Ensure Customer Delight: Automate your Customer-Service Lines with Conversational AI

Providing amazing customer service is one of the primary goals of any business. In the current scenario AI Chatbots are turning out to be the safest way to interact with customers. Chatbots allow us to eliminate a fair share of the ‘human’ factor from the interaction chain. Especially for answering standard queries and sharing general or specific information that customers might require. Whether a customer is retained or not is highly dependent on how smooth their initial interaction with the company is and how well they are treated during this crucial step.

Chatbots work along the same lines as a human in terms of communicating with prospects, but it is more apt to say the chatbot works practically the way it is programmed to. Chatbots powered by Artificial Intelligence, do not rely on written process material or videos, it learns from real-time scenarios or the archives of earlier conversations. The way chatbots can stimulate the conversation and keep customers engaged has made them a promising option in the market.

Companies are drawn towards digital services and/or digital platforms today but the apprehensiveness over the loss of existing or potential customers due to unsatisfactory service remains. While most enterprises have more or less accepted the Chatbot trend and are providing a complete digital experience for their customers, some still prefer a human touch or intervention to the transaction.

At times, the communication channel of the chatbot may hit a dead end, and to avoid such situations the most important thing is to have common and critical intents fed to the Bot. But complications could still pop up post ironing all teething issues. The AI Chatbot may be functioning properly but may fail in considering the limits and be unable to deliver information at its best level of proficiency during a customer conversation. At such critical juncture, it is important for a human to take over the conversation to diffuse the situation and avoid the user from taking away a negative experience from the interaction. To avoid such stray experiences, it is necessary to set the communication patterns and expectations, so that users are not let down due to restricted knowledge or competence during communication.

Organizations willing to invest in chatbots need to choose the right platform and have the BRD (Business Requirement Document) ready in hand. They also need to invest time in designing the intents that are recognised by humans and bots. It is also advisable to use a human-agent-based bot, with clear indicators for the agent to understand and pick up the conversation from the bot, to ensure a seamless transition of the customer’s query.

 

AI Chatbots can efficiently tap into their understanding of automated workflows and knowledge management to ensure the user has a delightful experience where they had a faster resolution of their concerns assisted by technology, in the right way and at the right time. Chatbots have self-service/self-help features that lead users to pointed solutions, web pages and documents instead of deviating them and wasting time. They can also raise a service request ticket on behalf of the customer with all the communication history for the agent to act precisely. They can even book conference rooms and suggest travel itineraries.

So Customer engagement via AI-driven Chatbots is a trend that is here to stay. AI Chatbots are programmed and well-equipped to deal with customers and respond to their queries without human interference. This not only increases efficiency but makes great strides in reducing the workload of customer support teams and at the same time ensures a smooth transition for the customer.

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Head, Automation Practice

Data References:

Top 12 Benefits of Chatbots: Comprehensive Guide [2020 update], MAY 12, 2020 by AI Multiple based on Drift’s 2018 State of Chatbots Report.

https://research.aimultiple.com/chatbot-benefits/

What Is a Chatbot and How Is It Changing Customer Experience? APRIL 25, 2019 by Salesforce Blog.

https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2019/04/what-is-a-chatbot.html

Chatbot Report 2019: Global Trends and Analysis, APRIL 19, 2019 by ChatBot Magazine

https://chatbotsmagazine.com/chatbot-report-2019-global-trends-and-analysis-a487afec05b

4 Evolving Technologies That Are Empowering Chatbots by AITHORITY, JAN 16, 2020

https://www.aithority.com/guest-authors/4-evolving-technologies-that-are-empowering-chatbots/

Two-out-of-three Americans interact with AI chatbots, but we still prefer humans by ZDNET, MAY 18, 2019

https://www.zdnet.com/article/two-out-of-three-americans-interact-with-ai-chatbots-but-we-still-prefer-humans/

Conversational AI Statistics: NLP Chatbots in 2020 by Landbot.io FEB 21,2020

https://landbot.io/blog/conversational-ai-statistics/

Getting to Gold with ‘Accelerated Processes’

