Ai in customer service
Customer service has become one of the topmost priorities of every industry, be it retail, telecom, or manufacturing. AI tools have already found their way into this industry. Let's discuss this in detail.

AI for customer service — everything you need to know

Table of contents

Artificial Intelligence has evolved so much that it governs every aspect of business today. Customer service has become one of the topmost priorities of every industry, be it retail, telecom, or manufacturing. AI tools have already found their way into customer services, with new ones being developed to enhance these services further.

What is AI in customer service?

AI or Artificial Intelligence – technologies that enable machines to mimic human functions like learning and analysis to work with minimal human intervention – is a key area of investment for enterprises to function in cost-effective ways. In the customer service sector, AI has proven to be highly useful in ensuring the best customer experience.

A recent survey by the International Data Corporation of more than 2000 IT and LoB decision-makers shows that more than half of these companies undertook AI adoption for the purpose of providing a better customer experience. Ritu Jyoti, program vice president, Artificial Intelligence Strategies, said that the early adopters of AI have shown over 25% improvement in this area among others. 

AI technologies, ranging from machine learning to natural language processing, when applied in customer service take a huge load off human resources. By taking care of the more mundane tasks (such as call routing and customer identification), employees are allowed to focus on tasks of more value and better returns to the business. 

With AI, companies are witnessing improvement in customer satisfaction, customer base retention and expansion, customer loyalty, and brand reputation.

How is AI used in customer service?

With full-scale adoption of AI becoming inevitable, we find more and more businesses joining the AI bandwagon when it comes to customer services. Here we discuss 15 ways in which AI can be used holistically for the enhancement of this purpose.

Biometrics

Biometrics is an important AI technology that deals with identification. In the customer service context, biometrics is highly useful to know who a customer is and the details pertaining to him. By integrating machines with biometrics, businesses can ensure security and offer self-service to customers instead of mediating with them through agents. 

Self-servicing has proven to be a lot more convenient from the customer’s point of view. Biometrics helps in the case of warranty verification and servicing without the need for documentation. Financial institutions can eliminate risks like a fraudulent access using biometrics for authentication purposes.

Chatbot

Customer service teams face customer queries in huge numbers, and to resolve these is a time-consuming affair. This is where AI-powered chatbots come in. These virtual assistants store endless data from which they source their relevant information to provide speedy responses to queries, thereby decreasing the resolution time. Major names like Google and Apple are involved in building the best chatbots, and it is no wonder that Gartner predicts that more than 85% of customer interaction will be handled by AI by 2020.

Resource augmentation and optimization

Customer care calls spell a lot of expense for businesses, sometimes as much as billions of dollars in the case of the big ones. According to IBM, businesses across the world spend over $1.3 trillion on 265 billion customer service calls each year. Through chatbots and other AI technologies like interactive voice response, these expenses are greatly reduced, and the saved money can be reinvested. Human resources are freed up for functions more important than routine queries. 

24/7 support

Customer service on a 24-hour basis can be ensured through automated customer service. A customer may require service at any time of day, and he needs to be addressed on his terms. Automation allows businesses to be on the spot always for the customer – listen to his queries, solve them, and ensure his satisfaction while retaining his loyalty. 

Better customer engagement 

Chatbots interact with customers in a human manner, making it a personal experience. AI-augmented messaging and email tagging help to categorize queries and route them to the correct office more accurately than human agents, who in turn deal with them.

Improved user experience

Customers get a personalized experience with AI creating customer personas and recommending the right products and services based on their browsing preferences and purchasing history. With all this data, businesses can address the needs of individual consumers by sending them suitable content at the right time through the right avenues.

Data crunching

Data gathering and analysis is the most important way in which AI tools are helping customer service. These tools work with existing data while also acquiring pertinent new data from customers without human intervention. Customer behavioral patterns in purchasing and sentiment are studied, and automation allows these tools to act on the insights gained independently.

Predictive insights

Predictive analytics tools work to provide satisfaction to both the business and customers. Businesses use predictive analytics to provide a personalized experience for every customer, by recommending products based on their data. Content can be tailor-made to address customer needs before they even arise to provide proactive customer service. 

Process improvement

In the scaling of customer services, companies inevitably apply changes that affect their operating models. AI drives these improvements based on factual data and reduces room for errors.

Improved data insights

AI tools have the ability to establish data correlations in the unlikeliest quarters. Their insights are therefore much more nuanced, allowing businesses to stay ahead of their game.  

Decision-making assistance to the customer

Virtual assistants assist customers as well as and even better than their human counterparts. With customers engaging across different devices, chatbots ensure instant and effective responses to customer queries, offering them comprehensive details of the required product or service, and assisting in their decision-making process.

Better task management

AI bots are equipped to multi-task, and the biggest advantage is that they never get exhausted. Their ability to sift through unstructured data, establish patterns, offer solutions, and address repetitive questions is almost inexhaustible.

Staying on-brand

AI innovations are ensuring that businesses stay on the brand through their customer service. For example, you can book flights through Facebook Messenger and engage with customers via the same channel.

Agent support and motivation

With tools for call prioritization, customer identification, and recommendation engines, agents are greatly supported and motivated to engage better with customers. Agent training becomes less time consuming and their skills channeled for more important tasks such as improving intra-company communication and administration.

Gamification

Gamification through AI helps to increase agent morale by driving them to complete objectives and surpass other agents in their performance. Gamification provides insights in KPIs like hours worked or average time to answer. It creates a workplace environment that is both fun and motivational.

Conclusion

There is no questioning of the immense impact of AI in customer service. With the vast potential of this ever-evolving technology, one can only guess at how many more new and exciting ways this is going to improve customer service.

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