We often hear the phrases customer experience and customer engagement used interchangeably. But these terms have completely separate meanings. Customer experience is a single event with the customera service issue, a promotion, a survey. Customer engagement is a collection of customer experiences that impact engagement such as loyalty, advocacy, and so on. Both customer experience and customer engagement are significant to a company's overall success.

Positive customer experiences can differentiate your brand, resulting in memorable brand touchpoints. These touchpoints afford a greater likelihood of future customer purchases. Customers who have a good customer experience become more engaged and are more likely to repurchase. Plus, customers are more likely to recommend the company to friends and relatives if they had a positive experience.

Artificial intelligence can help enhance the customer experience. AI-enabled chatbots can process data, interpret the meaning, and personalize the experience. And AI chatbots are not just for enterprise organizations. Companies of any size can leverage AI to improve their customer connections.

Friction-free zone

Customers view timeliness as a critical element for quality service, followed by simple and efficient. One way to build upon these values while eroding customer pain points is to offer a friction-free experience. Customers want to interact with your company whenever and wherever they want, using any device on any platform. Deploying chatbots as a channel provides another vehicle to easily move from one channel to the next, creating a seamless customer experience through every touchpoint.

24-hour self-service

With customer expectations continuing to rise, offering a self-service portal, knowledge base, or FAQ is another way to meet expectations while providing a friction-free experience. Customers are impatient, expecting answers immediately using any device. By simplifying the self-service experience and putting customer service content within reach, you can create a 24/7 self-service option that resolves more routine product or service issues and consistently provides a positive customer experience.

Virtual agents to the rescue

But what if the issue is more complex and not quickly available via self-service? Few moments are as irritating as searching an FAQ or knowledge base online and not finding the answer. Instead of leaving the customer frustrated with an unresolved issue, consider providing an alternative pathway to success by deploying AI-enabled virtual agents within your self-service option.

Pairing intelligent chatbots with your self-service offering creates a simple, high-value option for customers to resolve issues efficiently. If, for instance, the customer can't locate the answer to an issue, instead of leaving with a negative experience, the customer can simply click on the chatbot and type in the problem. Using natural language recognition capabilities, the chatbot can understand the issue and provide an answer or transfer to a live agent in a warm hand-off.

Or consider the customer that logs into your self-service portal. The AI-enabled chatbot can recognize the customer, pull the customer's profile, and identify which product or service the customer is inquiring about. The AI-enabled chatbot can share a knowledge article to resolve the issue or can escalate to a live agent. As customers grow frustrated repeating the same information, chatbots counter this frustration by identifying the customer and the issue at first touch. Another bonus is that chatbots drastically reduce customer wait time while personalizing the experience.

Personalize it with chatbots

Customers value their time, but they also want to be recognized as an individual. Personalizing the interaction goes a long way to create a positive experience. Having a chatbot recognize the customer and purchase history is a great way to differentiate your brand and create a positive experience. Plus, customizing product suggestions based on the customer's purchase history is another example of how brands can personalize the customer experience. Chatbots can recognize upsell and cross-sell opportunities such as extended warranties or upgrades, and when offered for the right reasons, customers will usually spend more than they initially intended. Thus, chatbots can be used to create positive and personalized customer experiences while generating additional revenue for your business.

Measure and improve

Chatbots are a great way to create positive customer experiences, but they are only as good as the content they contain. Leveraging an analytics application to measure chatbot performance and to identify areas for improvement is important. AI-enabled analytics applications can help monitor, identify, and improve key performance indicators, emerging issues, and help better understand customer satisfaction score drivers.

In the past, maintaining and updating chatbots was arduous and time consuming. Content was created by the subject matter expert (SME), but the actual updates were performed by developers or data scientists. Often, by the time the content was updated, it needed to be refreshed again. This is when having the SME building and maintaining the bot has the greatest impact. By making the process simple enough for those closest to the customer to modify content on the fly, chatbot content can always be current, thereby creating positive customer experiences.

Better together

Today, we're announcing the general availability of Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service. This new offering combines the vast capabilities of Microsoft Power Virtual Agents with the AI-rich analytics of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights in one unique solution. Customer Service Insights empowers customer service managers with actionable insights into critical performance metrics, operational data, and emerging trends to consistently deliver effortless customer service. Built on the Azure Bot Framework, Power Virtual Agents helps organizations leverage rich, personalized, and cost-effective chatbot technology and conversational engines to resolve simple, routine customer and internal-facing issues quickly using industry-leading AI and machine learning (ML) tools. Business users and SMEs can easily build and maintain sophisticated, conversational virtual agents and integrate them with hundreds of enterprise services and systems, without the need of a developer or data scientist.

Easily build your own chatbot with Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service.

Get the right tools

Together, Power Virtual Agents and Customer Service Insights are two powerhouse applications that can help you design a better, more positive customer experience and build customer engagement by leveraging intelligent chatbot technology. With Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service, you have the power of best in class Microsoft AI-enabled chatbot and analytics technology for one, easy to implement customer service solution.

Learn more about Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service.

Read more about Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights.

See how easy it is to build a chatbot with Microsoft Power Virtual Agents.

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