How Artificial Intelligence is redefining customer service

How artificial intelligence is redefining customer service
Photo: Rawpixel.com, Pexels.

Human interaction is a big factor in customer service. However, artificial intelligence (AI) can bring in a technology-enabled transformation that will assist the human agent and the customer service system, helping you deliver more efficient and impactful services. The ideal customer experience can be created when the gap between a human agent and a bot blurs.

Why is customer service important?

Technology and exposure to more products and services means there is a pressing demand for excellent customer service. Customer expectations are increasingly rising. Especially now with the ubiquity of messaging services, social platforms, apps and other technology aided services. Customers demand support to be present and seamless across all channels.

Businesses want to retain existing customers and build loyalty. Customer retention boosts revenue. Delivering good customer services also means that satisfied customers turn into brand ambassadors. They promote your brand among friends and family, thereby, boosting sales.

Studies show that customers return if they are consistently given good service. And that they tend to give up on a purchase due to poor service. Or even switch to a competitor.

Customers interact in an omnichannel world with advanced technology. Usage of legacy systems will be picked up instantly by customers. They will not prefer an outdated system when they are used to faster paced, advanced channels of communications. Provide support on the customers’ channel of choice. For example, while some customers might prefer phone support through efficient inbound call centre services or call centre outsourcing services, others might reach out through the social media.

What is AI all about?

AI combines automation and intelligent services to help you achieve a level of efficiency, accuracy and scale-ability that cannot be achieved with just manpower. AI can be customised, tuned and trained to fit the current business processes. AI-enabled customer contact centres enhance the capabilities of a human agent providing the best customer service.

Human agents supported by AI bots are ideal for a wholesome customer service experience. Common queries raised by customers can be handled by AI bots. While more complex queries can be directed to human agents.

AI can suggest highly relevant solutions to commonly asked questions at an inbound contact centre. AI capabilities such as NLP and machine learning improve the rate of first contact resolutions, shorten average handling time, minimise escalations and reduce training costs.

Intelligent systems suggest apt responses to human representatives, route calls to the right agents, classify customer support requests, increase the human agent’s productivity and extend the human agent’s capabilities.

How artificial intelligence is redefining customer service
Photo: Rawpixel.com, Pexels.

What are the benefits that AI brings to Customer Service?

Efficient self-service: Customers increasingly resolve issues on their own as a primary step. AI can make customer self-service more streamlined and efficient. Customers look for fast, accurate answers that will help them continue with their website visit or purchase. Providing intelligent self-service facilities will also direct customers away from further seeking phone and email assistance. With AI’s NLP and machine learning capabilities more relevant answers can be laid out.

Seamless integration with other channels: Customers shouldn’t have to repeat themselves. For this reason, when customers want to continue the conversation with a human agent or on another channel, AI allows seamless transition, retaining the history of the conversations held with the customer so far.

Conversing bots: Customised, AI-enabled, real-time messaging bot services are a great way to provide customers with quick and relevant responses.  Automated responses to common queries will cut down waiting time and help customer on their way to their desired next step.

Intuitive: Offer apt solutions and choices based on customer preferences. Interfaces become more intuitive, fast and practical with AI. You can even fix issues before they arise by offering links to articles or FAQ’s that would contain information the customer is likely to be interested in. Machine learning allows the AI system to identify repeat issues. Identify customer patterns and preferences, and surprise your customers with tailored solutions, promotional offers or intuitive help.

Uninterrupted service: AI is not bound by holidays, weekend-offs or time zone constraints. Virtual robots are available anytime to address queries. This eliminates wait time, offers prompt resolution and prevents escalation. AI prevents service disruptions. Overall customer experience is thus enhanced.

Rerouting to the right agent: A traditional interactive voice response (IVR) system can be limited in its rerouting skills. Also, misrouting can frustrate customers. Prevent this with smart AI assistance. AI can complement an IVR (“Press 1 for sales, press 3 for account updation, press 9 for an agent…”) by routing a call to the right agent. Inbound call centre services stand to benefit greatly from this.

Accuracy: Unlike humans who are naturally prone to errors, AI-enabled systems are pre-programmed to perform with efficiency, with no errors. Virtual robots can resolve common and recurrent issues, and can draw on a vast knowledge base to get trained with each contact. AI systems get smarter with each interaction due to machine learning.

Cost effective: AI reduces hiring and training costs. Automated responses via chatbots eliminate the need for numerous agents. This cuts down on huge personnel expenses.

Scale-ability: Handle unexpected volume hikes without having to hire more hands. AI systems handle more tasks that a single human agent. This allows for varying call volumes at the inbound contact centre.

Increase productivity: AI systems suggest the right answer to human agents. They do not have to go through manuals and interaction templates. Routine tasks can be relegated to virtual assistants and they can use this time saved to focus on more value-added tasks.

Reliability: No bias, no discrimination, no emotional baggage (anger, aggression, annoyance, etc.), no difficulties inherent to humans (illnesses, vagaries of moods, social pressures, personal responsibilities, etc.). AI systems can be programmed to deliver the desired responses, and build brand reputation and trust.

Real-time support through chat: Live chat on a website is a great communication medium through which queries can be addressed while browsing the website. It doesn’t intrude and is convenient. It can be compellingly personalised, thus, influencing customer’s perception of the brand and can even prompt a quick sale. Chatbots are designed to have human level conversational capabilities.

AI technology is used to create smarter customer services — adapting and providing better services to a customer the next time it interacts. You can deliver the best customer service by leveraging the power of AI. Provide smarter, more tailored customer service solutions with capabilities that only AI can offer.

What do you think about it?