Artificial intelligence in customer service: The future is now
It is blatantly obvious that the age of the customer is already here. When we are talking about B2C or B2B, customers expect businesses to be open in order that customers can contact them at the point that they need help and also in the manner that they choose for contact.
However, the dilemma is: how can businesses be constantly providing assistance to customers, whilst trying to save money and resources?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is the modern answer to this dilemma. Automation of simple tasks that don’t require human assistance is rapidly becoming a customer service must-have. Due to the Gartner, global research company, we may expect up to 80% of customer service interaction to be handled by AI by 2020.
4 main differences that artificial intelligence makes to customer service:
- Automatization: Simplifying the communication process
Artificial intelligence takes things a few notches ahead, because it blends “intelligence” and “automation,” putting customer service on autopilot. What tools AI may offer to simplify the process of interaction?
First of all, it’s Natural language processing (NLP), which analyses human language to understand context and outcomes, so AI may communicate with humans and give coherent answers.
We all know about the Siri, a virtual voice assistant that is part of Apple Inc.’s iOS operating systems. Its’ software adapts to users’ individual language usages, searches, and preferences, with continuing use.
We may expect this tool to progressively turn from passive to proactive – offering solutions to users’ problems, based on their habits and personal data.
- Efficiency: 24/7 support
Talking about the efficiency of AI we want to give an example of Huawei company, which takes advantage of AI and successfully uses it for customer service.
In 2018 Huawei opened a Global Service Centre (GSC) powered by an AI-based NLP capability to provide a fast and convenient user experience. Huawei invested more than 10 million euros in building the GSC, which consists of four units: technical support, remote delivery, network operation, and marketing and channel support, aimed at providing customers with 24/7 support.
“In combination with the backend knowledge-base, it provides with an online service that is more accurate and can quickly solve user problems,” Rolland Cheng, Huawei Enterprise GSC Director, said. “We are currently developing cutting-edge big data capabilities to achieve the best interactive experience powered by AI for customers and partners.”
- Preemptive problem solving
Unhappy customers often abandon sales even without trying to find a solution with the help of customer service support. In such cases, even automated customer service is not a solution. The result — customer frustration, and low effectiveness of customer service.
Proactive problem-solving makes customer service a major enabler of customer satisfaction, helps mitigate abandonment of purchase, and improves customer satisfaction. With time, AI gets smarter at intervening with solutions, before customers encounter problems in their self-service interactions with a company’s digital system.
AI can do this by analyzing large amounts of data faster than a human ever could.
- Less efforts – more outcomes
It’s rare for professionally managed businesses to exist in only a single location.
Companies need to spend a lot to set up localized customer support, across locations and time zones. The result — highly complex and expensive customer service departments.
The example of how companies may save costs is using the chatbot together with “live” support center.
A joint study by Drift, Salesforce, and SurveyMonkey found 69 percent of consumers actually prefer using chatbots for quick communication with brands. On Facebook alone, more than 8 billion messages have already been exchanged between humans and bots.
People are in front of their computer and phone screens now more than ever, so it only makes sense to provide them with a service they can access with their fingertips.
Research also displays that chatbots are on pace to save businesses around $8 billion in productivity by 2022. That alone is enough reason to consider chatbots.
We cannot call Artificial intelligence a magic bullet and human interaction cannot be replaced by it. To be more precise, it is a facilitator that minimizes customer frustration and breaks new grounds in customer service.