By Ben Walker
In an increasingly competitive market, exceptional customer service can set a business apart in a sea of competitors. Investing in customer service hiring, training, and development pays off, but it’s hard work.
AI can provide valuable support for customer service teams without significant resources. While many fear that AI will replace humans, that’s not its purpose. AI can be used to enhance human work, streamlining processes, providing the responsiveness customers want, and helping employers offer a better human connection.
How Is AI Used in Customer Service?
AI isn’t a single technology but a collection of related technologies that can process information and make decisions that conventionally require human intelligence.
Most AI is divided into two types: narrow and general AI. Narrow AI is commonly used by computers and smartphones – it’s a staple of daily life. These are used for specific tasks, such as voice recognition or speech recognition programs like Alexa and Siri.
General AI is more like the type of AI that the average person imagines when they think of advanced robots replacing humans – the type of AI seen in sci-fi movies.
Narrow AI is typically used in customer service, such as chatbots, data analysis, and self-service tools. Here are some examples:
Chatbots are used to supplement customer service representatives and provide 24/7 information to customers. For example, chatbots may be used to remind customers of an abandoned cart, encourage a review, or collect feedback.
Our law enforcement transcription customers have a lot on their plate – which is why they require transcription services in the first place. If they need help, they don’t have the time to search through resources or wait on the phone. Chatbots can help them get a clear, concise answer – day or night.
Plenty of customer service requests and inquiries can be handled without a human representative. Self-service tools can be combined with chatbots to direct customers to online discussion forums or FAQs to find answers to common inquiries. Customers prefer to get quick answers and solutions that don’t interfere with their schedules.
Conversational AI is a useful tool to train employees in customer service. Instead of relying on one team member to train new employees or provide ongoing training for existing employees, conversational AI can provide educational support to help employees develop skills – and learn new ones.
One of the most unique ways is with role-playing, simulating a myriad of situations that could arise in customer service and providing feedback. Customer service representatives can learn in real-world scenarios, without speaking to a live customer, and improve their skill set.
Natural Language Processing
Natural language processing (NLP) is another widely used tool for customer service representatives. Whether phone calls, chatbots, emails, or voice requests, NLP can be used to assist humans in any capacity that requires people to speak or write. It can translate and transcribe communications across numerous channels to streamline the process.
Analyzing Customer Data
Businesses are collecting more data than ever, and humans simply can’t process it all. AI collects, processes, and analyzes data faster than humans, providing insights into customer behavior and preferences from customer communications.
Benefits of AI in Customer Service
Here are some ways AI can support customer service representatives:
AI streamlines the customer service workflow to assist human customer representatives. Simple, straightforward issues can be resolved with chatbots and self-service tools, allowing support staff to focus only on the more complex problems that require a human touch. This also reduces the wait time for representatives.
Exceptional Customer Service
AI is only becoming more sophisticated, providing more information about customers to allow human representatives to provide better customer service. Personalized support, quick response times, and support at any time, day or night, all over the world ensure that all customers get the experience they desire.
Better Lead Generation
AI creates a smooth, consistent buying process to facilitate more completed purchases. With the right systems in place, AI can guide customers to the products that are most relevant, suggest related products, and identify any barriers to purchase.
For example, if a customer wants academic transcription services, AI can direct them directly to that service. Otherwise, they would have to take the time to find the service that’s relevant to their needs.
Including AI tools in customer service help you reduce your employee spending without sacrificing the level of service you provide customers. There are some free AI solutions for simple tasks, but even more advanced tools are more cost-effective than hiring an employee for mundane work.
No human can operate 24/7, not to mention that doing so would be costly. Still, having too few people taking on the burden of customer service can quickly lead to burnout and fatigue. AI provides continuous work to support human employees and improve job satisfaction.
Humans and AI: A Collaborative Effort
There’s no replacement for human empathy and creativity. Instead of looking at AI as a threat to jobs, consider it an important enhancement that can expand human capabilities. Here’s how.
Amplifying Decision-Making and Creativity
AI can enhance decision-making by processing information much faster than the human brain. It can give humans the right information at the optimal time. For example, AI can offer a customer service representative key customer information during a support call to allow them to provide the most personalized and relevant solution, rather than relying on a standard, generic solution.
Automating Mundane Tasks
As mentioned with chatbots, a lot of a customer service representative’s time is spent on tasks that don’t require human interactions. AI automation can complete these tasks at a higher volume than humans, and much faster, to ensure that customer service representatives are available for the customer inquiries, concerns, and problems that require empathy and understanding.
Collaborative robots, or cobots, are cost-effective, flexible, and safe solutions for automation. They share workspaces with humans, helping to automate vital tasks. They’re not designed to replace humans – far from it. They can collaborate with humans to enhance human capabilities and free employees to focus on mission-critical tasks.
For example, our legal transcription customers are often juggling a lot of tasks and don’t have time to wait on the phone for a representative. Providing self-service options allows them to get quick answers to their pressing concerns, and if they do need to speak to a person, the wait times are much shorter.
Leverage AI to Enhance Customer Service
AI is here to stay. Let it work for you as a practical and cost-effective solution that can help your customer service representatives provide an elevated level of customer support efficiently. Instead of avoiding AI for the sake of human employees, consider how humans and machines can work collaboratively to support your organizational goals.
About the Author
Ben Walker is a CEO, entrepreneur, and visionary leader that enjoys helping others become successful in business and in life. Ben’s company, Ditto Transcripts, provides user-friendly and cost-effective transcription services for the medical, legal, law enforcement, and financial industries for organizations all over the world. Ben is a sought after thought leader and has made contributions to publications like Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc, Forbes, and the Associated Press. Follow Ben’s Tweets: @benjaminkwalker