Africa: Is Your Customer Service Superhuman?

17 September 2020

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is present technology, worming its way into our day to day life. It is no longer a future promise. If anything, now is when the industry needs to adopt it. But, it will have to come with blessedly clear communication to allay employee fears such as AI taking over their jobs. Employers must prepare employees, develop oversight and supervision and increase transparency. As wonderful as it may be, AI is not without its challenges - difficulty in hiring AI talent skills, lack of training, to a lack of initial investment funding. With the pandemic in mind, however, the rules are changing. If you are looking for a place to start, how can the chatbot be of use to you and your business? The benefits of automation-first customer service is that as a strategy, it works for your customer, for your agent, and ultimately, for your business.

It starts from circumstances based on the new normal. Three things are happening today because of the pandemic.

customer contacts are at an all-time high with customers being anxious and expecting more support

customers are struggling to receive support in good time because the customer-facing employees are working remotely

organisations are facing budget cuts and reduced staffing.

It is against this backdrop that Vishal Chopra, Head of Marketing, India, ASEAN, Middle East, Africa at Freshworks, comes in. He lists three things - he likes stating facts in threes - that any chatbot should do.

Be Effortless

How much automation can be done by an organisation? According to Freshworks, bots are capable of handling 25 per cent of the queries that typically come through. If you went into detail you will realise most organisations use bots for low-effort interaction at Level 1 (L1) Think FAQs such as, "what is your refund policy?" Level 2 (L2) would require more complex details where a bot is not restricted to Q&As but can connect with your inventory or other technologies that you may have. It would answer queries such as "where is my order?" Finally, there is L2+ with advanced troubleshooting.

Case study: Phone Pe, an Indian payments app, uses Freddy, the Freshworks omnibot, to serve 150 million customers. "I wouldn't be surprised if they have surpassed 200 million now because everything is digital with COVID-19," says Vishal. Phone Pe has 1.5 million businesses on their platform which do anything from credit card payments to mobile transfers. It processes almost 400 million transactions per month. The volume doubles every three to five months. Transactions are varied and multifaceted and happening at the grassroots level. And whether the transaction is $100 or $1,000, the customers expect uniformity of service. Phone Pe is able to deflect 60 per cent of their queries through bot technology, reporting that this is just as good an experience as using live agents.

2. Be Proactive

Anxiety levels are at an all-time high with customers expecting you to be a little more prompt. If your chatbot understands the queries around say, when the order would be placed, and assure you with messaging, it alleviates uncertainty. "I think customers are empowered enough today to get the next service provider who can actually offer better service and a better experience. You can tell this when you go on social media. The problem with that is that you lose potential customers, not just the one who lodged a complaint. You can understand the business impact of just one bad customer review." The secret here is to reach your customer before your customer reaches out to you. Messages such as, 'Thank you for getting in touch. We will get right back to you with details on your order,' set the right communication tone.

Case study: Dunzo is an all-in-one 24/7 delivery platform in India. They deliver anything the customers demand from groceries to medical supplies. With 600 employees in their network. "Dunzo started with a very humble WhatsApp group of a 35 member team. That says a lot about their business model now and into the future. They fulfil around 2 million orders per month for users across India and are looking into piloting drone deliveries. They are a company at the forefront of technology." When it comes to customer service they leverage the benefits of AI and chatbots and have been able to automate almost half of their queries and save up to 30 per cent. "Dunzo realised - which is at the forefront of their culture - that happy agents make happy customers. The agent and bot combination has led to a simplified experience," explains Vishal. Speaking of human to bot transition, before the bot transitions the message to the agent, they actually capture the context of the query. It saves your support staff from having to fill in that information through agent assistance.

3. Be Empathetic

Case study: Zappos was affected by the pandemic just like anyone else. What happened is that Zappos swiftly realised the pandemic was taking quite the toll. They decided to put business on the back burner and gave a lending ear instead. If you had anything to talk about, they welcomed it, whether it was what you are watching on Netflix to cat food. Just call customer service and have a chat. They called it "Customer Service for Anything."

During one of these chats, a healthcare provider reached out asking for oximeters which he could not find in his supply network. Everybody was running low on them. Zappos were able to source and supply 300 oximeters for that hospital. "Imagine the kind of ripple effect and brand recognition they got without any returns in mind. As a business, enrol empathy to customers and society at large. These are things you can do with technology and beyond business," he concludes.

Access KPMG's survey on AI and get more insights into bots here.


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