Transactions and Services 
It’s amazing that organizations make huge efforts to conduct many basic transactions – Purchasing, Order Management, HR, Payroll and Financials. On the other hand, it is the nuances in these very transactions that differentiate the organization. 
These are the CORE transactions- critical to the success of the business and priceless as a knowledge body. They are pure Gold. They are not just transactions – they are services offered to stakeholders.
Even after realising the value of transactions, the newfound wisdom just stayed in my head – except for the occasional coffee time gloating over the importance of transactions. But it stayed in a more profound way these services are a potential differentiator – though I could not put my finger on how to go about that differentiation. Partly because of the obvious challenges that come with targeted differentiation. Differentiation, if ‘slow’, does not create the intended impact. Many of these core services have been customized to suit business company business processes. There are many steps of the workflows, steps that wait on people to complete them. This creates bottlenecks and slows down the process.
Cut to -A few years ago, we at CMS IT took a conscious decision to make automation our key services differentiator in helping our customers achieve their digital transformation goals. Service differentiation is not just about managing the process but about adding value through it. Improved processes, while they do have the obvious and quick gains in terms of CSAT and improved sales- it also has a transformational impact concerning overall stakeholder confidence and building a culture of excellence. Our approach is to look at each of the processes as an SLA driven service and then go about streamlining the process, monitoring the SLA and putting in place a continuous improvement framework. These CORE processes of the organization have to be a part of any meaningful attempt at digital transformation. After all, in the hunt for Gold, we were not willing to settle for silver or bronze on behalf of our customers. How do we achieve these superior efficiencies? It’s important to identify superior technology and deliver it with domain-specific interventions. A good solution should be delivered by experts in the domain who can think through the current day challenges and future possibilities. Domain expertise is key – Gold is better off in the hands of a Goldsmith.

The Rediscovery

Questioning what we thought we knew 
In a typical ERP implementation, during the solution design phase, transactions are evaluated in detail. The upstream process, the downstream process and the multiple ways in which these processes can be executed. But it often leaves out one very critical aspect that is often the difference between a successful and unsuccessful implementation- the design of the workforce. To be fair, successful project managers spend a lot of time in training the workforce. Enter Robotic Process Automation (RPA). With RPA we can now target to transform the workforce along with the process. Here is a tool that can streamline like never before.
More importantly – the question is whether the core processes can take a quantum leap. Is the workforce designed to execute the process with zero errors? Is the workforce designed to generate data for streamlining of the process? And are we generating analytics on the efficacy of the processes and indeed the bottlenecks?
The new-age transaction framework must include RPA for all these reasons and more.
Building in Durability
Our core transactions no matter how well designed they are- are learning processes. In a pure people dependent process, the learning resides with individuals. Should we not move towards making the learnings off transactions available to all those who transact in the future?
Take the simple aspect of duplication in the supplier or customer lists. While traditional ERP’s offer tools to merge genuine duplications – it’s a known fact that these lists in several organizations are struggling with duplicate entries. Is there an opportunity to streamline the list of supply chain partners? Can we entrust the task of maintaining this list to an automated digital employee who is constantly on the lookout for any slip in the quality of data?
Looking at the future
The future is a step away from the past and yet everyone I speak to in the industry is aspiring for that quantum leap. They want the knowledge of past transactions and yet they want to do everything radically differently in the future. There is also the aspect of scalability. How do we make the transaction processing capability of the organization scalable and de-scalable? These are not questions that we ask of ourselves in a traditional ERP or enterprise solutions implementation. So why ask them now?
RPA Bots and Intelligent Bots
We all love our colleagues (well at least some of them 😊) and for someone like me who tends to play long innings in organizations – they are a part of everyday life. Many of them become friends and almost all of them leave a mark in life. The future of work involves some of those colleagues along with others who can do none of the water cooler conversations and lunchtime bickering that is expected of them. They are the RPA bots and intelligent bots.
In the future – especially in the core transactions will have both kinds of colleagues. They will also have human employees. The colleagues who have coffee with us are the ones who will make the decisions that require intelligence and judgement. While the other set cannot bicker at the coffee table (bots cannot feel emotions – at least not yet) – they are here to empower our human colleagues. Our digital colleagues make a mark by empowering the intellect of our human colleagues. Our digital friends will make work even more exciting by removing mundane repetitive tasks from our plate. What’s more, they deliver at stunning accuracy rates, give consistent deliverables, and provide scalability to the business by being able to work round the clock.
So what might a future digital workforce look like?
It is important to know what thought leaders are saying – the World Economic Forum paper on the future of jobs ( 2018) came up with these interesting predictions – its obvious to them as its obvious to us that the digital workforce while initially creating some redundancies ends up creating significant new types of roles over the medium term.In terms of numbers – we have been getting some very good insights out of our engagements. In the core transactions area – the 100% manual workforce could shift to 50% digital workforce. What’s more the overall effort in doing mundane repetitive tasks will also change.    
Thumb rule – a 10 member PO data entry team will be 3  human workers and 3 bots. So what will happen to the human-workers? My advice is that if you are one of the 10 human workers – your aspiration should be – not to remain as a part of the 3 remaining in that team, but to move to value-added allied functions which are enabled by the onset of digital. The PO entry staff should aspire for supply chain analyst or supplier development roles. Many of them could become champions of the digital approach. And how about building skills to manage a workforce of humans and bots working together?
The new digital approach is more about domain expertise than about technology. I’m walking the talk on this- our core RPA team at CMS IT is a techno-functional team whose primary skills are Finance, SCM, HR and payroll.
Mining Gold
Our core transactions – when delivered consistently and accurately make our organization predictable. They are in most cases the first point of interaction with our suppliers, customers and employees. Can we use a digital workforce to ring-fence transactions by gradually eliminating bottlenecks and urgently eliminating mistakes? Can we make our response and resolution time consistent and scalable thus improving our organization’s core? Transactional strength results in strong brand messages to all our stakeholders and separates the women from the girls. If you want to mine gold within your organization, I strongly recommend that the core processes are one of the key places to look for.

