How to Use AI in Customer Service
Many customers now expect a certain level of artificial intelligence when interacting with customer service teams – it’s all about how you deploy it.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow make delivering exceptional customer service a whole lot easier? The truth is, there is a solution, and it lies in AI in customer service. Some of you may consider AI a buzzword, but it has many practical applications for customer service teams who want to serve more customers better.
At its most basic, AI can be used to automate many of the processes in customer service, resulting in a much more efficient customer experience. This technology doesn’t necessarily have to be visible to customers, and can operate behind the scenes to make customer service much more manageable.
Burnout is a very serious concern in the customer service industry, and AI can be used to ease some of the burden on your support representatives. AI in customer service can help you make sense of mountains of data that would otherwise take humans a significant amount of time to analyze.
While the human touch is the bastion of any customer service department, the support of technology can greatly enhance the quality of the service you are able to deliver. Artificial Intelligence in particular can mimic the capabilities of human agents, eliminating manual tasks and freeing them up to take care of customers.
That’s why many businesses are implementing AI in customer service, using the power of technology combined with human interaction to make customers happier.
How does AI affect customer service?
AI has the potential to have a powerful effect on customer service. Instead of relying on intuition and guesswork, customer service teams can gain useful insights into the needs, wants and desires of their customers to enable them to provide more effective service.
Depending on the type of AI that they are able to offer, customer service teams may reach new heights of productivity as they are able to use technologies to automate busywork. You’ll be able to do more work with fewer agents as the AI takes over the tasks that would normally be performed by your team.
AI has the potential to conduct realistic conversations with your customers as though they are being attended to by members of your support team. AI can predict customer intent and select responses based on past customer behavior.
Customer service has traditionally been slow to adopt newer technologies as businesses focus on saving money. As customer service moves forward into an AI-driven future, it’s a function that has the potential to earn more revenue for your business. You can transform the agent experience as they are empowered to ascend to new levels of productivity.
So AI affects customer service in a number of ways by enabling teams to do more with fewer resources.
What is AI in customer service?
The most obvious use of AI in customer service is an AI chatbot, which uses natural language processing (NLP) to understand customer conversations in written or spoken form. Chatbots can simulate human interaction and provide customers with answers to common questions that would otherwise take up the time of your agents.
AI can also be used to make the process of collecting and analyzing data much easier, as AI is a program that can use a predictive model to generate insights. AI means that the computer program operates with machine learning to complete a task without being programmed beforehand, which is what constitutes the “intelligence” of the system.
Essentially, AI uses the intelligence of a computer to simulate human-like activities based on patterns that can be found in data. The potential for AI to impact customer service is huge, since it is a field highly dependent on interactions between people. As the technology progresses, AI is able to automate many of the processes in customer service and provide a more human-like experience for customers.
AI in customer service is the interaction between humans and technology with the goal of providing help and assistance to customers.
What are the benefits of AI in customer service?
It improves the agent experience
Artificial intelligence technology has been designed to support the efforts of human agents. Many manual tasks can be automated, such as our own technology Keeping which enables customer service automation of ticket routing through applying AI. When customer service agents are relieved of the burden to perform mundane, manual tasks, they are happier in their jobs with higher morale overall.
68% of agents report feeling overwhelmed with their jobs, and customer service AI can help them.
Customers are more satisfied
When customers can obtain automated, accurate answers from bots without having to go out of their way, they are much more satisfied with their experience. The advantage of AI is that it finds information for the customer and reduces friction when it comes to getting problems solved. Bots can take customers through a decision tree to find the right answer, mimicking the process of a human agent.
More than 59% of customers rated their AI customer service interactions at least an 8 out of 10.
Speeds up interactions
AI can respond to customers instantly, while human agents would take the time to look up the customer’s case history and find a solution for them. AI has access to a wealth of customer data that enables them to provide a fast and accurate response, so fewer customers are kept waiting.
90% of customers rate speed as important when interacting with customer service.
Decreases the cost of customer service
Organizations invest in AI technology partly because they want to decrease the cost of customer service. AI can perform many tasks that would normally be the responsibility of human agents and lowers the headcount needed to provide the same level of service. Manpower is the most expensive resource for any business and you’ll be able to automate many of the more routine tasks that agents would find tedious and mundane.
26% of businesses say that AI is helping them lower the operating customer service costs.
What are 3 examples of AI for customer service?
Natural language processing
Natural language processing offers the ability to analyze data from chatbots, phone, SMS, email and any other platform that uses words. NLP gives teams the ability to understand what this data means for customer satisfaction without having to manually go through the data.
Natural language processing significantly enhances the ability of customer service teams to analyze vast reams of written and spoken data. Before NLP came along, trends and insights from this data would be unavailable unless teams had access to data science skills and capabilities.
Many self-service resources are underpinned by AI so they can enable customers to handle simple tasks by themselves without contacting support. This technology can help customers solve their own problems by guiding them towards resources and guides that will provide a solution.
The advantage of self-service is the ability to deflect simple inquiries and prevent customers from ever having to reach out to an agent. Self-service tools may be able to detect the past behavior of customers and recommend relevant resources intelligently.
AI-driven chatbots are available to answer customer questions 24/7, and often offer multilingual support. Chatbots greatly enhance the experience that companies are able to deliver customers, and they can frequently handle simple tasks like managing bookings or buying products. 23% of customer service teams are currently using chatbots.
