AI: here to improve customer service, honest…

CUSTOMER service has evolved to allow automated systems to assist with traditional human interactions — and AI may hold the key to best-in-class service.

AI has allowed customer services departments to operate in a more streamlined and efficient way. Using an automated online chat facility, rather than one staffed by an employee, helps remove incoming volume to the contact centre.

The customer will see a benefit in shorter waiting times, says Blair Strachan of outsourcing firm Kura. The use of a chatbot or self-serve option limits incoming calls and saves time, he believes.  “You want AI to deal with the easy tasks so the skilled adviser can handle the issues that require more time to resolve.”

A project looking at 200,000 data points was used to come up with an AI solution that reduced average handling time by 3.5 percent — and email handling time by 30 percent.

An automated system means better all-round customer service, says Kura, and many issues can be resolved without human interaction. Even if they can’t, the initial contact will cut the time the employee needs to spend on the issue.

Three-quarters of customers would like the ability to solve problems themselves. AI can allow this to happen. Suggestions and recommendations, based on search and purchasing history, can be sent to the customer. Developing an understanding of a customer profile makes for a personal user experience.

AI realises when a human operator needs to step in to avoid frustration. Allowing an employee to take over will bring greater efficiently.

AI can complete tasks from replying to a message through to providing a refund. Interacting with customers is a huge part of customer services, but AI can work with service agents to recall customer data. This feature is particularly effective when AI is paired with a CRM.

Whether through chatbots, augmented chat or around-the-clock service, AI tech is here to help…