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Five ways AI and automation save businesses money and make customers happy

Param Kahlon Profile picture for user Param Kahlon November 1, 2023
Summary:
As companies accelerate towards implementing AI, Salesforce's Param Kahlon shares some examples of companies who have benefited from automation while prioritizing customers.

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Companies today face a paradoxical mandate - cut costs, deliver better customer experiences, and accelerate their push to join the AI race. So, where should they start? 

According to a recent survey, 67% of senior IT leaders are prioritizing generative AI for their business within the next 18 months and 33% name it as a top priority. Automation also tops their list, with 77% of desk workers saying that the ability to automate routine tasks would greatly improve their productivity, while saving an average of 3.6 hours every week.

As companies brace for an AI-first future, here are five ways AI and automation can help drive productivity and profitability at the organizational level: 

1. Eliminate repetitive work for employees

Automation allows businesses to replace time-consuming, manual tasks with automated processes – boosting productivity and delivering better customer experiences, at scale. Our customers save 109 billion hours every month by automating manual processes, which frees up time for employees to focus on higher-value work. 

Companies can automate everything from data entry to approvals and billing management.

These days, even complex business processes can be automated using low-code tools rather than solely relying on developers. Orchestration tools allow for the automation of processes involving multiple users, systems, departments, and time zones. For example, a marketing automation system detects that a customer has just abandoned their online shopping cart, triggering an immediate follow-up email with a personalized discount code to encourage them to complete their purchase. 

Not only do automated workflows increase efficiency and reduce errors, but workers also have more time to do what they do best: think creatively, solve problems, and engage customers.

2. Close more deals, faster

Over three-quarters -  77% - of workers say automating routine tasks would improve their productivity. Consider the potential for salespeople, who routinely spend bulks of time on repetitive data entry and piecing information together from disparate, outdated systems.

Eliminating time-consuming processes gives sales reps time to learn about new product features, conduct industry and market research, and give personalized attention to prospects and customers. Teams can automate approvals for deal discounts and expenses, create workflows to guide agents through conversations and recommend next steps, automatically assign tasks at different stages of a deal, and more.

Combining customer data across touchpoints in one place and gaining AI-powered insights helps reps speed up the buying journey, while offering more efficient support to customers.

3. Provide quicker (and better) customer support

On the topic of support, AI and automation helps support teams do their jobs better, while becoming less likely to burn out. In fact, 98% of service professionals that use automation say it saves time, with 50% reporting a major improvement.

With automation, support teams can seamlessly update records, log calls, and send emails.

Omni-channel routing can automatically match queries to the agents with the right skills at the right time. AI-powered insights guide agents through the support process and recommend the best next steps. And chatbots provide agents with relevant information quickly and offer an efficient self-service option for customers to resolve common issues.

Human agents, in turn, can focus on offering personalized attention for complex support tickets and driving business results.

4. A composable enterprise helps drive better customer experience

Companies today want a holistic view of customer data to deliver an experience that is seamless and personalized across sales, service, marketing, and commerce channels. Meeting those demands at scale is only possible by integrating components to bring together data that’s stored in disparate systems to draw out useful insights and tap into the capabilities of AI and automation.

The potential of a composable enterprise that focuses on data sources and application components for reuse across an organization is vast, and every industry can benefit. For example, service agents can route cases effectively by using a unified customer profile to understand patterns; marketers can use the same components to develop intelligent actions that scale customer personalization; healthcare teams can make better decisions in the moment with predictive analytics; and financial advisors can use real-time data to automate fraud detection and prevention by flagging suspicious transactions based on unusual patterns. By integrating and reusing components, organizations can achieve more efficiency across all departments.

Using low-code tools and composability, companies can create both automated employee workflows and dynamic customer interactions that shift some of the burden to other lines of business. This frees up valuable time for employees to meet customer demands and anticipate future service needs that must be met in order to maintain satisfaction and lower costs.

5. Provide pro-active service

Ultimately, automation and AI empower businesses across all industries to stay ahead and be resilient. Having visibility into the full breadth of a customer’s journey allows organizations to act when they see signs that a customer could benefit from another product or service, support, or intervention.

In the healthcare field, this capacity can have a transformative impact. In fact, automation enables pharmaceutical companies to connect everyone involved in providing advanced therapy treatments to patients, including referrals, appointment scheduling, and drug manufacturing.

Adobe Population Health, an innovative care management company, turned to automation to modernize patient billing, care data, and health insurance validation. With workflows, tasks, and processes now being automated, the company is saving more than 5,000 work hours annually and over $439,000 in total labor and efficiency value and cost avoidance.

Investing today, thriving tomorrow

Armed with the right tools, every business can exceed customer expectations and drive efficient growth.

Now is the time to integrate automation and AI directly into applications. When deployed together, both can save companies time, increase revenue, and improve both the customer and employee experience.

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