AI Customer Service: Improving The Customer Experience

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Previously, we’ve discussed the different approaches to artificial intelligence (AI) and how they have led us to the creation of magnificent software capable of playing chess, sustaining a conversation and ordering products online on our behalf. Then, there’s also robotic process automation, where AI is being used to automate tasks and improve the productivity of organizations all over the world.

But, how is AI enhancing customer experience? And how are AI customer service companies providing integrated solutions to help make processes more efficient?

So far, the main focus has been placed on customer service with new iterations looking to further streamline and simplify interactions between consumers and providers. Below, we discuss a few ways in which artificial intelligence can boost a company’s customer service.

How AI is used in customer service

1. As a first line of defense 

In the 2000s, the general public gained access to its first chatbot, SmarterChild, available through the defunct MSN Messenger (now Windows Live Messenger) and AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). Long before the arrival of Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, the ActiveBuddy, Inc. chatbot was already answering questions about the weather, sport results and movie showings within milliseconds.

Today, many companies are using similar AI customer service bots to filter frequently asked questions or simple enquiries that can be answered by pulling information from a database.

When you get in touch with a company through Facebook, for instance, or even when calling them directly, the first point of contact is usually one of these AI customer service bots, providing faster solutions to issues and reducing waiting times. What is more, AI can help to enable “self-service” platforms where customers will try to deal with the problem by themselves (and in many cases succeed at resolving it).

2. By correctly identifying customer issues and helping employees solve them

Let’s say that being the first line of defense is not enough – the AI customer service bot cannot deal with the issue at first, your query is beyond the software’s scope, and your ticket needs to be escalated to a human employee. There are two main ways in which AI may help.

Firstly, by adequately identifying the query and the problem. It may sound simple, but it’s not. It is often the case that customers are not able to correctly communicate what their issue is. As such, the implementation of AI customer service can help using bits and pieces of information to precisely (and quickly) identify what is really happening. Secondly, after narrowing the request down to its real issue, AI systems may help by completing the referral of the ticket, sending it to the most suitable department or even representative.

3. As a tool for customer service employees

The scope of AI doesn’t end when your call is transferred to a human. Once a customer service representative is on the call with you, they can use an AI customer service system to pull up your records, match your files and make educated suggestions for which products to offer. It is then up to the employee to discern what information to share with the customer.

Through this customer service software, representatives can even streamline requests in situations where further help from other departments is needed.

4. By matching customers and agents based on personality

In a world where tastes and personalities abound, our experiences as customers rely heavily on our interactions with business representatives.

Even when walking into a store, there is no consensus on whether people prefer being approached by a sales rep or being left to their own devices. Some customers like hearing about loyalty programs, promotions or reviewing instructions for making the most of their contracted products or services. Others prefer keeping inquiries short and sweet.

AI customer service applications can help connect customers with compatible agents or inform human counterparts of a caller’s reticence or willingness to receive pitches.

The truth is, humanity is ripe for AI. As customers, we are used to artificial intelligence helping us find cheap flights and hotels or to having automated attendants transfer our calls. At this point, advancements in AI are unlikely to be met with resistance. Instead, customers will value the more assertive and efficient service this technology can continue to offer.

5. With performance tracking, proactive issue identification, and employee training

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that AI may assist customer service with data. AI customer service bots can compile and sort information on the customers and their responses, producing a constant flow of data that can help track user satisfaction and inform the development of future products and trends.

AI applications can be used to help with Customer Service Analytics, keeping track of backlog numbers, performance tracking, resolution details, and customer feedback categorization (positive or negative answers, for instance). With this, a company might employ reports that will help make decisions and better organize processes. In addition, businesses can use this data for forecasting purposes and to look at coming trends related to their markets.

These reports and data might also provide critical insights when it comes to onboarding and training new customer service employees. Not only can they reduce the backlog of issues to be resolved but also provide historical data on previous issues that can serve as a guide.

6. By improving overall customer satisfaction

With all of these innovative solutions in place, AI customer service can achieve the most important milestone for any organization: improving customer satisfaction. By using AI to handle customer issues more effectively, the obvious result will be more satisfied customers, especially when it comes to faster problem resolution, a critical aspect for any business.

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