RP Sanjiv Goenka Group

Unlocking the Potential of GenAI: Transforming a Bank’s Customer Support Operations

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Throughout history, we’ve seen the introduction of remarkable advances in technology like the computer, the internet, and the smartphone. All of these developments are things we take now for granted and are integrated into so many aspects of our daily lives. Generative AI(GenAI) is no different. Just like smartphones, GenAI will soon be embedded in everything we do. According to Gartner, by 2026, more than 80% of enterprises will have used GenAI APIs or deployed GenAI-enabled applications in production environments, up from less than 5% in 2023. In the world of banking, it’s evident that GenAI can significantly improve customer support functions — making them faster, more efficient, and cheaper. The challenge is to understand when and how they’re most effective at each stage in the customer journey. This guide will cover how you can best leverage generative AI in your customer support operations.

GenAI Vs. Rules-Based Chatbots

Generative AI models are trained on massive datasets, learning patterns, and relationships within the data they’re exposed to. Such models are then able to generate content that mimics the information they were trained on. GenAI models are capable of a much wider range of appropriate responses than rules-based chatbots, which are limited to returning predetermined responses based on their initial programming.

The Role of GenAI Across the Customer Lifecycle

You can use generative AI to facilitate better customer interactions at nearly every touchpoint. Initially, it can be used in the customer acquisition phase: GenAI can handle inquiries about products and services and act on information stored in a centralized repository, such as a knowledge management system. This is the same knowledge base your operations team accesses to handle such inquiries.

GenAI can also support sales during customer acquisition by analyzing millions of conversations to determine the most effective sales methods. It can determine which sales pitch was the most persuasive and when the best time to make a pitch is. You can use this information to better train your human agents and take the guesswork out of sales.

As a customer transitions from the prospecting phase to the purchasing phase, GenAI is there to support your team. Bots can carry on conversations to nurture customers and even facilitate sales, either independently or with human assistance. After a sale is final, GenAI bots can support your customer by walking them through the process of setting up their new product or answering questions about your services.

Of course, GenAI isn’t limited to customer service benefits. It can also be used to improve internal processes such as quality control, sales optimization, loyalty programs, and even competitive and descriptive analysis. By analyzing and drawing conclusions from vast amounts of data, GenAI provides insights that drive more effective training, ensure better quality assurance, and enable strategic decision-making, ultimately improving your sales and customer retention.

GenAI Use Cases in Customer Support Operations

There’s almost no end to the possible use cases for GenAI, which is largely why it’s been such a sensation since its debut. Companies have found GenAI especially useful in customer support, and some of the most common use cases include:

  • Billing inquiries:A GenAI bot can directly interact with customers 24/7, providing immediate access to billing information for your customer base. This speeds up response time, reduces the cost of staffing overnight chat support teams, and provides accurate and consistent information.
  • Technical support: GenAI can provide step-by-step setup and troubleshooting assistance. Customers can have natural conversations to quickly diagnose issues and discover solutions, and bots can escalate more complex issues to operations and support technicians when
  • Quality Call Monitoring: Utilizing GenAI technology to capture and evaluate every call without increasing human capital is helping banks increase the quality of their agents’ calls, and quickly generates scorecards and data analysis. Quality control monitoring teams can pinpoint and address individual issues and help resolve them quickly.
  • Customer acquisition and onboarding: When you integrate GenAI into your company’s product and service databases, bots can provide accurate, up-to-date information that helps convert prospects into customers. During the onboarding process, GenAI can personalize the experience, suggesting products or services tailored to a customer’s needs and preferences.
  • Competitive advantage: GenAI isn’t just a tool for automating tasks — it’s an asset that can give you a competitive advantage. With GenAI, you can easily analyze and gain insights from massive data sets or across complex functions, maximizing operational efficiency and driving strategic decision-making throughout your organization. With the deep banking knowledge and GenAI expertise of a company like Firstsource, you can implement GenAI the right way and build a future-focused strategy.

What Are the Cost Savings and Efficiency Gains of Implementing GenAI?

