How to Build Better Customer Relationships with Natural Language Processing

Good customer service is vital to long-term business success. When you consider that acquiring a new customer is anywhere between 5 and 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one, the value of loyalty becomes clear. 

Loyal customers will often go out of their way to support their favorite shop. A recent survey states that 70% of U.S. customersdeliberately spent more money to do business with a company that delights them. 

But to gain this loyalty, businesses need to provide consumers with a personalized, fast, accurate and seamless service across all channels. This is where artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) comes in handy. NLP, a branch of AI that deals with the interaction between humans and machines, enables machines to read and understand what people write or say, conversationally allowing businesses to improve their customer service experience and ultimately, increase sales.

How NLP is transforming the customer experience

NLP is already being used by a variety of industries to improve customer experience. From dealing directly with customers through chatbots and virtual assistants, to analyzing vast amounts of data for valuable customer insights, NLP has already proven its worth, and its far-reaching potential. Let’s have a look at the specific use cases for NLP, and how it can take customer service from good to great.

NLP helps companies collect and understand customer feedback

While NLP is most frequently deployed within AI chatbots and virtual assistants in customer service environments, the technology can also be used to successfully conduct data collection, automate manual processing, and operate control systems. NLP can also transform customer data into insightful analysis.

NLP draws on tools that can determine the frequency of words, word groupings, or sentiment analysis to derive accurate meaning from customer feedback. Insights from this analysis might include:

  • An understanding of what your customer likes and dislikes about your product or service;
  • Customer pain points;
  • Unmet customer needs and desires;
  • The level to which your product or service meets customer expectations;
  • Specific use cases (what different customers are using your product or service to achieve); and
  • Your USP (unique selling point) or competitive differentiators. 

NLP improves the ability to address customer expectations and preferences

As many as 80% of consumers have claimed that they are more likely to make a purchase when businesses offer a personalized experience. Approximately half of all customers surveyed by Accenture expect specialized treatment for being a good customer. Mature NLP applications can be leveraged to benefit any company aiming to capitalize on the promise of personalized marketing by delivering a truly empathetic and genuine customer experience. Through sentiment analysis, businesses can systematically identify, extract, quantify and analyze customer data to stay in tune with consumer reactions, style and preferences to their products and services.

By collecting and interpreting rich customer data, NLP has the ability to provide returning customers with personalized recommendations for other similar or related products based on data gathered from previous orders in their purchase history. 

NLP provides a quicker service for customers

Speed and interactivity have become the new normal in customer service, resulting in less patient and more demanding customers. In a study of 25,000 consumers, approximately one-third of them indicated that their expectations for service were greater than they were the previous year. The same study showed that over two-thirds of respondents expected service to be faster, more convenient and more personalized.

Retailers and eCommerce businesses are increasingly under pressure to adjust to an ever-changing customer service landscape, otherwise they risk becoming irrelevant.

NLP powered chatbots have the capacity to deliver quick, accurate, and valuable support to specific customer enquiries by up to 80% faster than a human customer service agent. Not only do chatbots speed up the customer service process, they also provide a consistently high standard of service, no matter the time or day. 

NLP reduces the need for human customer service agents

In exactly the same way a human sales representative will adjust their conversational style to suit the person they’re talking to; NLP allows businesses to deliver messages in the vocabulary and emotional style that is appropriate to each individual customer or prospect. In its current state, NLP technology already has the ability to better connect businesses with their target audiences.

NLP chatbots are able to accurately handle highly unstructured data sources – like speech and text. Despite human language being diverse, complex and ever-evolving, NLP has the ability to comprehend accents, dialects, colloquialisms, and even slang words. The modern capabilities of NLP frees human customer service agents to complete and prioritize other more complex work-related tasks.

Examples of How NLP and AI Can Improve Customer Experience and Build Better Customer Relations

CloudMinds ‘Pepper’ used in Sprint Stores

CloudMinds Technology partnered with telecommunications company Sprint in a bid to engage more customers and personalize the shopping experience with a conversational AI system known as ‘Pepper’. The most common use cases for Pepper in retail stores is to act as a conversational agent and product champion,  providing unique product recommendations, smart inventory management and targeted digital advertising in-store.

Coop Sweden to use AI Virtual Assistant ‘Cooper’ 

Swedish grocery retail chain Coop introduced its online virtual assistant ‘Cooper’ to provide customers with a complete concierge-style service, full of information about dietary requirements, suggested recipes, nutritional advice and details about the company loyalty scheme. Initially, Cooper was trained to handle approximately 125 different topics relating to recipes, store information, membership and online shopping. During the COVID-19 crisis, Coop’s new virtual assistant service has been particularly relevant as more customers are choosing to shop online.

Jane Clayton & Company adds Olark Live Chat

Bespoke furniture company Jane Clayton & Company implemented Olark Live Chat to help their customers with tailored and made-to-measure furnishing purchases. The live chatbot allows customers to ask details about the manufacturing process as well as inquire about custom product specs such as materials, length, or heading style. Not only can customers receive accurate information about the products and services available, they can continue to browse and chat at the same time.

Every Business can Benefit from AI

There is no business to big or small to benefit from AI. Whether you want to launch a chatbot to communicate with customers accurately, efficiently, and at any time of the day, or use NLP to analyze vast amount of data for better insights, AI will help you drive your business goals. NLP is destined to become even more influential for businesses in the future. The key, of course, is the data used to fuel these algorithms. Talk to us today to get started on your AI journey. 

Make your AI smarter today. Request a demo