If you work in customer support, this article is an absolute must-read, outlining how AI will affect your future. Artificial Intelligence is not pipe dream technology that will change the industry sometime in the future. AI is being integrated into customer service today.
The customer support world is not being replaced with robots, however, intelligent teams are leveraging AI to improve satisfaction levels and response times. Artificial Intelligence is an incredible tool for handling simple customer requests and filtering support tickets without employee inputs.
This article will touch on the current AI tools and trends you need to be implementing today. You will learn:
- How AI can help support agents respond faster and more efficiently to emails & chat messages
- How Artificial Intelligence allows customer support teams to make smarter decisions with better information
- Where AI might replace human agents (and what those agents will do)
But First, Why Your Business Needs to Integrate AI
Most customer service teams shy away from AI because they fear it will eventually become their replacement. This hesitation is one of the worst mindsets an innovative business can adopt.
The advancement of technology often creates more opportunity for individuals, not less. Tech allows us to work on higher level projects by making simple tasks easier to complete.
Compare a typewriter to a laptop. The latter is much more efficient and can intuitively complete tasks for you. This advancement in technology didn’t reduce the number of writers. Tech made writing more accessible to individuals all over the world, creating new careers out of thin air, like blogging. Laptops also reduced errors, increased output and allowed writers to implement other creative elements into their work, like annotated images and GIFs.
Economic Impact of AI-Powered CRMs
AI allows humans to spend their time doing what they do best. If employees can tap into higher efficiencies with the help of AI-powered CRM systems such as ZOHO, global revenues could increase by $1.1 trillion in the next three years, while creating 800,000 new jobs along the way.
Still not convinced that your customer support department needs to explore chatbots and machine learning tools? 35 of the top AI executives in the world stated that AI-powered conversational interfaces would be the most important consumer-facing innovation in the next 5 years.
Ready to learn how AI can help your business? Let’s begin responding to customers faster with the power of artificial intelligence. Here is how to leverage artificial intelligence in 3 steps:
3 Ways to Leverage AI for your Business
1. Use AI-Powered Customer Service to Respond Faster
As the speed of technology increases, customer patience decreases. When an issue or question arises, the company that can provide a valuable solution in the shortest amount of time often wins the business.
As a customer support agent, it’s your mission to help as many customers as possible while also exceeding their expectations with high-quality answers.
The roadblock that most companies run into is the negative correlation between time spent to answer a concern and the perceived value of that response. If an agent is only devoting a few seconds to each of her Zendesk tickets, it’s likely that the solutions she provides are not extremely thought-out or valuable.
On the other hand, if an agent spends an exorbitant amount of time creating an amazing solution, there is a long line of other customers who did not receive a timely response.
How Customer Support Agents Can Respond Faster
There are two ways to leverage the power of technology to improve the speed of your customer service:
1. Use tools such as CloudApp to harness the power of visual communication
2. Integrate AI into the day-to-day processes
Visual Communication Tools
The first method is a solution that you can implement today with no additional costs. CloudApp uses the power of screenshots, screen recordings, and custom GIFs to communicate with clients. Humans interpret images such as GIFs up to 60,000X faster than text alone. Enterprise CloudApp users have witnessed a 300% reduction in their customer communication time when working through complex issues. Tech-powered tools like CloudApp allow you to bring more value while helping a greater pool of customers.
CloudApp integrates the power of screenshots and other forms of media with machine learning. With CloudApps' Smart Search function, users can search for anything that is captured within a screenshot. For example, you could search using the word “dog” and all related images would instantly be pulled up.
Interested in implementing CloudApp? It’s free. Check it out HERE.
The second option is to utilize artificial intelligence. Chatbots have been around for a while but most customers disliked interacting with them. Who can blame them? A few years ago, all a chatbot could do was provide general answers which often didn’t solve the issue at hand.
While we are still a few years away from fully-automated responses that deliver incredible value, some software companies are mixing the power of artificial intelligence with the ingenuity of human employees. These solutions are often referred to as “AI-augmented messaging”.
To start a conversation or provide a simple answer, the AI portion of the chat can jump in and instantly respond. When a more complicated response is required, the agent can then step in to provide value. This way, the customer support employee can manage several conversations at the same time, solving a greater number of issues.
Some mixed-augmented solutions, such as LivePerson, have already been increasing the efficiency of customer service departments by 35%. This same technology can be applied to emails or any other form of digital communication. If you work in customer support, you need to investigate how mixed AI-solutions can help you better serve your clients.
2. Make Smarter Support Decisions with Artificial Intelligence
The data your company collects on your customers is one of your most valuable resources. AI-fueled technologies can leverage these pieces of data in order to provide superior answers.
There are already programs that exist which can scan customer inquiries and create simple email responses when required. DigitalGenius is a company that has the ability to scan incoming emails and direct those emails to the employee best suited to solve the issue. Instead of having someone open, read and analyze thousands of emails, AI technology can automate the entire process for you.
Programs like these can even fully resolve tickets on their own. And with the power of machine learning, the efficiency of such technologies is only going to increase. Simple, repetitive responses cost customer service departments millions of dollars. If they can be automated, agents can then tackle complex issues, such as creating a custom tutorial video for a client.
3. Streamline Mundane Tasks with AI
One of the inevitabilities of AI-driven customer service is that eventually, select programs will replace human jobs. The sooner you realize this as a business, the more equipped you will be moving forward.
This idea scares a lot of employees in the industry but remember, this opens the door for higher level, human jobs. Not so sure? Just remember that someone once had to physically plough entire fields in order to grow vegetables. Now, a tractor accomplishes the feat in minutes.
AI technology is not yet advanced enough to hold lengthy conversations or solve complex issues but it can be used for simple functions. Dominos Pizza is using AI to streamline the ordering process while Sephora uses a chatbot to help users shop online.
AI programs can operate 24 hours, 7 days a week. They don’t take breaks, they don’t get sick and they don’t take vacations. As an employee, you want your business to adopt AI because if they don’t, your competitors certainly will.
When it comes to basic, routine customer service requirements, AI-back bots and responses are much more efficient. Think bank tellers, telemarketers, receptionists and agents who deal with basic transactions such as returns.
What Will Replaced Employees Do After?
People won't have a choice but to find ways to create more value for the world. Employees will tackle more challenging issues and solve larger problems.
The good news is, the complex work is generally much more fulfilling and appreciated by the end-user. There are millions of customer service agents answering simple emails and phone calls right now that have much more to offer to the world.
When these employees are forced into higher roles, the customers receive more value and the business is able to expand. Everytime technology advances, humans find a way to elevate and breakthrough new barriers.
What might this look like put into practice? An employee who currently types out simple email responses might be the one who creates screen recording software solutions, recording, editing and sending with a few clicks of their mouse. Or, an onboarding support member might solve on-site complications for clients using VR, while a chatbot fields the general inquiries.
The future of AI isn’t terrifying for customer support workers- it’s actually primed to be very exciting.
Discover how Buffer, G2 Crowd, Gainsight, Drift, and Intercom use visual communication tools to make their customer support teams more efficient, Learn about CloudApp for Customer Support.