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Technology serves as a means of bridging the gap between the physical and digital worlds. It connects us and opens channels of communication in our personal and professional lives. Being able to infuse these conversations – no matter where and when they happen – with emotional intelligence and empathy has become a top priority for leaders looking to help employees become more effective and authentic communicators. .
However, the human emotion that goes into communication is often a hidden variable, changing all the time. In customer-facing roles, for example, a representative may become sad after hearing why a customer is requesting an insurance claim, or become stressed when a caller raises their voice. The emotional volatility surrounding customer experiences requires additional levels of support to meet changing demands and rising expectations.
The Rise of Emotional AI
Given how quickly emotions can change, it has become more important for technological innovations to understand universal human behaviors. Humans have evolved to share overt and sometimes unconscious non-lexical cues to indicate how conversations are going. By analyzing these behaviors, such as conversation pauses or speaking rhythm, voice-based emotional AI can reliably extract information to support better interactions.
This form of emotional AI takes a radically different approach to facial recognition technologies, navigating more accurately and ethically in the use of AI. Customer-facing organizations and their leaders need to raise their standards for emotional artificial intelligence to focus on outcomes that drive the emotional intelligence of their people and provide support to create better customer experiences.
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Emotion AI is not a new concept or a new technological practice. It’s been around for years, but has recently grown in popularity and attention as more companies explore how it can be applied to specific use cases. Here are three ways customer-facing organizations can use voice-based emotional AI in the enterprise to improve customer experience initiatives:
Think of emotional AI as a social signal processing machine that helps users perform better, especially when they’re not at their best. In the world of customer experience, reps experience many ups and downs. These interactions can be abrasive and exhausting, which is why offering real-time support makes all the difference.
These situations are similar to driving a car. Most individuals perform the fundamentals of driving regularly, but do not drive as well when tired from a night shift or a long road trip. Tools like lane detectors can provide additional support, and emotional AI is the equivalent in the workplace. Not only can it offer real-time suggestions for better interactions with others, but the increased self-awareness helps foster deeper emotional intelligence. Ultimately, when better emotional intelligence is established, more successful customer service interactions can occur.
Improve employee confidence and well-being
The customer experience is intrinsically linked to the employee experience. In fact, 74% of consumers believe that unhappy or dissatisfied employees harm the customer experience. The problem is that showing up to work engaged and at our peak efficiency every day and in all cases is not a realistic expectation for employees.
Emotional AI can eliminate anxiety and self-doubt about performance by helping individuals through difficult experiences and encouraging them during positive ones. This added support and confidence drives employee engagement and creates space for employee well-being to shine. Any investment in improving work experiences or streamlining workflows is a reliable way to improve the employee experience and see ROI across multiple divisions of the business.
Understand customer status
Consider again the metaphor of driving. While it’s essential to ensure a tired driver gets the help they need to get home safely, context makes the difference.
Call center representatives constantly multi-task: conversing with customers while updating or identifying cases, seeking resolution, and quickly handling requests. Using voice-based emotional AI to analyze sentiment at both ends of the line can provide detailed insights needed to perform and connect. When emotional AI can identify customers who are “highly activated” by excitement or anger, agents are better equipped to take stock of the situation and find the best course of action. Expanding situational awareness around the mental state of customers and analyzing data can help companies consistently improve call results.
Investing in emotional artificial intelligence technology couldn’t be more relevant as we look to the future. Forrester’s 2022 U.S. Consumer Experience Index found the nation’s average CX score fell for the first time after years of steady, positive growth. While a myriad of influences are at play, from supply chain shortages to the great resignation, the reality is that customers have grown to have higher expectations of the companies they interact with. , and it is no longer possible to underperform.
Finding opportunities to spark emotion across the business and using technology to improve service interaction is critical to customer satisfaction. It is up to organizations to invest in technology that celebrates and enhances emotional intelligence for continued success – and that starts with introducing technologies like emotional AI.
Josh Feast is CEO and co-founder of Cogito.
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