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  • NETMEDIA International

[forum] Customer relations: when AI reveals an under-exploited e-mail medium

A digital transformation of companies has been underway for 18 months, for many, at a forced pace. A question of survival for many SMEs, a real need for modernization and structuring for most companies.

Within this context, the improvement of the customer experience is at the heart of customer relationship projects and it requires a more detailed analysis of the available data (structured and unstructured), present in customer messages.

The COVID-19 effect

The last two years have seen a significant increase* (+56%) in the number of requests via customer service, to the detriment of requests in store. This is a direct and combined effect of the last three sequences: confinement (travel ban), closure of physical locations and development of teleworking.

These incoming requests, to use the established formula, take several forms and use different media (social networks, e-mails, instant messages...). This is also a challenge for companies that mostly manage their customer relations internally - in France, 80% of customer relations are internalized and 20% are outsourced - and that are trying to offer a unified customer experience, regardless of the media used by their customers and prospects.

The number of emails continues to grow

If the communication channels available to consumers are numerous and meet different needs (asynchronous, fast asynchronous or synchronous like the telephone), there is one that remains a standard, and that is e-mail.

In 2021, 319 billion emails are sent and received per day in the world, Statista** predicts that this number will rise to 376 billion in 2025. In France, 1.4 billion emails are routed per day in France, which corresponds to 33 emails per user per day on average, knowing that 25% of email accounts - out of the 68 million email accounts usually used in France - are professional. The future of e-mail as a privileged communication medium is thus far from being challenged by another medium such as chatbot***, to mention only the one that has the good graces of the media.

Moreover, two recent studies point to email as the preferred channel for consumers. For Axys consultant, in 2021, email is the favorite, with 91.3% of the votes (95% in 2020) of these channels of communication with customers. However, according to a study conducted by the SP2C (Professional Union of Contact Centers), email only represents 9.1% of contact center revenues per channel. A medium that is under-exploited and, above all, poorly valued by outsourcing players, and certainly also by companies in general.

Artificial intelligence: an actionable solution

Some people get excited about the use cases of AI in customer relations, fantasizing about sentiment analysis, dreaming of predicting consumer behavior... However, there are use cases that are really functional and quickly actionable. Use cases whose ROI is no longer to be proven and which support the activity of the business.

For example, the automated analysis of customer requests and the automated generation of responses. Incoming messages are labeled regardless of language, and intentions are detected in order to route the request to the right person, who will be offered standard responses based on the identified requests.

Another example is the automation of the analysis of advisors' scripts and their written transcription for analysis. In concrete terms, a speech-to-text solution will transcribe a recorded conversation, which will be analyzed by the AI. This solution is useful for controlling the conformity of exchanges in the banking sector or for managing the quality of service in customer relations (traceability of exchanges).

Not using artificial intelligence means giving up a definite competitive advantage, which contact center solution publishers understand.

Contact centers in search of AI

According to Grand View Research, a market research and consulting firm based in India and the United States, companies need to focus on customer retention as a priority, as the use of the contact center has already drastically reduced the time to resolve customer requests in recent years. However, these companies will have to deal with an increase in incoming flows, including e-mail. In this context, the use of artificial intelligence should become widespread.

Grand View Research, in its report ****, predicts that AI will be the factor that will stimulate market growth. A market estimated by MZA at 571 million dollars in France in 2022 (including 401 for CCaaS). This is a challenge for contact center solution publishers, who have long been promising omnichannel services to their customers.

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