The advantage of a chatbot is that it simulates a human conversation so customers are able to use everyday language when interacting with the bot. They can significantly reduce the burden on your customer service team by handling basic inquiries from customers.
How does AI improve customer experience?
The customer experience goes hand in hand with your customer service. While customer service refers to your ability to assist customers in times of need, customer experience is the holistic interactions and perceptions of customers have with your brand. Customer experience is always operating, whether you pay attention to it or not.
AI has the potential to improve customer experience because your brand can become more responsive to customer needs. AI technology can analyze customer sentiment to work out which customers are upset and prompt your agents to take a response. Brands that can proactively take care of their customers will gain an edge over the competition.
Technology augments the customer experience by predicting customer behavior. If a customer is searching for shoes on your website, AI can make suggestions just like real customer service representatives would do in a physical store. In this way, AI helps with lead generation automatically.
Customer experience has the potential to be improved by AI capabilities and to ensure customers have a better time interacting with your brand.
How will AI transform customer service?
AI has a big role to play in transforming customer service because many customers will be interacting with bots rather than machines. If customers are served by this technology then this eliminates the need to wait in long queues, and the bots will grow more effective over time.
The huge amounts of data currently being collected by customer service teams and remaining untouched will be able to leverage the power of insights. AI can use this structured and unstructured data to make predictions about the future, and streamline the processes and workflows of customer service teams.
Using the power of AI, customers can have their needs anticipated and this makes customer service less of a reactionary function. AI will enhance the natural abilities of human agents so customers always receive the service that they need, every time.
Customer service can become more efficient and productive as it takes advantage of data accumulated by customer service teams.
What is conversational AI for customer support?
Conversational AI is one step beyond traditional chatbots. Instead of following a predefined “yes” or “no” structure in conversations with customers, conversational AI is able to analyze the words being used to offer a more natural sounding dialogue. This means that customers can interact with your AI much more like they would another human, because the interaction is “conversational” rather than transactional.
The advantage of conversational AI is that it can answer questions from customers based on context, making it much more responsive than traditional chatbots. Customers feel more satisfied with their experience as they feel like the AI can truly understand their needs.
Customers who are empowered to have conversations with your AI technology are more able to get the help they need.
How AI is improving customer service?
AI is improving customer service because even smaller businesses can offer a higher quality of service through implementing technological solutions. Launching a chatbot to answer basic queries for a large body of customers is much cheaper than employing an extensive customer service team for the same purpose.
When customer service teams are able to expand their capabilities this raises the bar of customer service overall. Small businesses can compete with their larger counterparts as AI solutions become more affordable to those with limited budgets.
AI can also offer more consistency for how businesses respond to customer service inquiries. When businesses use the intelligence of a machine to help customers, this is more likely to produce the same responses for tickets of a similar nature, rather than the variation you would get through employing human agents.
Customer service teams can use AI to become better at serving customers who contact them with issues and inquiries.
Best practices for AI in customer service
Augment human service with technology
AI is not meant to replace the human touch when it comes to customer service. It is best used when you use it to augment the abilities of your human agents to provide fast, efficient, and empathetic service to your customers. Customers should not feel like you are deflecting them with bots, but rather providing technological assistance for inquiries that do not require human intervention.
Customer service agents should use AI technology as a support to completing their everyday tasks. Instead of being required to perform mundane tasks manually, AI can offload some of the burden so your agents are free to deal with the more complex customer queries that cannot be solved by robots.
AI has been designed to help agents to become more effective at helping their customers seek assistance.
Incorporate customer feedback on your AI solutions
Customers interacting with your AI will no doubt have their in-depth feedback on their experience with your system. Do they feel like the technology is supporting their interaction and opening up new possibilities, or do they simply feel deflected and prevented from reaching human assistance?
The only way to improve your use of AI in customer service is to ask your customers what they really think about it. You can automatically launch surveys to customers after they have had an experience with your customer service, to immediately capture their thoughts and feelings before they have a chance to move on with their day.
AI combined with customer feedback has the power to offer great resolutions for customers.
Use AI to personalize the customer experience
The advantage of using AI is that it can analyze vast amounts of data to personalize the customer experience. As soon as a customer gets in contact, your AI knows about their previous interactions and is able to incorporate it into the assistance it provides. For example, if your AI knows that your customer has previously enquired about a booking, it can offer this option again.
AI immediately knows what a customer has asked before and is able to tailor the response based on past behavior. Even when a human agent is dealing with a customer, AI can recommend resources and past responses to help the agent personalize their message to the customer.
Customers who receive personalized service are more likely to frequent your business again and share their experience with others.
Customer service teams have the potential to benefit from Artificial Intelligence as the technology is used to support agents in their jobs. Customers are open to interacting with technology as long as it provides them with a better service. The most important thing to remember is not to pretend that your AI is a human, but to be completely transparent with customers that they are being helped by machine intelligence.
Customer service AI can be customer-facing and help customers deal with their problems, or operate in the background to provide insights or automate processes. The applications of AI in customer service is huge, and only limited by the vision of customer service teams. As customer service AI becomes the default, more and more companies will realize they don’t want to be left behind.
Many customers now expect a certain level of artificial intelligence when interacting with customer service teams – it’s all about how you deploy it.
Technology can significantly expand the abilities of customer service teams to help huge volumes of customers with a more personalized service. It doesn’t take as much effort to deal with customers when you have the support of technology and the ability to streamline many processes.
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