Human customer service has its limitations. Artificial intelligence is quickly changing the landscape as AI technology becomes more efficient at performing functions that were traditionally handled by human beings. More service functions than ever before are being handled by AI technology, and this is allowing businesses to devote their time and resources to other tasks. Read on to find out more about the future of AI in customer service.
How AI Is Changing the Customer Experience
The quality of customer service that people receive greatly influences whether they purchase products or services from a business.
Existing customers may choose to go somewhere else for what they need after a single poor interaction, while potential customers who feel their questions are answered promptly and correctly are more likely to make a purchase.
AI-powered customer service is becoming more effective due to two key advancements in AI development.
Machine learning uses customer data to predict patterns and come up with solutions to common problems. As the machine receives more information to study, it soon learns to predict probable outcomes and how to analyze consumer behavior. This technology is being deployed to customer service platforms to help guests find the information they need quickly and to resolve customer queries more accurately.
Human customer support agents simply aren’t able to respond as quickly as an AI-powered customer service program because they may need to take time to search for the information a customer is requesting. Artificial intelligence improves interactions with customers because the machine may have already answered the question in the past and can provide a response that matches the query instantly.
Natural Language Processing
Natural language processing, or NLP, is the ability of virtual assistants to recognize and interpret language. As advances in artificial intelligence continue, many companies are turning to AI-based solutions to reduce costs associated with CRM systems, building their brand reputation, contact centers, customer retention and real-time analysis of consumers’ behavior. Virtual assistants are now able to understand voice interactions almost as well as human representatives and can respond in a fraction of the time.
How AI Improves Customer Service Interactions
Artificial intelligence is able to learn from each customer support interaction and identify customer behavior more quickly as it gathers data from each experience. Over time, this improves customer satisfaction rates and allows businesses to reduce the number of inquiries that require human involvement. Business leaders at major companies are investing heavily in AI technology in the customer service space to reduce the reliance on call centers to manage customer engagement.
Machine learning models combined with NLP programming can interpret specific customer concerns and provide actionable insights for the future. Examples of how AI tools can improve customer experiences include:
- Gathering data from each interaction and analyzing behavior patterns
- Personalized service
- Reduced business costs
- Learning from the decisions customers make on a website
- Quickly determining what a customer’s concern is
- Guiding customers to relevant information, products and solutions
- Referring users to blogs or FAQ sections that provide the information they’re seeking
- Providing special discounts to close a sale
- Improved response times
- Connecting people with live customer service agents when needed
- Ability to provide customer self-service
- Speech-to-text capabilities
- Reduced shopping cart abandonment to help increase revenue
Automated solutions reduce the need for human agents, but artificial intelligence has limitations. Some people still prefer speaking with a human agent over a machine, and AI hasn’t completely eliminated the need for human beings in the customer service industry. Service representatives armed with AI in customer service can work more effectively and improve people’s experiences drastically.
An AI Program Can Assist Your Customer Service Representative
AI technologies attempt to provide a first contact resolution, but this isn’t always possible. When customers ask to speak with a live representative, the representatives they’re referred to can use AI-assisted responses to find possible solutions. Assistance from an AI often results in increased agent productivity by helping human agents with the following:
- Resolving complex issues that would require performing deep research or referring to a supervisor
- Improved search functionality that allows the representative to access information needed throughout the interaction
- Access to personal preferences and behavior patterns
AI-Enabled Chatbots Can Manage Social Media Messaging Apps
More customers are reaching out to businesses over social media than ever before. Having a presence on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites is essential to a company’s success, but having live people manning apps such as Facebook Messenger isn’t a cost-effective solution. Large businesses are seeking AI solutions to provide support over messaging apps so their live representatives can devote their time to inquiries that require more attention.
Chatbots are able to respond instantly to messages, improving the customer experience. Most questions can be answered by the artificial intelligence program, and if customers need more assistance, they can be referred to a human being. This is most valuable in reducing the number of questions representatives need to answer that are already covered in an FAQ or blog post on the business website and reducing the waiting time for customers with more complex problems to solve.
AI is also being deployed to handle email support and can provide relevant responses to customer inquiries via standard email. Most inquiries can be answered without the assistance of a human.
What the Near Future Holds
Most major businesses have already invested in an AI solution to assist their support representatives or reduce their workloads. Artificial intelligence is going to become more prevalent in the workplace over the next decade as technologies such as machine learning and NLP become more effective. In addition to performing common support functions, these programs will begin to provide big data on consumers’ behavior and habits. Companies can use this data to increase their return on investment in marketing strategies and branding initiatives.