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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Embrace digital, because today even your parents want it – Latest News

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“Embrace digital. Fortify your digital channels. Because today, not just the millennials and Gen Z’s, even your parents would want to be digital.”

That was LogMeIn marketing head Rebecca Kurian’s message to marketers at the Times Techies webinar last week. The webinar was held in association with LogMeIn, the Boston-based company that provides cloud-based remote connectivity services for collaboration, IT management and customer engagement.

The discussion was on how new digital technologies can be used to strengthen customer experiences at a time when customers are wary of stepping out of their homes to buy products and services.

Mrinal Rai, manager & principal analyst at technology research and advisory firm ISG, noted that self-service has become key for customers, and therefore hyper-personalisation through extensive use of AI, automation and analytics is essential for good customer service.

Chatbots – or personal digital secretary as Rai preferred to call it – are seen as a crucial element of this. Customers may prefer human agents, but it would be prohibitively expensive to employ human agents to deal with the innumerable requests that come.

Kurian said 80% of the requests are so basic that bots can easily deal with them. All it requires is for sufficient data to be fed into the system. She said there are even technologies that quickly alert you if the system is unable to respond to a particular basic query. And when an alert comes, it’s also possible to just as quickly publish the necessary data into the system so that the bot becomes more efficient. “So you can start small, you don’t have to wait till all the data is fed in,” she said.

A good AI system can ensure that a bot learns over time so that it can even handle more complex queries. Crucial to this is that all of the company’s systems are connected, so that the bot can obtain all necessary information. “The success of a bot depends on the knowledge base. If it knows your persona too – by, say, looking at your social media profiles and past interactions – it will perform very well,” Rai said.

The more data the customer shares, the better the experience she will get. But the system should alert her about privacy risks, and inform her that if she gives this level of information, she would get this level of experience

Mrinal Rai, principal analyst, ISG

Rai and Kurian also emphasised the importance of a seamless handover to a human agent in the event the bot is unable to handle a problem. “Otherwise, you get a broken experience,” Kurian said. Rai said the bot should be able to analyse the words the customer is using, and if the words suggest that she is getting angry or frustrated, it should hand over to a human.

And when the handover happens, Rai said, the human agent should have all the information the customer has already provided to the bot so that the customer does not have to repeat everything. ICICI Bank, Kurian said, is seeing a lot of customer wins since they introduced a chatbot.

Use conversational systems and systems that can handle any language, because that’s how customers respond. They don’t use perfect sentences, spelling, grammar. The system must understand the intent

Rebecca Kurian, head, marketing, LogMeIn India

AR/VR is slowly emerging as another important technology to make the customer experience good. “It can tell you how a dress looks on you,” Rai said.

Kurian said she needed to change her glasses recently and decided to try to do it remotely through Lenskart. “Lenskart took the picture of my face. They measured my sight. And they sent the glasses home, and it fitted perfectly,” she said.

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