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AI and CX: 7 questions to ask yourself before speaking to an outsourcer

AI and CX: 7 questions to ask yourself before speaking to an outsourcer

AI and automation is everywhere in outsourcing. The latter has already transformed how our industry delivers customer support and content moderation. Now AI promises to revolutionize things all over again.

If you’re looking to outsource customer support or content moderation and you’ve got a case of fear-of-missing-AI or ‘FOMAI’, that’s a good thing. With the right guidance, your outsourcing partner can use it to help you cut costs, improve outcomes, and drive impact at scale.

On the flip side, every outsourcer promises the same things and uses the same buzz words. That makes it hard to know where you stand. Because let’s be honest:

  • Budgets aren’t infinite.
  • Time is precious.
  • AI and automation’s features and functionalities can get pretty confusing, pretty quickly.

According to Forbes, as much as 80% of AI projects fail. It’s a stark reminder that AI isn’t a silver bullet. Without the right support, you won’t reap the benefits you’re expecting from it.

Here are seven questions to ask yourself to help you cut through the BS, establish what you really need in order to deliver the best possible experience, and bring your strategic vision to life.

Question 1
Is it AI you need? Or good ol’ automation?

AI and automation both serve a unique purpose in customer support. There’s no shame in not knowing the difference between them. Until you can, though, you’ll struggle to articulate the value of either. AI can do brilliant things — but it shouldn’t be the answer to every customer service request. In fact, automation’s ability to handle repetitive tasks and processes often makes it the better option. Powering basic chatbots? Routing conversations to the right team? You betcha. Need more advanced learning functions, like generating contextualized responses, summarizing key parts of conversation threads, and resolving more basic queries.? That’s where AI comes in. And if you need to manage something more emotionally complex, like a sensitive query, you’ll need something more traditional…

Question 2
Are you underestimating human expertise?

With so much focus on cutting edge AI and automation, it’s easy to forget that the best outsourcing solutions should always include a third pillar. Human support can be your secret weapon in customer support. But there’s a caveat. Your average BPO doesn’t care about who they hire. They’re never experts in your industry, they can’t speak your lingo (literally as well as figuratively — because they’re hired in regional call center hubs) and, crucially, they can’t make expert choices about which tools should be used for the job at hand. Having the right people ensures you get the best technology. As an example, our specialist Mods can evaluate which customer support tools are most suitable for your integration needs, from Zendesk to Intercom and beyond.

Question 3
What kind of conversations do you want to have with customers?

AI and automation aren’t the only confusing couplet in outsourcing spiel. Getting clear about the difference between conversational vs. generative chatbots is just as important. It boils down to what kind of conversations you want to have with your customer. Need something to handle basic interactions, create content or streamline routine queries? The latter is perfect for cutting costs, saving time and boosting efficiency. Need to step it up for more important customer interactions? That’s where conversational AI bots — trained on datasets of text to converse naturally — can shine.

Question 4
Is your support content rich and expansive enough to fuel every chatbot interaction?

According to SEMrush, 80% of companies have already implemented AI chatbots as part of their customer experience strategy. But to truly realize the efficiency and satisfaction they bring, you need high quality support content — and the ability to review and optimize the material that’s used. If the visitor’s asking you about your software’s integration capabilities, you’d want to make sure your bot can retrieve something valuable for them from your knowledge base — a step-by-step integration guide, say. Before you contract an outsourcer, find out if they provide knowledge base consultations. You want a partner who can spot gaps in your existing inventory, create and update content where it's needed, and analyze your bot metrics to understand how that content’s performing.

Question 5
What does your end-to-end customer support experience look like?

Any outsourcer can handle a specific customer interaction on your behalf. Yet optimizing the end-to-end support experience is a different matter. If they can’t give you a detailed breakdown of what it looks like in terms of AI, automation and human support, they’re not worth your time. Our recommendation? Look for a trusted advisor instead of a box-ticking BPO. Whoever you hire should be able to provide dedicated conversation designers who can play a strategic role in refining your customer journeys over time. That includes being able to map individual user experiences, collecting and interpreting customer feedback in order to find areas of improvement, optimize workflows and report on their success.

Question 6
Could my customer conversation data work harder?

AI chatbots offer round-the-clock support, instant responses, and the ability to handle multiple conversations simultaneously. But they provide a secondary benefit to your business, too — one that many outsourcers overlook. Both their performance data, and the customer conversation data they generate, can be a goldmine of insights. It’s not just AI models that can garner those insights. The best outsourcers should be able to help you mine them too, and transform them into opportunities. Take ModSquad’s chatbot analysts as an example. They specialize in investigating your data to find patterns in customer enquiries, interests and buying behavior. That might include revealing individual customer preferences to better personalize your marketing messages and product recommendations. Or maybe it’s assessing bot response accuracy in order to optimize their performance: the possibilities are endless.

Question 7
Is the F-word claim as impressive as you think it is?

Let’s talk about flexibility for a minute. Whatever you need support with, you’ll need an outsourcing partner with the ability to scale your operations and adjust to customer demands as they shift in real time. So far, so obvious. But the more sophisticated that partner’s use of AI, the less impressive their claims of ‘flexibility’ becomes. You won’t need to search far to find flex-up promises in the triple-digit percentages. But whether that’s 200% intraday, or even more annually, there’s a bigger issue at play. The most mature AI models in outsourcing unlock powerful foresight — foresight that makes any need to flex up or down largely irrelevant. We’re not saying you should disregard the ‘F’ word entirely. But next time it’s advertised as a USP, apply some healthy skepticism to their AI strategy.


You can’t afford to miss the curve

AI and automation’s influence continues to evolve at a breakneck pace. If you’re evaluating an outsourcer, whoever you choose needs to be innovating their approach at a similar cadence — so you’re not behind the curve. You need a partner with a history of implementing best-of-breed AI solutions as standard — so you can maximize your outcomes at a fraction of the normal cost. And you need a partner who’ll help you balance any AI investments you make with the ones in frontline operations.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be lifting the lid on our AI and automation strategy to help you with your own outsourcing decisions. Whether you want to benefit from ModSquad’s predictive analytics, agile scheduling, cost savings, or quality assurance, get in touch with us.

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