personalized solutions and value-added services, ultimately enhancing the overall customer experience. 

Benefit 5: Reduce Operating Costs

When customer care teams use AI to score agent performance and deflect unnecessary calls, they reduce the workload for their agents and can, in some cases, reduce staffing at their contact centers. As a result, they can allocate resources more effectively and serve their customers with less overhead costs.

What Are the Benefits of AI Support for Customers?

AI isn't just a game-changer for businesses — consumers also reap the benefits of automation in the following ways:

Benefit 1: Faster support

With AI's ability to analyze data and learn from customer conversations, it continuously improves response times, leading to quicker issue resolution and enhanced customer satisfaction. The speed and responsiveness of AI support contribute to a seamless and positive customer experience, making interactions with businesses more convenient and enjoyable.

Benefit 2: 24/7 support

With AI-powered chatbots and conversational IVRs (interactive voice response), businesses can offer 24/7 support, ensuring that customers can access help and information whenever they need it, regardless of the time zone or day of the week. The availability of AI support eliminates waiting times and allows customers to get immediate answers to their queries, enhancing the overall customer experience. Whether it's making a purchase, seeking product information, or resolving an issue, customers can rely on AI support for instant and consistent assistance, leading to increased customer satisfaction

Benefit 3: Reduction of human error

Unlike human agents who may occasionally make mistakes, AI-powered chatbots, virtual assistants, and IVRs operate with precision and consistency. AI is capable of analyzing vast amounts of data quickly and accurately, ensuring that customers receive accurate and reliable information. By automating routine tasks and processes, AI eliminates the risk of human error in tasks such as data entry or order processing, leading to improved service quality and customer satisfaction. The reduction of human error in AI support translates to a more reliable and efficient customer experience, instilling confidence in customers and enhancing their trust in the brand.

Benefit 4: Lower costs are passed onto customers

By automating routine customer care processes with AI, companies can optimize resource allocation and reduce the need for a large support team, resulting in cost savings. These savings can be reflected in competitive pricing, special offers, or improved product value, benefiting customers directly. Additionally, the efficiency of AI support streamlines processes, leading to faster response times and issue resolution, which in turn contributes to a more cost-effective customer support system.

4 Ways Customer Care Teams Drive Better Results with AI

Expectations for the customer experience are at an all-time high — 76% of consumers will stop doing business with you after just one bad experience. Simultaneously, The Great Resignation has left call centers more understaffed than ever. The most recent data from the  United States Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the average call center turnover rate is as high as 45% — at least twice the average turnover in other departments.

To do more with less and ensure every customer receives top-notch service, customer care teams are using AI to scale their efforts. 

1. Automatically QA each call to improve agent performance

If you’re like many companies, you’re listening to phone call recordings to QA your customer care agents’ performance. There are many flaws to this approach — listening to calls is expensive, time-consuming, and fraught with human error. In addition, your QA team (or team of one) is only able to listen to a small sample of your agents’ calls, which may not be a reliable indicator of total performance. They may have caught some of your best agents on their worst days or vice versa. 

To solve this issue, leading customer care teams use Invoca’s AI-powered conversation intelligence to automate call quality assurance. No two customer care organizations are the same — that’s why Invoca allows you to set your own unique criteria to score agent success. For example, you may want your customer care agents to start with a greeting script, inquire about the issue, use empathetic phrases like “I understand” and, after the issue has been resolved, ask if there is anything else they can do to help. The call scorecard uses AI to automatically detect which of these criteria are met on each call and assign a corresponding score. 

By scoring 100% of phone calls with AI, Invoca removes bias and human error from the equation. Agents, therefore, can rest assured that they’re being fairly judged on the quality of their performance. This can boost morale and help you reduce turnover. 

In addition to automatically scoring calls, Invoca’s AI also makes it easier to locate coachable moments within each call. This way, you can spend less time listening to phone calls and more time training your agents to deliver top-notch customer service.

Sample Invoca customer care agent scorecard generated by AI

2. Reduce case volumes by identifying trends at scale

One of the best ways to improve customer care at your organization is to identify common customer experience issues and correct them before they can result in cases. By getting ahead of complaints, you can reduce case volumes and negative reviews. But when your contact center receives thousands of calls per day, it can be difficult to identify common trends — there’s simply too much information to sift through. 

To understand common issues at scale, leading customer care organizations use Invoca. With Invoca’s Signal AI, you can use artificial intelligence to automatically detect certain words or phrases that you’ve deemed important. For example, you could set up a signal that identifies when customers ask questions about a specific product, have an issue with your website, or mention an issue at one of your locations. This will allow you to quickly identify and address key issues on your webpages and at your brick-and-mortar stores. 

Sometimes, however, you may not know what words or phrases to look for. There may be issues impacting your customers that you haven’t detected yet. To identify topics and trends you may not have known to look for, you can use Invoca’s Signal Discovery. This feature uses unsupervised machine learning to discover macro and micro trends that are happening in your consumers’ phone conversations. As a result, you can detect new customer issues and barriers to purchase at scale, without having to listen to call recordings to find them.

