What is AI customer service?
Definition: AI customer service is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies to automate, augment, or improve various aspects of customer service and support.
The primary goal of AI customer service is to enhance customer experience, streamline support operations, and reduce response times, costs, and workload for customer service departments.
Businesses are switching to AI customer service to provide a more seamless and efficient customer experience while helping people not to deal with manual and repetitive tasks"
AI customer service technologies
AI customer service can consist of various components like chatbots, virtual assistants, Natural Language Processing (NLP), intelligent routing, predictive analytics, and sentiment analysis.
Chatbots are computer programs that use machine learning to comprehend and respond to customer inquiries via text. These chatbots can be integrated into messaging platforms like chatbots on Facebook.
Voice assistants like Alexa or Siri can also be used for customer support, where customers can receive immediate responses by asking questions via voice.
AI-powered self-service is used to create dynamic knowledge bases and help centers that adapt to customer needs, offering personalized solutions and recommendations based on the user's query.
Predictive analytics analyzes historical data to predict future customer behavior or anticipate potential issues.
Intelligent routing routes customer inquiries to the most appropriate support agent or department based on factors like the customer's issue, support history, and agent expertise, leading to faster resolution times and improved customer satisfaction.
Sentiment analysis is used to analyze customers’ text or voice data to determine their emotional state, helping prioritize support tickets and address customer issues more proactively.
Examples of AI customer service
SAP and Alexa
SAP is a B2B software company that provides enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions to businesses. SAP has integrated its software with Amazon Alexa, allowing customers to use voice commands to interact with SAP applications and ask questions.
Customers can use Alexa to get a report or update information in an SAP application. Business owners have noted that this tool is very efficient when they need to access information quickly.
SAP has also developed a voice-activated digital assistant called CoPilot, which uses natural language processing ( NLP) to understand and respond to customer requests.
Customers can use CoPilot to create purchase orders, set up new vendors, and manage inventory.
Uber utilizes chatbots to improve customer support and communication with both riders and drivers, y handling:
- Ride requests – Instead of the user wasting time calling customer service and finding the right driver, the chatbot automatically matches the driver with the customer.
- Payments – The chatbots simply process card payments, and the driver doesn’t need to waste time dealing with card rejections or change.
- User requests – The user can resolve any issues they may encounter with the ride, driver, or account 24/7 by using the chatbot.
By switching to AI customer service, Uber has become 10% more efficient, increasing customer satisfaction by 200%.
Coda Payment’s chatbot
Coda Payment provides payment services for people selling digital products. The company uses a chatbot to handle simple queries and filter spam tickets their employees used to waste many hours on.
Coda’s chatbot can:
- Personalize recommendations – Based on customers’ payment history and preferences, Coda’s chat can communicate with customers via Facebook Messenger.
- Answer FAQs – Resolving failed transactions and refunds immediately with a pre-programmed Chatbot.
As a result, the employee Net Promoter Score has increased to 85 percent, and the CSAT score is around 90 percent.
Benefits of AI customer service
- Cost savings
Integrating an AI customer service significantly reduces HR costs. Customer support can save time on boring manual tasks such as answering FAQs and working on more complex issues.
End users also benefit from AI customer service because they get responses faster and at any moment.
- Better customer experience
A better customer experience results in more returning customers and recommendations. AI customer service offers users 24/7 availability to meet their requests instantly.
With the advance of technology, AI customer service helps non-English speakers understand and receive information better because conversational AI can generate a response in any spoken language.
- Easier data collection
An AI customer service helps managers and business owners collect data more quickly. Instead of people taking down notes, storing and reporting on issues customers often encounter, an AI can do it faster and more organized.
Businesses can use this data to improve customer relationships, ideate new products or solve burning issues.
How AI augments human efforts
While human customer support can provide a unique and personal experience for a customer, it is not without its challenges. Problems customer support agents and businesses face are:
1. Unavailability – Usually, businesses don’t hire as many customer support agents as needed to fill the 24/7, and the lack of them is noticeable during weekends and holidays. Also, in fast-growing businesses, customers are complaining that they must wait a lot before getting hold of an agent.
2. High labor costs – To be available 24/7, a business should have many customer support agents, and with high labor costs, this sector could require a lot more money.
3. Burnout – Customer support agents communicate with unhappy customers all the time, which can lead to burnout and quitting. While the person assisting the customer helps by providing personalized advice and guidance, emotions can highly influence the mood of the conversation.
Will AI-powered customer service replace your job?
AI-powered customer service tools like chatbots and virtual assistants are designed to complement and augment human efforts rather than replace them entirely. AI cannot replace complex problem-solving and emotional intelligence.
AI systems rely on human input and supervision to improve their performance, and human agents provide feedback, identify areas for improvement, and help train AI models to become more effective over time.
AI can free up human agents to focus on more complex, high-value tasks and improve customer service teams' overall efficiency and effectiveness. The collaboration between AI and human agents is key to providing the best possible customer experience.