The Benefits and Drawbacks of AI in Customer Relations Management

    The Benefits and Drawbacks of AI in Customer Relations Management

    Artificial intelligence is most useful when it is used to perform routine, predictable tasks. At first glance, this may not appear to be an ideal fit for customer relations management (CRM), yet keeping customers happy needs a great deal of time and effort.

    CRM is defined by data in today’s increasingly digital environment – not only the quantity of data collected, but the quality of that data, which can only be attained by cutting-edge analysis and interpretation. However, today’s numbers are simply too large for human analysts to handle, hence AI is increasingly being integrated into Customer Relations Management platforms.

    According to an Oracle analysis from 2020, faulty data management is a crucial factor in bad customer relationship outcomes, with more than 85% of sales agents mentioning it as the reason for embarrassing errors. Every day, around 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created, the bulk of which is unstructured, making the process of putting all of this data into context operationally impossible without AI. AI can also be integrated directly into CRM workflows to handle the activities that require manual entry which is prone to errors. Simultaneously, AI can be taught to connect directly with consumers, via text or voice, to answer simple queries or resolve simple concerns.

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    AI is likely to produce a more tailored approach to CRM than is now achievable. It can compile and analyze a customer’s digital history — including emails, transactions, and other events — far faster and more efficiently than a human representative. This not only aids in the quick resolution of issues with a higher level of satisfaction, but also allows for a more accurate portrayal of brand sentiment in order to fine-tune marketing and communication activities.

    Furthermore, AI has the potential to revolutionize much of CRM’s back-end operations, such as lead scoring, price optimization, cross-selling, and sales forecasting. This data can then be utilized to improve business strategy – including providing targeted advice to sales agents to help them navigate through each stage of the sales funnel.

    The long-term goal is to improve customer service. Long wait times at call centers and in email responses are currently one of the most common complaints directed at both large and small businesses. A well-trained AI-driven Customer Relations Management software will be able to answer the majority of simple enquiries quickly, routing more complex requests to service agents who should be more available. AI will also be able to engage with customers more efficiently across the web, mobile platforms and social media.

    People can also use AI to interact with company services in a more efficient and safe manner. Mobile banking is already pushing software that allows users to have complete control over their accounts, with AI systems constantly checking for risks and then pushing out the necessary updates to security technologies like encryption and two-factor authentication.

    It’s crucial to remember that not all AI-based CRM solutions are made equal, and they are not immune to manufacturers’ inclination to overpromise and under perform. For instance, all of the discussion about humanlike engagement between customers and service bots tends to overlook the fact that this level of technology is still a few generations away. AI bots are now being developed for specialized applications such as data entry and task scheduling.

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    On the other hand, AI is boosting services like predictive analytics, which can be used for everything from trend and market predictions to reducing inefficiencies in supply chains. Business leaders should consider what AI can accomplish well and apply it to select areas where its effectiveness can be measured against defined metrics.

    The most important thing to remember when integrating AI into a Customer Relations Management is that the technology should be a facilitator, not a hindrance, to achieving desired results. Many individuals will eagerly engage with AI if it can solve their problem quickly and easily. However, if the problem is not resolved and customers are unable to reach a human representative through AI, they will become increasingly frustrated.

    Customers will be dissatisfied if they are talking or texting with someone they believe is human but is actually a bot. AI should be disclosed up front, and it should only be utilized at the discretion of the customer.

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    Prangya Pandab
    Prangya Pandab is an Associate Editor with OnDot Media. She is a seasoned journalist with almost seven years of experience in the business news sector. Before joining ODM, she was a journalist with CNBC-TV18 for four years. She also had a brief stint with an infrastructure finance company working for their communications and branding vertical.