Articles/Think big, act small -the keys to Conversational AI and Automation success

Think big, act small -the keys to Conversational AI and Automation success

 “If I were you, I wouldn’t start from here.” That’s the punchline to an old joke where a tourist asks a local for directions. For many businesses, starting a customer service automation project is no joking matter. It feels hard. Overwhelming. Intimidating. And it can be challenging to know where to start.

Automating your conversations and interactions with customers doesn’t need to be complicated. And unlike the unfortunate advice given to the tourist, you can start from wherever you are.  Here's how.

1. Step back and discover.

You can find out a lot about the world without leaving your couch by watching The Discovery Channel. Discovery is the key before leaping into automation. When you know where you are, you can work out where you want to go. How are you solving problems or helping customers today? What processes are you making simple? Or difficult? Discover the opportunities first.

2. Start with what matters most.

Automating your conversations will save you time and lower costs - but none of that matters if it costs you, customers, too. Don’t cut corners. Give customers what is most important to them, not you. For 9 in 10 of them, that means getting an “immediate” answer to a service query. Focus on automating areas where you can deliver on their “need for speed”.

3. Begin with big impact, little effort projects.

Remember the 80/20 rule? Start with your 80 percenters – projects that will improve the parts of your business where most of your customers are, answer the questions most of your customers ask, or the tasks most of your customers do when they contact you. Don’t spend time automating something very few of your customers will ever use, see or ask about. Instead, focus on the low hanging fruit.

4. Don’t start from scratch.

There is no need to rip and replace what you already have. Look for a simple, single opportunity to automate one process well and deliver it.

5. Work in bite sized bits.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was a successful automation transformation. Think agile. You’ll make steady progress and get better results by breaking the project into small parts. Try, apply, refine, repeat. 

6. Don’t set and forget.

When an automation project is delivered, it’s the start of it, not the end. Customer expectations keep changing. Your organisation will change. Outside forces such as pandemics will change the world. We learn as we go. There’s always room for improvement. Make continuous improvement the goal.

7. Make feedback your friend.

We live and learn. Or at least, we should. Each piece of automation is a work in progress, so gather insights to help you keep making the regular improvements that make a big difference. Seek feedback, from customers and your team. Customers appreciate being asked about their experience. Almost 77% of customers think highly of a brand that seeks and welcomes their feedback.

8. Better together.

Automation should help your human team members do a better job, not replace them.  Embracing AI allows you to optimise your people power by freeing agents to do more higher value and rewarding tasks. Allowing AI to answer all the quick, easy queries, then hand over to the right person when needed, and instantly ‘fetch and suggest’– putting all relevant data and prompts in your people’s hands to solve the more complex enquiries.

9. Keep it consistent – go omni-channel.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel for every channel. When you automate one process, don’t just use it in one place. Apply it across all your channels, so customers get the same improved service experience wherever they meet you.

10. Start small – but start somewhere.

When it comes to automating customer service, you don’t need to start in a specific place. You can have big ambitions for automation but you don’t need big projects. The key to not getting overwhelmed by the complexity is to simplify your approach. Start small. And grow as you go.