AI enabled customer service – Changing rules of engagement!
Of all facets of business environment, one area which companies always strive to continually improve upon and earn loyalty of prospective clients is customer service. A good customer service, aimed at satisfying diverse queries, goes a long way in earning trust. And by word of mouth, the customer ends up being the ambassador of your brand! According to a study, 42% of B2C customers were inclined to purchase more, after a satisfying customer service response. AI has taken the customer service experience to altogether new level. It serves double purpose, firstly of enabling cost reduction, and second of enhancing the whole interactive experience. Conventional customer service is witnessing a sea of change after introduction of AI powered digital solutions. Be it as mundane as ordering your favourite pizza, booking a ticket or seeking an appointment of your doctor, AI has successfully replaced humans, and shows tremendous possibilities. Industry pundits have it that, by the advent of 2020, a chunk of tasks, nearly 80%, currently handled by humans, or made possible through human interaction will be taken over by intelligent AI powered chatbots. This in turn will increase global business revenues by $1.1 trillion in 2021. A survey done by TCS shows that an overwhelming 31.7% of all major companies, have placed AI in customer service. The figures speak for themselves and it goes without saying the AI is here for the long haul.
Promising gains of AI in customer service
Customer interactions range from formal information sought, repetitive queries, those requiring short to long waiting periods, to some eliciting a set of information before handing out specific service. Not all these steps call for great human intelligence and falls in the category of monotonous routine work. It is here that a bulk of such jobs can be loaned to AIs or AI enabled system and release human intelligence for more critical thinking. Not to mention, the massive cost incurred on hiring, training and optimizing resources for customer service. By setting a perfect balance of overlapping man and machine intervention, a truly satisfying customer relation can be thus obtained. This also streamlines different processes as per our suitability.
From a very practical viewpoint, sometimes the whole customer service experience is frustrating for the end user. And sometimes human error, in the repeated chain of soliciting information, turns it awful! Specilaized bots, work flawlessly and cut out time for companies and deliver decently. In tandem, the results are great. AIs ability of multitasking renders a smooth error-free operation.
Scanning scores of e-mails is exhaustive to even the most assiduous human mind. AI not only accelerates the process but also, offers a host of enviable advantages. It can alert, direct emails to the desired person or department, tag them, and collate relevant data. This reduces the response time in task handling.
Though, voice based interaction has its own challenges as the interaction builds progressively on real time exchanges of voice samples, tone and pitch, segregation of background noise, companies are leveraging on behavioral science and deep learning to replicate voice based human interaction. And it has been hugely successful in bringing productive gains for businesses.
AI incorporated systems ability to keep up, 24*7 providing round the clock service, is a big plus and becomes all the more relevant, when a given business spans multiple time zones. It helps towards staff reduction by one time investment in infrastructure.
Personalization is what lies at the core of customer service, with businesses able to serve the customized requirements, exactly tailor made for them as they would want it. It becomes cumbersome exercise for human resource to glean through a mammoth size data, obtain linkages, and craft a personalized experience. AI is equipped and advantageously placed to carry out such complex tasks with ease, and with a touch of finesse.
Businesses currently employing AI
More and more companies are going for AI in customer service, with increasing base and profitability in mind. Facebook, the social media behemoth’s messenger is powered by a veritable army of more than 34000 chatbots.
Companies like Subway, Starbucks, Dominos, to name a few are customizing with AI, to let people navigate through a host of options, limiting human interference.
Banks are using AI as customer interfaces, to deliver routine services like balance check, bill payments, complaints, status checks. Recently Bank Of America introduced it’s much vaunted AI powered virtual assistant, Erica, for 25 million mobile customers.
IBM’s brainchild Watson is taking on a host of responsibilities. Basically a question answer computer system, it has capability to respond to questions asked in natural language. Royal Bank of Scotland is leveraging the unique services of Watson to reply 5000 queries per day!
Beside the ones mentioned above, AI is making deep inroads into customer service operations related to hospitality industry, aviation, health and well being.
It’s not inconceivable and definitely not an exaggeration to call AI as the new talisman in the realm of customer service engagement.