The rise of AI may sound like a futuristic sci-fi movie plot, but when you take a closer look at the recent technology developments and predictions, the way we work and live will soon be upended in ways not seen since the Industrial Revolution. AI brings real, tangible benefits to businesses and customers alike and has been identified by Gartner as one of the top 10 strategic trends every year since 2015. But how is AI being utilized in customer experience today, and how will it be utilized moving forward?
McKinsey recently ran a report in November looking at the capabilities of AI today and tomorrow. Nearly all of the companies who have implemented AI in their CX and customer support have reported meaningful benefits such as revenue increase and cost reduction. Last week, Solvvy hosted a live webinar where Sophie Conti, CEO and Founder at Customer Service Lab and Jesse Holcomb, Senior Specialist of Scalability Solutions at SeatGeek, discussed innovative ways in which they have been able to implement a successful artificial intelligence strategy to improve customer experience. They also discussed key trends in the space and predictions for 2020. Let’s take a look at a few of the key learnings from the session.
CX AI – A Great Wave to Ride
SeatGeek has been able to stay ahead of their competition by leveraging AI capabilities to create an effortless customer experience. 89% of customers say getting a quick response to their questions is important when making decisions about which companies to buy from. And AI-powered self service can deliver faster customer service at all hours, whereas humans have can’t be ‘always on’.
Furthermore, 81% of customers would prefer to help themselves rather than speaking to a support agent. SeatGeek is utilizing Solvvy’s AI solution to provide instant accurate resolutions to customer issues and has been able to realize a 35% self-service rate along with $350,000 in cost savings over the past 12 months. Their agents and customers have saved over 4,500 hours in the past year by riding the AI wave.
On the backend, SeatGeek is able to control their contact funnel with Solvvy and direct their customers to chat, which has the highest CSAT score out of all other support channels. Before SeatGeek implemented Solvvy, their chat volume was 25% of their channel mix, but today their chat volume is 40% of their channel mix.
Staying Ahead of the Wave
Thought leader Sophie Conti pointed to Gartner’s prediction that AI will have the largest impact on CX over the next three years followed by chatbots and omnichannel customer engagement. So if AI is here, how can organizations leverage the power of this technology to ensure they don’t end up behind their competition? The first step is to set realistic goals for your AI strategy and from there, to create a phased implementation strategy.
SeatGeek began their AI journey by first setting achievable goals. Their team hoped to create an effortless customer experience by providing customers personalized answers as swiftly and effortlessly as possible. They also set out to avoid headcount increase and in the face of a projected 20-30% increase in volume YoY while maintaining 90% CSAT score.
They were able to achieve these goals, with a phased approach in their implementation. Jesse Holcomb of SeatGeek noted in the webinar that the key to their success was “Phase Zero.” “Before we could deploy our AI tools effectively, we had to completely overhaul much of our Help Center and our email macros. This was a huge investment of human time, with a focus on returns for the future.” It was important to SeatGeek to utilize human intelligence for phase zero of their implementation to ensure the AI tools were deployed effectively. Human intelligence is still at the core of their strategy to continuously improve their AI performance, and to recognize that there are still areas where AI won’t be a perfect fit for a situation.
The Future is Here
SeatGeek set human-centric AI goals to create a better customer experience by leveraging AI to increase efficiency and improve customer trust. The volume of their tickets has shifted in ways they did not initially foresee with a 50% increase in overall ticket volume. However, due to the success of their AI implementation, they’ve been able to handle this volume with strong CSAT ratings and Customer Effort Scores, while keeping agent headcount flat. They’ve taken an agile approach to their knowledge base by utilizing Solvvy Insights to update their content regularly driving better self-service rates and better search results for their customers. Solvvy Insights provides a report of gaps in a knowledge base by surfacing most commonly used articles and associated self-service rates. This data empowers internal subject matter experts to focus their contributions on what will impact customers the most—and that, in turn, frees up agents to focus on white-glove service.
At the conclusion of our webinar, our speakers made some interesting predictions for 2020 and beyond. Sophie Conti believes that we will see more and more customer service scenarios where interactions will be entirely machine to machine. Jesse Holcomb hopes to achieve a 50% self-service rate for SeatGeek customers with the power of Solvvy by the end of 2020. Kaan Ersun wrapped up our webinar by predicting in the short-mid term that there will be a shift in user interface and a complete reorganization of business processes and tasks, noting that when ATMs were first introduced there was a fear of the demise in banking. The reality was a reduction in bank tellers who moved into more advanced functions within the industry.
It’s an exciting time to be in the customer experience space as AI is transforming the experience of end-users and reengineering internal processes and organizations. It’ll be interesting to see how the technology matures and if it will live up to the hype in 2020 and beyond!