Invoca’s AI is easy to use and can often eliminate the need for hiring a team of data scientists. See how it works in the video below:

Once you understand the common issues impacting your customers, you can take action to correct them. If there’s an issue with a buying flow on your website, you can reach out to your web team and have them fix it. If there’s an issue at one of your brick-and-mortar stores, you can let the manager know so they can improve the experience. If there’s an issue you can’t solve right away, you can give your customer care agents a detailed script that will help them handle the complaint and keep the customer happy. 

How Spectrum Retirement Communities used Invoca’s AI to keep residents safe and informed during COVID-19

Spectrum Retirement Communities, LLC, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is a leading operator of retirement, assisted living, and memory care communities, with 48 locations in 10 states. When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, the company needed to pivot to crisis response and ensure it kept its residents safe and informed.

To implement the crisis communication strategy and ensure messaging was consistent across all of Spectrum Retirement’s channels, the task force used Invoca’s Signal AI. They created a COVID-19 phrase-spotting signal, focusing on words like “coronavirus,” “virus,” “infectious disease,” “influenza,” “quarantine,” and “lockdown.”

Director of marketing operations Shannon Johnson said the team started tracking call volume related to COVID-19 concerns, as well as the “tenor and tone” of conversations about the pandemic. “Using the Invoca platform, we were able to measure trends by location and create reports,” she said. This enabled Spectrum to discover what residents and their families were really concerned about.

The team then made pivots like adjusting information on the company’s website and in other materials and communications. “We wanted to make sure we were addressing everything that residents and their family members were calling us about,” said Johnson. She added that Spectrum Retirement received more than 16,000 calls through the Invoca platform just about COVID-19 during the first six months of the pandemic.

By proactively addressing concerns and delivering consistent messaging, Spectrum kept the COVID-19 curve flat across its 50 properties. In fact, the company saw an infection rate of just 1% among all its team members and residents during the first six months of the pandemic. 

“A key reason we’ve kept the curve flat was that we were able to use Invoca data to develop effective communications that helped people understand what they needed to do to stay safe,” Johnson explained. “Whether you called our hotline, or you wanted to visit our website, or you received an email or letter from us, you got the same messaging.”

Read the full Spectrum Retirement case study here

3. Deflect unnecessary calls by creating seamless online conversion paths 

If you’ve called a business lately, you’ve probably heard a message about “higher than expected call volumes.” This has been a pervasive issue since the Great Resignation, when many customer care agents left their jobs, leaving contact centers understaffed. High call volumes can negatively impact many of the metrics your customer care team reports on — they increase average handle time (AHT), drive up abandonment rates, reduce customer satisfaction, and harm your net promoter score. They can also put strain on your agents and lower morale. 

The solution to this issue isn’t to make it harder for everyone to call — that would frustrate customers who prefer to speak to a live agent to get help. Instead, you should focus on deflecting unnecessary phone calls from people who prefer to get help online. 30% of people report calling a business because they couldn’t find what they needed online. When someone is forced to call because they can’t find the right information on your website, this creates a poor experience for everyone involved. The caller is frustrated they have to pick up the phone, and your agents are frustrated that their call queue keeps getting longer. 

To deflect unnecessary calls, leading companies use AI-powered conversation intelligence. With a conversation intelligence solution like Invoca, you can identify the moments when shoppers choose to call rather than complete their purchase online. Invoca surfaces the caller’s entire journey through your website, from the ad or search keyword that brought them in, to the pages they viewed, to the exact click-to-call button they used to contact you.

Invoca identifies issues in the online buying flow that are driving unnecessary calls to your contact center

In addition, Invoca’s AI analyzes customer conversations to identify trending topics from each webpage. This helps you understand the issues that are causing digital abandonment. You may find that a certain product page doesn’t offer enough specifics for customers to make a purchasing decision, you may learn that your checkout process is long and overly complicated, or you may discover that your online shopping cart is stalling out from a server or backend issue. You can then take the right steps to correct the issue on your website and deflect unnecessary calls as a result.

4. Program your chatbots to answer FAQs from phone conversations

To provide a seamless experience, you need to let your customer engage with you on their own terms, rather than forcing them into whatever conversion path is easiest for you. This means that if they prefer to get their questions answered via a chatbot rather than calling an agent, you should make that process as easy as possible.

John Odom and BJC Healthcare use Invoca’s AI to identify gaps in the chatbot experience. Insights from Invoca uncovered common questions callers were asking that the chatbots were not able to address. They were then able to give their chatbots the answers to these questions so that customers didn’t have to make unnecessary calls if they preferred to schedule an appointment online. This freed up their contact center phone lines and allowed agents to focus on having more meaningful conversations with patients. 

Check out the video clip below to learn more:

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about how leading customer care teams use Invoca’s AI to deliver better experiences at the contact center? Check out these resources:

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