19th Aug, 2020

Divert Call Volume and Reduce Customer Service Costs with AI-Powered Language

This article details how a leading U.S. health insurer used machine learning and AI to generate more effective IVR scripts that diverted call volume, increased app downloads by 67%, and drove $1.7 million in cost savings from a single campaign.

New circumstances require new customer service tools

The coronavirus pandemic is increasing the pressure on customer service teams to maintain high-quality experiences–and the digital gains they’ve made over the past decade–despite higher volumes. The challenge is not just that there are more calls, but that more of them are challenging to resolve, and agents working from home have less support to resolve them. 

The improved IVR script increased self-service app downloads by 67% and drove $1.7 million in cost savings from a single campaign.

An analysis of 1 million call center interactions during March 2020 showed a 100% increase in “difficult to resolve” calls, up from the typical percentage of 10% to 20%. These calls cost more to come to a solution for the customer and are less likely to result in a cross- or up-sell. Yet they’re a critical service area that companies need to deliver at high quality in order to maintain customer satisfaction levels and prevent churn. One leading U.S. health insurer turned to Persado for help with a proactive campaign to promote digital customer self-service for simple issues, so that the business could preserve human agents for more complex calls.

Taking the best and making it better

Persado generated an IVR script that played for customers while they waited for a call center agent. The script suggested self-service options to submit a claim, find a doctor, print their insurance card, and other common actions. Customers who accepted the offer to use self-service received a text message with a link to the mobile app. The right language helped send the message that the customer could resolve their issue just as effectively through self-service as they could with the help of a human agent. 

Persado’s AI revised the insurer’s control message using the opener, “Special message!” that projected to the customer that this offer was just for them. Words that promote the emotions of Gratification and Intimacy increased mobile app adoption. The message further emphasized ease and simplicity with language like “fast and simple” and “one-time” to suggest that the self-service options would resolve the issue faster than waiting in the call center queue.

Powerful results that help strained customer service teams

An additional 39% of customers clicked “Yes” to use the self-service options, and 67% percent more downloaded the app, compared to the insurer’s control message. This single message produced $1.7 million in savings for the customer service operation.

How insurers can offer proactive self-service alternatives 

Certain service issues will always require a human touch. Particularly during times of crisis, research shows that more than half of all customers want to speak to a person. This makes it even more urgent for call center leaders to leverage AI and customer analytics in order to steer simple issues to self-service channels and to concentrate human talent on high-touch interactions. 

Three actions to improve customer service outcomes through language:

  1. Optimize messaging across channels to proactively drive self-service 
  2. Improve IVR prompts with AI to get customers to the right department and solution the first time, preventing multiple transfers or multiple calls to get the issue resolved
  3. Leverage ongoing communications to motivate continuous engagement and use of digital self-service 

With the right language, businesses can improve the experience exactly when customers need it most.


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