There Is No I in Customer Support Team, What About AI?


Although people are pleased to chat with your co-workers and friends using social media, email, text, and messaging, when it is a question of getting in touch with their health care provider, insurance company, or bank, they often have to wait in a long phone queue. While any customer service centers still follow the voice-centric service model, all that may change soon.

Advancements in Artificial Intelligence have been embraced by many technology giants like IBM, Amazon, and Alphabet. All these companies are trying to make the Artificial Intelligence-based technology more easily accessible to the customer support departments in various sectors.

Tealium has sponsored a Gartner report titled “100 data and analytics predictions for 2021”. The report predict that by the year 2019, over 10 percent of the IT recruits in the customer service department will mainly write scripts pertaining to bot interactions. The same report also added that by the year 2020, Artificial Intelligence is likely to disrupt jobs of about 1,000,000 customer support agents who are interacting with the customers by phones.

Dealing with the situation

Any company that has a huge customer base may benefit immediately by deploying AI customer support so that their customer service departments can handle a huge volume of daily enquiries. In fact, the technology can also help with coping with seasonal spikes like providing support to the customer service team of an insurance company after a terrible weather event. At the same time, though disruption is evitable, it is also imperative to realize that Artificial Intelligence will complement and supplement the roles of customer support agents instead of entirely replacing them.

Craig Le Clair, Forrester analyst in a recent report titled “AI Is Ready For Employees, Not Just Customers” has recommended the use of Artificial Intelligence for automating repetitive and routines tasks. However, the report has also argued that some services cannot do without human skills, like the capability to understand the emotional state of the customers and then respond accordingly. Some experts also feel that while machines can carry out background tasks like search and navigation, they are not equally good with human tasks like conversations. It is precisely the reason why AI should be channelized towards internal employee support instead of customer-facing bots.

Artificial Intelligence can add a human touch

An increasing number of customers crave for personalized service while having less patience to repeat the same information when they interact with their providers. Due to this, an Artificial Intelligence system, which can extract data from earlier interactions, will be preferred that can respond accordingly and help businesses to retain their loyal customers.

If looked in this context, Artificial Intelligence can also become a part of a team effort for customer loyalty. Customer service agents can highly benefit as they can handle many queries at the same time and routine query automation can give them free time to concentrate on critical, high value, and unusual queries that need human expertise, empathy, and creativity.

AI customer support can help in escape from routine tasks

There are many good examples where AI is being utilized in such a way in customer support departments for public sector and charity and insurance sector where customer support specialists can be equipped by AI to handle a huge volume of incoming calls in a more productive way.

According to a customer support executive, though he was initially skeptical, the Artificial Intelligence system managed to bowl him over. The system enabled him to deal with multiple enquiries at the same time. Many industry specialists feel that the Artificial Intelligence system is experiencing continuous improvements with the interaction of a growing number of people and responses being further refined.

Artificial Intelligence enable the customer service departments to automate the basic and standard responses while freeing up the time of the staffs so that their main focus is on those areas where they should spend more time guiding their customers.

 AI offers much more than simply chats

As there have been open-source codes used in fields like technology for natural language processing and machine learning, Artificial Intelligence progressed to a point where chat bots can be easily deployed within a few days and enhanced over a period of time.

Many call center expert feel that the prevailing enterprise AI strategies should quickly evolve going beyond inclusion of chatbots dealing with inbound enquiries, to harness Artificial Intelligence by using service bots, which can handle certain tasks to assist the customer support teams across a wide range of proactive outbound and inbound processes. Some examples include completing claim forms, for on-boarding new customers, reducing churn, handling renewals, and managing complaints.

Some experts also predict that customer support department are currently recruiting manpower to prepare scripts for their bots It is hardly possible to foresee various scenarios. So, the requirement for skilled professionals in customer service departments will be always there. In order to preserve the brand and avoid disillusioning the customers, it is imperative to make sure that these bots are capable of escalating queries to human agents when the AI cannot provide a satisfactory response to customers’ queries. Thereafter, the subsequent response may be utilized to improve and personalize the AI system further for future customers.

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