8 Ways to Use AI in Customer Support for your Business
Bill Gates once famously said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest sources of learning.” Well, in this day and age when technology rules, less-than-satisfied customers can also be a strong impetus for innovation.
When it comes to innovating and making groundbreaking changes across most industries, artificial intelligence (AI) has been leading the pack over the past decade. Machine learning algorithms are being widely used in manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, agriculture, and yes, AI is even highly-leveraged in emergencies and rescue missions.
All that said, customer support for enterprises should be a cinch for artificial intelligence and its subfields, right? No lie there. Already, the Conversational AI Market is anticipated to surge to $40.5 billion by 2032; a 17% increase from the $8.33 billion volume in 2022. This isn’t all that surprising considering how chatbots, virtual agents, and other AI business support applications in general, have totally changed the game in enhancing the customer experience.
Here are 8 ways your business can leverage AI in customer service:
Increase customer support availability
Clients rarely want to wait for when their queries will be answered or their concerns addressed. While sometimes they would have no choice but to wait, they’re not exactly happy about it. With the aid of AI technologies, it's now possible to provide IT support for clients 24/7 and all year-round. Not only that, utilising AI applications to answer common queries on products and services enables organisations to speed up response times.
Granted, some tickets need to be escalated to customer service employees who may not be as readily available round-the-clock. But having an always-on customer support platform that can field concerns initially, and perhaps even have these resolved at that point, should go a long way to winning points with your customers.
Resolve issues with the right responses
AI-based customer support often involves the use of Natural Language Understanding (NLU), a subfield of Natural Language Processing (NLP) that allows the machine to understand the words and sentences of customer queries. Analysing customer service calls, text messages, chats, and email, will give the application some context into what the customer needs and wants.
Given this level of understanding, an AI chatbot can then address the support item properly by routing it to the right unit (e.g. billing department, sales, etc.), or handing it over to a human agent or supervisor. Based on the client’s language, AI support can also infer the level of anxiety or frustration that he or she has upon coming in, and would therefore be able to prioritise and escalate the matter accordingly.
Enhance human interactions
While AI business support apps play a big role in speeding up and simplifying the customer support process, they are not meant to completely replace human assistance. An efficient AI support platform however, would be able to get the basic details of the concern right away, identify the specific need or complaint, and then forward this to an employee for further handling.
The whole process, if executed seamlessly, would enhance human interaction because it allows the concern to be resolved by the right people at the soonest time and without needless repetition of the issue.
Assist customers on decision making
A customer’s purchase journey is nothing complicated. Just give them personalised touchpoints that indicate you’re interested in providing them with what they need. This is a function that traditionally fell on sales assistants, but are now provided by AI bots.
AI-powered assistants can help close a sale by offering clear details on a product or service, and answering queries immediately. They can even offer an end-to-end ecommerce experience, from product recommendations to purchase and payment.
Train employees to better handle situations
Artificial intelligence in IT support doesn’t just help clients directly; they also play a role in training employees on customer interactions. Account officers and customer service personnel need to be ready to deal with different situations when handling queries and complaints.
AI platforms can help with employee training by simulating hundreds of different scenarios that could arise in customer service. Employees are then coached on how they can effectively communicate with customers, and resolve tricky situations as calmly as possible.
Measure customer sentiment
AI support applications are also designed for sentiment analysis—identifying customers’ emotions that they’ve expressed in words. This can be done by asking the client to submit in-app feedback at the end of every interaction.
Sentiment analysis can also be performed using AI-based algorithms that analyse social media comments, text messages, emails, voice calls, and other sources to determine positive (e.g. satisfaction or surprise), or negative (e.g. frustration, anxiety) emotions from the customer.
Collect relevant insights from customer data
AI customer support and analytics allow you to gather relevant information on customers—their interests, spending habits, product preferences, and others. Without AI solutions, the process for collecting and curating such information would have been tedious and time-consuming, and the results potentially inaccurate.
Machine learning and deep learning technologies today however, have made it possible for enterprises to gather and store large volumes of data, which can be processed and analysed for developing more customised products and services down the line.
Reduce costs and maximise resources
More than just offering customer satisfaction, AI in customer support benefits your organisation in a way that actually shows in your bottom line—by reducing costs. IBM research reports that over $1 trillion is spent on 265 billion customer service calls each year across all industries. What’s worse is that 50% of the calls remain unresolved.
Using chatbots is easily a more practical and cost-effective channel for customer support services. Messages are responded to quickly, routine queries answered immediately, and priority tickets elevated to human assistants. This reduces the need for more employees, and enables the customer service team to do more productive work.
Thanks to artificial intelligence technologies, customer satisfaction need not be costly or human resource-intensive. Ask your IT managed services provider today to know more about AI solutions for your business and customer support needs.