When people think of the savings that come from GenAI, they tend to think of reducing labor through automation as the main benefit. While automation (especially the intelligent automation that a company like Firstsource offers) certainly provides cost savings, GenAI can deliver far beyond that. In addition to working directly with customers, GenAI can analyze almost all areas of your business operations to uncover opportunities for improvement. This includes consistency, speed, and scalability when interacting with customers, reduced wait times, personalized service, and proactive support, all of which increase customer loyalty.

Benefits of Using Bots Powered by GenAI

A bot interaction costs significantly less than an interaction handled by a human agent – potentially two to three times cheaper. This cost efficiency stems from several factors, including:

  • 24/7 availability: Unlike human agents, who work in shifts and require breaks, bots can operate around the clock without downtime. They can handle customer inquiries and issues at any time of the day or night, without the need for overtime pay or additional shift costs.
  • Scalability: Bots can manage multiple interactions simultaneously, whereas human agents can successfully handle only one customer at a time. This scalability reduces the need for a large workforce to manage high volumes of customer inquiries, especially during peak times.
  • Consistency and speed: Bots provide consistent responses to customer queries, drawing from your entire database of information. They can quickly access and relay large amounts of information, reducing the average handling time per interaction, which is a key driver of operational costs in customer service.

GenAI can lead to a significant reduction in operational costs over time. Initially, in the telecom industry, cost savings might start at around 10% to 15% in the first six months, and they can reach 20% to 30% within the next 12 months. You’ll experience even greater savings as the system becomes more refined and integrated into your customer service process.

Efficiency Gains and Improvements in Customer Loyalty

By automating routine tasks and inquiries, GenAI allows human agents to focus on more complex and nuanced customer issues, optimizing your workforce allocation. GenAI can assist customers with around-the-clock support, so their inquiries are addressed promptly, regardless of the time of day. This constant availability aligns with customers’ expectations for immediate support in the always-on digital age.

Reduced wait times for major issues and faster answers across all interactions greatly improve the overall customer service experience. Better customer service leads to higher customer satisfaction and increased customer loyalty.

On top of speed and efficiency, GenAI technologies can learn from customer interactions, allowing them to deliver more personalized and contextually relevant responses over time. Their interactions feel more natural and tailored to individual customers’ needs than those of a rules-based chatbot, and even of human agents. Your customers won’t have to repeat their entire history every time they interact with another support agent.

AI-powered solutions can analyze customer data to understand preferences, behaviors, and past interactions. This analysis enables the delivery of personalized answers, offers, and recommendations, making customers feel valued and understood. Personalized interactions build stronger, more loyal customer relationships.

AI solutions can also predict potential issues or needs based on customer data and interaction history, so your company can offer proactive support. Proactive customer support addresses problems before they escalate, reinforcing the company’s commitment to customer satisfaction and creating more satisfied customers.

Understanding Human Enhancement Through AI

Despite the power of GenAI and the potential benefits to cost reduction, efficiency, and customer satisfaction, it works best as a servant, not a master. You can’t completely replace the human experience with GenAI. It’s most effective when it works alongside humans, and there are a few ways to make this happen.

Customer Service Agents Assisted by Bots: A Powerful Combination

Initially, the integration of GenAI in customer service primarily focused on bots assisting human agents. This approach allowed agents to focus on complex, high-value interactions by offloading routine queries and tasks to GenAI bots. Agents benefit from AI’s ability to quickly access your information library, reducing the time spent searching for answers.

However, there has been a recent trend toward a more advanced model of AI-assisted customer service, in which the primary interaction is between the customer and the bot. In this case, human agents only step in if the AI gets stuck. This model flips the traditional roles of customer service agents and bots, with GenAI handling the majority of customer interactions. These bots are designed to manage a wide range of customer service tasks, from answering frequently asked questions to guiding customers through complex processes.

In this new model, human agents aren’t replaced but are instead redeployed to roles in which their human touch adds the most value. They provide oversight for the AI, stepping in to handle complex issues that require empathy, a nuanced understanding, or creative problem-solving — areas where AI currently falls short. This tiered approach provides customers with the most appropriate support experience at every touchpoint.

The interaction between bots and agents creates a feedback loop, where bots continuously learn from the complex cases handled by human agents. Every interaction results in continuous improvement of the GenAI model over time.

AI and Customer Interactions: The Importance of the Human Touch

The essence of customer service — a human connection — is invaluable and irreplaceable. You need to achieve a balance between leveraging cutting-edge technology and preserving the human element to deliver a customer service experience that is efficient as well as empathetic and personalized.