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Practice Head - Digital Services

Payroll Automation: Game Changer

Major organizations come across the challenges of managing growing complexity of HR and payroll requirements, let alone the necessity to have stable and adept resources to manage those tasks. Manually processing such painstaking data and information is both time and cost consuming and of course prone to human errors that has further legal implications.
Enterprises need to automate every aspect of their payroll and HR to cost-optimize, streamline and enhance the quality of their functioning to deliver timely and invoke better experience for their employees.
One of the most common reasons for businesses shifting towards payroll automation is the criticality of complaints with strict financial regulations, crucial for future payroll, making it tougher for businesses.
Here’s some key advantages of payroll automation:
Data Collection made easier
Collecting all the important data for payroll process and setting the right format is conventionally the most time-intensive task with multiple reiterations for various departments in varied formats with repeated changes. With automated system in place to update the payroll sheet, the interface is more systematic and seamless.
Payment Calculation
Automated payroll platform makes use of automation software that calculates the salaries and other payments electronically. The results are mostly accurate depending on the validity and correctness of the given inputs.
The automated payroll system performs every type of simple and complex payments – be it hourly, overtime, salaries, commissions, bonuses, pay raises, wage deductions, auto payments and more. Remarkably, automation payroll system has made the manual cheque writing a story of tomorrow. The automated system generates paychecks for direct account debit.
Precise Data Validation
The traditional payroll process requires hours to be spent on for proper validation for manually checking all the spreadsheets and verification of individual data, followed by checking the outcome of it. On the other hand, using an automated validation process, the set-up of payroll system is adjusted as per the organization and departments specific and unique parameters along with tolerance factors such as pay hikes and net costs.
The algorithm takes the instructions and performs the validation as per process requirements and the protocol is triggered in easy steps. Your precious resources can be freed of their repetitive and time-consuming tasks of spending hours and rather focus on amending the errors and work towards improvising the process of correction of errors.
Smooth Task Management
Similar to automated validation of data, the repetitive tasks can be scheduled and accomplished in short span through automation. The effort ensures a quick, smooth and error-free execution of simple repetitive tasks on-time. In addition, those tasks that previously needed data transfer can be immediately triggered once the previous task is completed. In case of other tasks, the payroll team receives notification for the pending errands.
An important example is of processing pay slips to the HR system after the payroll process is completed. Instead of completing the payroll, initiate payments and take a PDF copy of each pay slip, send them to HR team to be uploaded to the HR program, the automated payroll platform can automatically populate the pay slips to the automated HR information system (HRIS) the minute they are ready. This also leverages the employees to access their pay slips online.
Brief Process Window
Every payroll action of automated system saves time and result in uptime, thus minimizing each payroll cycle time – reducing them to shorter cycles. This further translates into processing more data in less time with fewer amends since most of the data delivered is accurate and complete, upping the payroll team cost savings per cycle besides saving the time and resources.
Conclusion
A manual input and management of payroll system entails the payroll to be processed by a resource and thus can be error prone and a slower procedure than an automated system. Automating payroll processes save payroll team a lot of time and effort.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments section.
References
https://smallbusiness.chron.com/benefits-automating-payroll-system-2126.html
https://www.cloudpay.net/resources/5-ways-automation-is-changing-payroll
Keywords

The New Age of ITSM – What to Expect and How to Prepare

 

The contribution of ITSM towards business value is significant, and is slowly witnessing a resurgence with the adoption of exciting new technologies. This is good news, considering that ITSM was slowly finding itself being nudged to the sidelines. Adoption of Agile, DevOps, Cloud, Automation, Machine Learning (ML) and Artifical Intelligence (AI) has given ITSM greater relevance in addition to the contribution it has already been making towards operations. The multi-faceted demands of customers, goals of business expansion and the mandate to improve productivity have spurred this adoption of technologies to transform ITSM. Here is a peek at key technological developments on the ITSM front and what organizations need to do to be ready for it.

Field Force Automation – A gamechanger for your sales team

What was once viewed as a bittersweet development, is now turning into a gamechanger for entire sales teams. In a data-driven world, organizations in general and sales teams in particular have understood how Field Force Automation has complemented the feet on the ground with greater transparency, offering incentives for efficiency. Field Force Automation, which effectively is the digital capture of on field data for back end process, offers organizations and sales teams with accurate data points and statistics that aid in improving performance outcomes. With numerous advantages from an operational perspective, it has brought life to the worm graphs in reviews. Here is a deeper look at some of the more important benefits for sales teams.