Sunday, December 3, 2023

Afiniti on How Human-Centric AI Creates Loyal Customers


When it comes to contact centers, there’s little room for error. Studies show that one bad experience can result in a customer cutting ties with a company. This is especially true for businesses that operate in sectors where consumers have many options, like wireless plan carriers, health care providers, and financial services, including banks or credit unions.

 For companies that rely on large contact centers, it’s critical to provide consistent, reliable, and personalized lines of communication with customers. Contact centers often channel the only interaction customers will have with a company, making each conversation critical to business success. Applying the right technology can make the difference between winning, retaining or losing customers.

Earlier this year, Consuelo Remmert, General Manager and Head of International at Afiniti, shared her insights on how contact centers can deploy human-centered AI to deliver optimal customer experiences.

 Customer experience is a business imperative

 When times are good, customers aren’t always checking their phone plan to make sure it’s the right fit. Nor are they focusing on what insurance coverage they have when they’re in good health. More often than not, these issues get attention when things go wrong.

 When facing challenging circumstances, the last thing customers want to deal with is a difficult or cumbersome contact center experience, which can often result in losing their business.

Afiniti, a leader in CX AI that develops contact center AI optimization technology, understands the opportunity that arises in these difficult circumstances: deliver an exceptional experience and create a loyal customer.

 For nearly two decades, Afiniti has successfully connected customers with agents who are likely to deliver a solution and satisfy the customer’s needs. At Sabio Group’s annual contact center technology conference, Sabio Disrupt, Remmert outlined a typical contact center experience where a telco customer looks to cut costs by downgrading their wireless plan.

“So Dave picks up the phone and he calls his mobile company, and here is the moment of truth,” Remmert said. “He wants to downgrade his plan, but is he going to have a good customer service experience?”

As anyone who has called a provider before can attest, this experience can be negatively impacted by any combination of contact center issues like long wait times, improper routing or excessive use of chatbots, none of which will likely endear Dave, or any caller, to the current provider.

But Remmert knows this is where data and Afiniti’s patented AI technology can assist. “Dave gets put through to an agent right away, an agent that has done well in the past with customers like Dave, who are calling to downgrade their plans,” she said. The agent understands Dave’s unique needs, helps him, and retains the customer.

Remmert goes on to share that multiple studies have shown that even one negative customer service experience can result in a company losing a customer. Not only that, she said, but happy customers stay with their current providers longer and often pay more.

Risk of over automation

Remmert’s keynote also draws attention to another risk to excellent customer experience: over automation. While automation can help with productivity and simple tasks, human interaction — especially when it comes to dealing with problems — is paramount. When Dave called, like so many customers, he wanted to speak to someone who understood his situation and could help. The agent’s ability, harnessed by Afiniti’s AI technology, could not be matched by an automated response from a chatbot.

“AI is not technology that replaces humans,” Remmert said. “When used responsibly, AI can actually generate richer human interactions.” Afiniti delivers value that other technology cannot because it leverages the power of the human connection and benefits the bottom line. Using AI to connect a caller with a human agent who understands the customer and has past experience solving a similar issue, means the customer gets what they need and can leave the interaction satisfied.

Ultimately, effective and responsible AI is an enabler of, not a replacement for, human interaction.

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