AI, no matter how advanced, can’t truly understand human emotions and respond with genuine empathy. In complex situations, your customer support team continues to play a crucial role in alleviating frustrations and making your customers happy.

While AI can handle a vast array of customer inquiries, there are always cases that fall outside the scope of its programmed knowledge base. Your customer service representatives can engage in complex problem-solving with creativity and insight, offering outside-the-box solutions that require a deeper understanding of the problem and the customer’s unique circumstances.

Ideally, you’ll achieve a symbiotic relationship in which AI and humans complement each other’s strengths. AI takes on repetitive tasks, allowing human agents to focus on interactions that require a personal touch. This division of labor increases operational and staffing efficiency while still giving customers the most appropriate support for their needs.

What Does the Future of Customer Support Operations Look Like?

GenAI is a new technology, so there’s a tremendous amount of speculation about its future capabilities. You can expect to see some of the following developments and advancements in generative AI in the coming years.

The Future of Telecom Customer Support and GenAI

There will likely be a continuing shift toward automation, personalization, and efficiency driven by advanced AI technologies. A notable trend is the transition to a bot-first customer support strategy, where GenAI bots are the first point of contact for customers and human agents are only called in for more complex or sensitive issues. It seems that GenAI will soon handle the bulk of customer interactions, from basic questions about products and services to more complicated troubleshooting issues.

Despite the push toward automation, the future of customer support for telecom companies will still have a need for human agents.  Companies will find success with a collaborative model in which GenAI and human agents work together. AI will enhance the capabilities of human agents by providing them with real-time information, suggestions, and automated assistance for routine tasks. Human agents, in turn, will help refine the AI algorithms through their interactions and feedback. The two will work together to drive continuous improvement.

For telecom companies, embracing GenAI in customer support is a key strategy for staying competitive in the modern marketplace. Companies that successfully integrate GenAI into their customer support framework will stay ahead of the game by finding cost savings and efficiency gains, as well as improved customer engagement and loyalty.

Key Recommendations When Embracing AI-Powered Solutions

When you’re ready to implement GenAI into your operations, the following guide will get you started.

Begin With a Clear Vision

Clearly define what you hope to achieve with your GenAI integration, whether that is improving your customer service efficiency, reducing your operational costs, enhancing customer satisfaction, or all of the above.

You will also need a deep understanding of your customers’ preferences, behaviors, and pain points. This will help you decide how and when AI can be best deployed to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations.

Conduct a Pilot First

Like any large undertaking, it’s a good idea to start small. Begin with pilot projects to test AI solutions in controlled environments. You can measure the impact of AI on customer satisfaction, operational efficiency, and cost savings on a small scale before you implement a company-wide rollout. Use the insights gathered from your pilot programs to refine your AI applications and make sure they align with the needs of your customers and your business objectives.

Encourage Human-AI Collaboration

Position AI as a tool to augment your customer support team, not replace it. Train customer service agents on how to work alongside AI-powered solutions, emphasizing the collaborative nature of this new model. Create a plan for transitioning certain customer service functions to AI. Reassign human agents to roles in which their empathy and problem-solving skills are most needed.

Ensure Data Privacy and Security

Data privacy and security should be top priorities when considering AI solutions. Make sure your GenAI solutions are designed with those principles at their core. It’s important to be transparent with customers on how their data is used and protected in order to gain and keep their trust. You also need to stay on top of and comply with all the relevant data protection regulations to avoid legal, financial, and reputational risks.

The Takeaway

Bill Gates was once quoted saying, “Generative AI is the most significant technological advance in decades.”  For someone who may have had the greatest impact on technology in our generation, this should create a strong sense of urgency for banks to figure out how to incorporate GenAI into their DNA. GenAI is already changing the very essence of how we conduct business with a consumer. It’s critical that banks find the right partner to identify how they can integrate GenAI to improve customer support operations.

For banking leaders looking to stay at the forefront of the most important advancement in technology today, Firstsource’s FirstSenseAI platform offers an industry-specific, cutting-edge solution to leverage the power of GenAI and unlock its value. Reach out today to find out how to unlock the potential of GenAI at your organization.

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