Tech-driven changes in customer preferences has meant that Australian service organisations, such as contact centres, are expecting to increase their analytics investment (48%) and AI capabilities (20%) within the next 12 months to better improve customer service.
These are some of the findings from Bluewolf, an IBM Company, and their sixth annual State of Salesforce Report, which gathers over 140,000 data points and insights from over 1,800 Salesforce customers globally – to compare the way businesses’ invest in technology, such as Salesforce, across markets. The insight from Australia found:
- AI provides valuable context to delivering quality customer experiences across all channels: 1 in 5 (20%) of Australian service professionals (and a quarter (26%) globally) expect to invest in AI capabilities within 12 months. Respondents report it will enhance their service and support centres by improving call deflection and increasing first contact with customers.
- Investment in customer communities to improve digital experience: In Australia, over a third (39%) of service professionals (and 59% globally) expect AI to have the greatest impact on customer experience, followed by overall business operations and opportunity qualifications in sales. As part of fostering a data-driven culture, the best companies in Australia are looking to build on their investment in employee communities to provide useful insights into their members.
- Service centres can’t wait to anticipate: Contact channels are expanding rapidly, producing more data than service organisations can put to use. Currently only 9% of Australian service professionals, and 10% globally, report that their company analyses dark data, which includes text messages, documents, email, video and audio files, and images. However, service organisations locally (48%) and globally (53%) of plan to increase their analytics investment within the next 12 months. This demonstrates the growth and importance of forward-looking capabilities to utilise data, like contextual analytics, which enables service professionals to anticipate needs before issues arise from customers.
What is Contextual Analytics?
Speaking to Vanessa Thompson, SVP of Customer Experience Insights at Bluewolf, we were able to delve a little deeper into Contextual Analytics using weather data as an example.
The chaotic nature of weather and climate involves uncertainties and therefore complex analysis. Traditionally contextual analysis refers to analysis of text within the context of its historical and cultural setting, but with weather it helps inform other analysis or modelling being performed like predictive.
This allows companies be more proactive with their customers and offer insights that may not be immediately obvious. For example, say there is a cyclone coming and the weather predictions say it will hit Darwin in 24 hours, then a car insurance company could message all of its customers in the area and prepare them to take precautionary measures like putting their cars in the garage.
So is cost efficiency or a better customer experience driving the move to AI?
In Service, the move to AI is a mix of operational effectiveness and customer satisfaction. If the ultimate goal of the contact centre is to serve the customer in an efficient and effective manner, then AI can support this by handling more of the routine work so that an agent could focus on non-routine tasks or exception handling.
An automated agent could respond to routine type questions through a chatbot for examples like forgotten passwords, pins or bill payment dates. The bots response would be saved in Salesforce. Any calls that the bot is unable to answer could be transferred to an agent. The automated agent solves both operational effectiveness and customer experience simultaneously.
Is there an Australian example?
Bluewolf’s parent company IBM’s Watson team is working with Bluemix Garage to develop uBank’s RoboChat, the first chatbot in Australia to help customers with their online home applications. It’s available 24/7 and responds to customers on 40 core loan topics along with hundreds of associated questions, using Watson Conversation API.
You can download the full report below.