5 Ways Businesses Are Using AI to Communicate Effectively During a Pandemic

masked customer looking at phone showing how businesses use AI to provide immediate answers across devices

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way consumers shop and the way people work. A recent McKinsey report found that 77% of consumers have tried new brands, places, and ways to shop during the pandemic. Customer experience plays a pivotal role in customer retention, and it’s especially important now. Customers’ expectations are at an all-time high and more consumers are expecting a higher level of communication from organizations. Similarly, employees are also expecting a higher level of communication from employers, especially those who must attend work in-person. Now more than ever, businesses are using artificial intelligence (AI) to communicate effectively with their customers and employees. But figuring out exactly how to use AI in your business can be challenging.

A Gartner survey of business and IT professionals found that 24% increased AI investment during the pandemic, and 42% kept it at the same level. This investment has been driven by customer experience and retention, revenue growth, and cost optimization.

5 Ways Businesses Can Use AI to Be More Effective

Businesses are using AI to enhance the human element of customer and employee communication, not replace it. Through machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) that automates and augments aspects of the customer service experience, companies and agents can deliver quick, accurate, and consistent answers that meet customers’ expectations. Businesses are setting themselves apart by adopting AI technology to communicate effectively.

Thinking about how to use AI in your business? Five ways AI can help organizations operate more effectively during the pandemic include:

1. Meeting Customers’ Growing Expectation of Immediate Responses

A recent HubSpot study found that 90% of customers expect an “immediate” response, which means 10 minutes or less. With hundreds of inquiries each day, it’s nearly impossible for chat agents to respond to every message in a timely manner. Organizations can utilize AI communications through AI-driven chatbots to provide quick and autonomous assistance to customers at critical stages of their journey on their preferred channels.

By using a customer service chatbot, organizations can provide instant answers. It minimizes time spent searching for information or contacting agents and allows users to gain necessary details to assist with their purchasing decision, receive recommendations based on needs, and obtain troubleshooting information to maximize product benefits.

2. Minimizing Email Backlogs

As we navigate through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, agents are seeing a spike in email requests. It’s important to respond to customers in a timely manner as the expectation of quick response times continues to grow. With customer expectations skyrocketing, slow response times and impersonal automated responses from support agents won’t suffice.

Astute’s Email Virtual Assistant (EVA) can provide custom email responses to specific issue(s) described in the customer’s email and mimic live agent responses to provide a human feeling. The strong mix of human and automated customer service helps businesses deliver painless support quickly that meets customer expectations.

Instead of generating a generic response to customers, EVA mimics the live agent responses to preserve the human feeling by:

  • Identifying the need expressed in an email
  • Coding the need appropriately
  • Drafting a tailored email based on the best responses written by human agents
  • Using a goodwill calculator to establish appropriate compensation if necessary
  • Entering the queue for an agent to review before sending

3. Understanding Issues in Real Time

Companies are operating in a 24/7, fast-paced environment that requires you to act quickly. Therefore, you can’t afford a lapse in communication timelines. When someone reaches out to your brand (e.g., support ticket) or mentions you online (e.g., social media), the countdown for a response starts immediately. Leveraging AI, specifically social media real-time keyword, topic and sentiment analysis, addresses each critical issue swiftly, making it easier to escalate these items to the right stakeholders. Analyzing incoming messages and social posts in real-time gives agents the information they need to better prioritize their next steps.

4. Screening Employees to Communicate a Safe Environment

Chatbots help companies communicate new information and policy updates so employees can stay informed, which is key during uncertain times. The chatbots simplify the process of checking in on a continuous basis. Using a health screening chatbot can play a key role in simplifying this process and help flag potential concerns with key stakeholders in real time.

5. Answering Complex Customer Questions Quickly

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, agents can find themselves answering many of the same questions from customers, along with some new ones. Both can contribute to longer response times, especially when agents need to research internal knowledge bases for solutions. AI is helping lighten the load for support agents and helping them address more complex tickets faster. For example, using an AI-powered tool like an email virtual assistant can automatically sift through these tickets and draft responses based on internal knowledge bases or how other agents successfully addressed this type of request in the past.

Why Does it Matter?

The COVID-19 pandemic is presenting consumers with many questions and concerns. Brands are turning to AI customer service solutions such as AI chatbots, Email Virtual Assistant (EVA) and social media real-time keyword, topic and sentiment analysis to automate certain aspects of customer service to improve the support experience. As a reminder, AI in customer service is best used to enhance human customer service, not replace it. Consider Astute’s award-winning solutions to ensure your brand is effectively communicating to customers and to provide turnkey solutions for how to use AI in your business.

Find out how Astute’s solutions can help improve your business’ communication. Schedule a demo today to speak with an Astute expert.