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As the busy holiday season ramps up, jewelry company Blue Nile is giving its customer service extra sparkle, thanks to new conversational AI features from software company Freshworks.
Blue Nile uses Freshworks products, including Freshdesk and Freshchat, to resolve approximately 90% of its customer queries during the first touchpoint. This is especially critical during the busy holiday season, according to Michael Hopkins, senior vice president of sales and service at Blue Nile.
“Our 200 online agents are now better supported as they engage with customers across telephone, email and chat channels,’’ Hopkins told VentureBeat in an email interview. “We have also added Freshsales to offer more personalized experiences across the entire customer lifecycle.”
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Freshworks earlier this month announced that it has infused more conversational AI features into its offerings. These are designed for greater ease of work, productivity and automation.
The AI updates were made to its Freshchat, Freshdesk, Freshsales and Freshmarketer portfolio of products.
Conversational AI: Realizing its promise in real-world situations
Real-time artificial intelligence (AI) helps organizations maximize agents’ performance, improve a company’s relationships with customers and reduce costs. Organizations using AI capabilities achieve a 3.5 times greater increase in customer satisfaction rates than those organizations not using AI capabilities in customer service agent performance, according to Aberdeen Strategy and Research.
Conversational AI can also impact the bottom line. According to Gartner, not only will it better help serve customers, it will reduce agent labor costs by $80 billion by 2026.
“Companies are prioritizing efficiency over growth in a challenging economy, and conversational AI makes work easier, faster and more productive and delightful,’’ Colin Crowley, CX advisor at Freshworks, told VentureBeat.
Hopkins agrees, saying that “we’re able to deliver a superior customer experience because we understand who our customer is and what’s important to them. This high level of trust is established through the conversations our customer care specialists have with our customers.”
Freshworks’ new automation features give Blue Nile a system that automatically categorizes and prioritizes tickets and routes them to the right support agent or group. This results, he said, in “saving agents hours of manual effort, and giving them time to focus on solving critical customer issues.”
Because Blue Nile’s employees have the tools to know who the customer is, their background and how to best support them, customers get the same experience whether they’re in person or online, Hopkins added.
AI-powered enhancements to CX and CRM
Freshworks’ conversational AI is designed to make the customer service agent’s job easier through agent-assist tools that provide real-time response recommendations and next best actions. Features like Freshworks’ Smart Reply supporting agents aim to drive productivity by letting agents balance multiple conversations simultaneously in live chat and messaging channels.
Freshsales and Freshmarketer
The Freshsales and Freshmarketer modules are designed for automated customer relationship management. Their features include:
- Intelligent lead scoring: This is designed to enable teams to understand how customers use their products and which customers might be ready for engagement or additional touchpoints. The built-in AI aims to identify positive and negative buying signals on the web and in applications, and learn from these interactions to provide insights.
- Social media campaigns: These give marketers the ability to engage with their target audience on Instagram and Facebook. Freshmarketer is designed to let them schedule and publish social media posts across channels and analyze their posts’ performance to build engaging content and generate more leads.
The Freshchat module is designed to enable intelligent omnichannel conversations with:
- Smart Reply: This is designed to rapidly solve customer issues with AI-powered autocomplete responses. It gives agents dynamic suggestions as they type responses to customers, tailoring Intelligent recommendations based on the user’s last message, as well as to the full context of the conversation and the customer’s past buying behavior.
- Email in the Freshchat inbox: This lets agents have personalized omnichannel conversations with customers. Businesses can also configure their support email addresses and bring them into Freshchat.
- Conversations widgets: These aim to give support admin teams the ability to conduct live chat and self-service AI.
Freshdesk is designed for AI-driven customer support. It offers:
- Auto triage: This produces smarter and more accurate AI-powered recommendations that automatically populate ticket fields using historical ticket data. The goal is to provide the right predictions for daily repetitive tasks.
- Integrations with Slack and Microsoft Teams: These allow for collaboration, providing the ability to start conversations on Slack from the Freshdesk Customer Success interface and to use Microsoft Teams to stay updated on assigned tickets.
Meeting customer demand at scale with conversational AI
The updates to the Freshworks products are designed to enable agents to meet customers where they are and engage with them on the channels where they want to be. Companies who don’t have this capability risk losing customers to competitors who do, Crowley said.
“Today’s consumers have become conditioned to real-time interactions with businesses as more [businesses] make the switch to mobile messaging applications,’’ he said. “Consumers will put their money behind the business that provides the quickest personalized resolutions to their problems or questions.”
The new AI features are designed to help companies further automate engagement and provide real-time insights that enable them to better meet customer needs, Crowley said. The product enhancements are natively built-in to Freshworks’ CX and CRM offerings.
“Data from these tools, such as customer sentiment, behavior or previous interactions with an organization, can inform how a company should interact with current and potential customers,’’ Crowley said.
For Blue Nile, conversational AI is a huge differentiator. “Freshworks has helped us to create lifelong relationships with our customers,” Hopkins said.
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