Posted on : February 22nd 2022
Author : Sudhakaran Jampala
Long wait times for customers and expensive support operations are traditional problems in ensuring a holistic customer services (CX) model. An increasing part of CX's challenges is the lack of personalized solutions. But new methods, such as conversational artificial intelligence (AI), AI chatbots, and virtual assistants, offer faster and more flexible ways to support customers. Conversational AI leverages machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) to cultivate human-like customer conversations.¹ According to Gartner, the conversational AI market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30.2 percent between 2019 and 2024, to about US$17 billion. Today’s customers expect smart, personalized engagements via instant interactions with a brand. Traditional windows into customer behaviors, such as click-through rates, bounce rates, and others, are giving way to instant preference signaling through mediums such as chatbots.
The pandemic situation has created a situation where companies must deliver transactions at scale across various back-office activities by leveraging the latest technologies remotely. Only 13 percent of U.S. customer support agents (CSAs) permanently worked remotely before the pandemic, according to ContactBabel.² But by mid-April 2020, 71 percent of U.S. CSAs (and 87 percent for the large U.S. organizations segment) were working remotely.
The CX environment was complex before the pandemic, and the introduction of sophisticated technologies (AI/ML, cloud, etc.) has companies looking harder at sourcing strategies. Companies that were reluctant to engage external service providers are forced to consider external CX partners to access critical expertise because today’s hybrid remote CX delivery necessitates an omnichannel strategy for supporting the scale and optimizing costs.³
About 80 percent of inbound customer query volume often involves routine, repetitive queries (or FAQs)⁴ that AI assistants can address. By implementing a conversational AI solution, about 80 percent of the typical customer care volume can be automated. Ramp-up and ramp-down options for calibrating scale become easier too. Digital-first CXs have led to integrating channels such as web chats and emails into CX suites to meet surging call volumes and hold times. Resolution rates and cost efficiencies are also rising because of integrated omnichannel systems. Agents can deliver on-point CX if they have access to customers’ conversations and order histories in a single view. Thus, app integrations with customized application programming interfaces (APIs) could provide a multifaced 360-degree view of customers to CSAs. Automation streamlines CX and reduces CSA churn, allowing companies to meet challenges of scale, cost, and remote CSAs.
Today’s digital-led service experience leverages smartphones. Personal and familiar channels like live chat and WhatsApp reduce wait times and alienating experiences and significantly improve Customer Satisfaction (CSAT).⁵ With chatbots as the first touchpoint line for customers, the cost per interaction has gone down while helping meet rising demand with limited CSAs. In addition, CSAs are empowered to use value-added interventions through tools such as 360-degree customer intelligence.
On a Citrix or a remote desktop environment, most work happens in CX, where robotic process automation (RPA) is used for order processing, data retrieval, and ingestion from multiple systems. AI/ML tools increasingly handle content scraping and perform analytics on voice and text (chats/emails). Bots can copy-paste, scrape web data, make calculations, open and move files, analyze emails, log into programs, connect to APIs, and extract unstructured data. Automating these repetitive tasks saves time and money. Moreover, RPA bots can perform many operations in parallel in desktop and cloud environments. If needed, deploying additional robots quickly according to work fluctuations incurs minimal costs.
Intelligent automation combining AI/ML with RPA can power end-to-end digital transformation. For example, bots relieve employees from mundane, repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus on more engaging and higher-value tasks.
Remote and hybrid customer support has inculcated new and innovative means for enhancing CX. Companies focusing on providing customized services by using virtual assistants gain support for CSAs, providing deeper insights about customer interactions and behavioral analysis. Ultimately, CX results from multiple interactions between a consumer and a company, covering several dimensions, including emotional, behavioral, digital, customization, and others.
¹ Abhisehak Shanbhag, “Using Conversational Analytics to Measure and Personalize Customer Experience,” BotCore, September 10, 2021, https://botcore.ai/blog/conversational-analytics-customer-experience/.
² Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, “Key Trends for Remote and Hybrid Customer Experience Delivery” (white paper, MCCRE13000121), 2021,
³ Swapnil Jain, “Observe. AI and ScopeAI Join Forces to Deliver Omnichannel Conversation Intelligence,” Observe AI, August 31, 2021,
⁴ Saahil Nair, “How Conversational AI Helps Ensure Business Continuity during Crisis,” Haptik, May 11, 2020,
⁵ Freshworks, “The New CX Mandate,” n.d., https://www.freshworks.com/the-new-cx-mandate/.
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