Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The Future Role of AI and Customer Service

Imagine, for a moment, a customer service agent who is never sick, is always pleasant and happy to help and works through the day and night without letup. They never get frustrated or tired, and they are always striving to improve. A valuable staff member indeed.

AI and Customer Service

This is the predicted future of customer service across the globe, and this is what AI brings to the table in spades. 

Are you for or against AI and customer service for your business? Do you still have questions about how to implement it, what options are available, and whether or not your customers will respond favourably?

We’re exploring the future role of AI in a little more detail, especially within customer service.

The Immeasurable Value of Customer Service

We’ve touched on the topic of improving customer service in previous posts, highlighting the irrefutable statistics of its value and the critical importance of getting it right. However, to ensure that we never become complacent, we’d like to offer some updated numbers.

  • A whopping 95% of consumers (PDF) say that customer service is important for brand loyalty (Microsoft Dynamics 365, 2018) (Source)
  • 92% will switch to another company after 3 (or fewer) bad experiences, and 26% will switch after just one bad experience. (Source - PDF)
  • 89% of companies compete on the quality of customer service alone! (Source)
  • 67% are likely to dissuade friends and family from using a company that they’ve had a poor experience with. (Source - PDF)

How does this relate to your adoption of AI?

Artificial Intelligence vs Human Agent

The perceived divide between AI and customer service lessens daily. In days gone by, the advent of AI made people a little prickly and defensive. Much like the scepticism during the Industrial Revolution, questions arose around job security and the creeping redundancy of humans in the workforce. 

Is this still a concern? Perhaps, for some. However, the benefits of AI, notably in the realm of customer service, are hard to ignore.

Automate Repetitive Tasks

Repetitive, mind-numbing tasks can be the bane of an employee's life. A Health and Safety consultancy in the UK had this to say about the negative impact of repetitive tasks in the workplace. 

“The effect of repetitive tasks on an employee’s mental condition can be severe. Just as stress can contribute towards mental health issues, extreme boredom through the endless repetition of a menial task can begin to adversely affect the mental state and wellbeing of an individual. It can also make them extremely demoralised, unhappy and desperate to leave the company which will result in recruitment costs and lost time as a new person is brought in and given all of the induction training necessary for a new starter, resulting in a continuous spiral of recruitment, wasted time and increasing costs.”

What would constitute a repetitive task in your organisation that could be handed over to an AI system? 

AI can remove the burden of common, low-value tasks such as:

  • Answering questions around business opening times, contact details or branch addresses
  • Confirming orders or deliveries
  • Checking stock levels on an item
  • Scheduling or amending appointments
  • Answering FAQs
  • Data entry

How much time do your valuable customer-facing agents spend on these tasks, and where could their energies be better channelled?

Round-the-Clock Availability

We can’t reasonably expect businesses to be available whenever we choose to interact with them. However, AI says otherwise. 

We live in a world of mobile immediacy with a host of tools and applications that make this possible. Therefore, if your customers want to book a holiday at 3 am then they can do so. If they have a question, there will be a friendly chatbot standing by to assist. Account queries can now be tackled after-hours by a professional voicebot that can respond accurately to the information they offer. 

Predictable, Personalised Service

As much as we may insist otherwise, we don’t like surprises. Certainly, in a business setting, we appreciate the value of consistency and standardised systems. The use of artificial intelligence allows companies to deliver the personalised, intelligent and predictive experiences that customers increasingly expect. Nevertheless, the human touch is essential for customer satisfaction which remains an option for those who prefer it. 

Access to Big Data

Sound business decisions rest on accurate information, yet this data is often difficult to come by and isn’t always as accurate as it could be. Data analysts have had to trawl through reams of information to identify trends, customer habits and preferences, and marketing opportunities. 

In contrast, AI offers user-friendly and simplified reports on immense amounts of reliable data, allowing us to understand key details about our audience and make smarter, more informed decisions. This aspect alone is worth its weight in gold. 

Further Benefits of AI

What else can we expect from AI within our business?

  • Analyse customer contact channels in real-time
  • Maximise options for proactive service delivery, agent availability, and wait times
  • By using predictive analytics and sensitivity, escalate and categorise cases automatically
  • Automated workflows can power chatbots to deliver accurate and current information
  • Using CRM data, AI can assist in scheduling and routing calls efficiently
  • Chatbots and voicebots can handle several queries simultaneously speeding up service times
  • Capturing massive amounts of data for analysis

Choosing the Best Option for You

While there are still mixed feelings around the impact of AI, its efficacy, and how it will affect both customers and employees there is no need to feel like you need to follow the crowd. 

The great news is that you are in complete control of how you choose to implement AI within your organisation.

An article from Deloitte comments on this point when discussing the changing face of the workforce saying, “The question of how each job will change, adapt, or disappear has become a design decision. What aspects of work do you replace with automated machines? Do you want to “augment” workers with machines that make work easier and more scalable? What will be the impact of AI and robotics on the customer experience, service quality, and brand? Should your organization wait for competitors to fully validate AI and robotics?”

Getting Started with AI for Customer Service

We have all experienced the benefits of AI whether we realise it or not. Implementing these systems in your organisation may be something on your to-do list, but you’re not totally sure where to start.

The success of AI in customer service or within other areas of your business will depend on who you choose to partner with to implement seamless business communication channels. Ultimately, AI still requires the correct initial setup and training from humans in order to perform the tasks you’re entrusting to it. 

Your provider should be able to:

  • Bring together all the channels you are using to communicate with your customers 
  • Route calls and messages through the right human agents when required
  • Connect with your CRM and maintain accurate information on customers and their habits or preferences
  • Report on key statistics 
  • Maintain an excellent level of customer service across all platforms, including mobile channels

Salesforce sums this topic up succinctly:

“Agents can focus on complex issues while chatbots and other AI-enabled technology works in the background routing calls, helping customers, and collecting mountains of data along the way. Customer journeys, and the path from lead to customer, will improve, as will overall customer experience.”

Are you ready to join hands with AI and exceed your client expectations? If so, please drop us a message and we will call you right back.

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