M+E Daily

Zendesk: How to Control CX Costs With AI

The recent acceleration of change, combined with today’s economic uncertainty, has made the role that service is being asked to play now bigger than ever, according to Savannah Haynie, product marketing manager at Zendesk.

As a result, businesses are looking for ways to drive cost savings from new technology investments.

Artificial intelligence (AI) presents organizations with ways to control customer experience (CX) costs, Zendesk pointed out July 20, during the webinar “Controlling CX Costs with AI.”

Viewers were provided with practical strategies designed to optimize their customer service operations, streamline workflows and enhance customer satisfaction while reducing costs.

The webinar included an interview with a representative from Zendesk customer FullStory. Kailee Urban, head of customer support at FullStory, who provided viewers with valuable insights as she shared the software company’s success leveraging AI.

Also discussed during the webinar were the pressing challenges faced by businesses today and how AI can address them, and the benefits of leveraging AI to automate repetitive tasks, improve response times and provide personalized CX at scale.

“We’ve been hearing a lot from support organizations that they are struggling to meet both the demand and expectations of their customers and in order to compete and deliver the best yet, they’re looking to AI to meet customers’ needs while keeping costs down,” Haynie told viewers.

“Today, we plan to walk you through what we’re seeing industrywide on AI, ensure useful AI strategies that you and your team can easily implement,” she said.

“As we know, service teams have always been at the front lines of helping manage business changes,” she pointed out. “However, with the recent acceleration of change, coupled with today’s economic uncertainty, the role that service is being asked to play is now bigger than ever. In a world of increased competition and macro instability, businesses are recognizing that the next unexpected shock is just around the corner. So they need to implement systems that future proof them for the next unexpected change while also reducing costs.”

Meanwhile, the “challenges businesses are currently facing are elevated customer expectations,” she said, explaining: “Customers are reaching out in record numbers causing increased demand on staff, developers and agents. For example, 60 percent of small and new sized businesses have seen ticket increases over the last year, and even more are expected to see increases in 2023.”

She added: “Seeing productivity is also declining. Agents must navigate through complex environments to accomplish even the most simplest of tasks, causing inefficiencies that can negatively affect customer service and revenue outcomes. Not to mention increasing rates of agent churn.”

She told viewers: “Changes are happening faster. With the rapid shift to digital, companies have to innovate with new products, services and shift for strategy to keep up with accelerating speed of change. As a result, businesses are looking for ways to drive cost savings through multiple avenues, such as reducing service costs. eliminating technology silos to drive team productivity or maximizing value for new tax investments. From our CX trends research, we know that around two thirds of CX and CX leaders believe that AI and bots will drive large cost savings over the next few years, and that it has the potential to transform how businesses engage with customers.”

She warned that “companies [wanting to] keep up with the competition need an AI solution that works,” explaining: “Many AI solutions in the market are slow and expensive, requiring high heavy IT spend, lengthy implementation processes and highly specialized resources just to get started and ,as a result, most CX leaders say their plans for AI are ad hoc and not strategic.

But, not only are businesses looking to benefit from AI, customers also expect AI to be present and making daily life easier. In fact, 63 percent of customers believe companies that harness the power of AI deliver a better customer experience, and two thirds believe it gives companies a competitive advantage.”

At the same time, “customers are also becoming increasingly comfortable with customer support provided by AI,” she said, adding: “They overwhelmingly state that bots perform well when answering simple inquiries. Seventy-two percent even believe AI and bots faster to respond than human agents. And 67% believe bots can be reliable, surfacing accurate and helpful information.”

An additional plus: “With the improvement AI has seen over the last few years, CX leaders now have an opportunity to utilize AI to address the challenges they’re facing today. They can use self-service with cost and automation to free up agent’s time to focus on higher value interaction, allowing them to reduce ticket volume while still providing excellent and personalized customer service. They can increase productivity without adding additional headcount, especially in a time where many service teams are being asked to freeze or even decrease headcount. They can do this by minimizing low value manual costs like ticket triage, adding customer information to tickets and other simple interactions, as well as increasing agent productivity.”

She then sat down with Urban to discuss how Zendesk has helped them achieve their business goals and overcome similar challenges, data efficiencies and ultimately how they plan to keep costs low through the use of AI.

Last, Cooper Roe, portfolio success manager at Zendesk, took a deep dive into Zendesk AI solutions and benefits.