How CIOs can use machine learning to transforming customer service

When used properly, machine learning will take high volumes of customer interactions and use them to deliver a better experience.

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In recent years, advances in machine learning have propelled its use to the forefronts of virtually every industry in the modern economy. This exciting new way to conduct business is thus being increasingly relied upon to provide better customer service experiences at a fraction of current cost.

What specific strategies are the world’s most innovative companies employing to get the most out of machine learning, and what exactly does it hold for the customer service industry?

The role of data in business

Recent developments in the collection and analysis of huge sums of data have fundamentally altered how most businesses operate. Companies are now able to collect data and metadata about their consumers, which helps them determine which products or services will be the most popular, and can analyze their own data to detect wasteful trends.

Machine learning means your company’s programs can make use of this data without being explicitly programmed to do so, as programs collect, learn, and adapt by utilizing ever-greater sources of data. Your human employees who do relatively simple and often mundane task, such as answering phones, will soon be replaced by much more efficient machines.  

Workers who remain employed will find themselves working alongside of greater numbers of machines, too. Employees will find it much easier to comb through databases of information, retrieve specific solutions to costumer issues, and detect what kind of customer they’re on the line with by utilizing advanced software.

Machine learning also enhances your company’s knowledge-retention capacity in the long run. Your human employees will come and go, either retiring or finding new positions elsewhere, often taking their valuable experience and knowledge with them. Automated programs that utilize machine learning, however, will always be available to you, and continue to collect and store customer’s data for later interpretation and use.

A staggering 82% of retailers agreed that big data is changing the way they interact with and relate to customers. More so than anything else, this figure displays the necessity of embracing the digital age and all that comes with it for any modern business. So how can firms exploit machine learning to ease their customers’ experiences and reduce their own cost?

Building a modern workforce

Huge amounts of your company’s expenses are no doubt driven by the cost of providing adequate customer care. By automating your workforce and employing the latest technologies to achieve your goals, you can significantly cut cost while optimizing your operations.

Automated customer service programs can reduce the amount of time customers spend on hold, and can assist customers in finding exact solutions to their specific problems. A user-friendly system will also collect extraordinarily useful feedback in the form of costumer’s data and metadata, which your algorithms can make great use of.

By collecting data from your hundreds, thousands, or potentially millions of customer interactions, you can determine which problems your customers face the most, such as their use of a Netflix VPN, and which solutions were the most statistically effective in helping them. Machine learning won’t entirely supplant your human workforce, however; your skilled employees will be supplemented by these algorithms to better assist customers, and will have more time freed up to focus on specific issues as basic task are taken care of by the robots.

Cognizant’s report on optimizing customer support with machine intelligence dives heavily into this subject. Even when machine learning programs aren’t capable of assisting customers with an issue, they can often gleam useful information to direct them to specific agents who have experience solving that problem. One of machine learning’s greatest assets is its ability to convey expert-level information to everyday support agents, who can then complete their jobs more efficiently.

Research has consistently shown that there are few things a business can do for customers that are more valued than making good use of their time. There are few things a customer support company can do to better optimize their performance than rely on the awesome speed of modern algorithms and machine learning techniques.

Machine learning has the potential to revolutionize the way your company does business, but only when it’s used correctly. It’s powerful analytical capabilities mean you won’t have to employ large numbers of unskilled employees, but rather focus on attracting skilled human employees who can make use of the machines to better accomplish their objectives.

When used properly, machine learning will take high volumes of customer interactions, which used to slow down companies with greater workloads, and use them to find useful trends. As algorithms and human-replacing software proliferate more and more, they will only become cheaper and easier to use. Companies hoping to stay at the top of their game should recognize the forthcoming importance of machine learning, and take steps to integrate it into their business models for future success.

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