Artificial intelligence (AI), a powerful tool for daily improvement, offers many possibilities. Computers are increasingly capable of performing tasks, such as automated stock trading and speech recognition.
AI tools such as chatbots can be a great help to businesses in streamlining customer service. There are drawbacks to these solutions — no solution is perfect. With the right planning and knowledge, you can implement a customer service AI solution that will help your bottom line while keeping your customers satisfied. We’ll examine the AI customer-service landscape and provide tips on how to implement AI customer-service solutions successfully.
AI Customer Service is coming soon
AI’s office automation can save small businesses a lot of time and money. Many organizations already use AI to improve efficiency and accuracy in customer service. The public is still divided on the use of these automated tools.
AI in Customer Service: Common AI applications today
You’ve probably interacted with AI if you’ve used a chat feature to track a purchase or reset your subscription password. In a 2023 Ipsos study, 68 percent had interacted with a chatbot. These automated customer service agents can be used to answer common questions from customers. Jonathan Shroyer explains how chatbots save time for both business owners and their customers.
Shroyer said that many customer requests are simple questions regarding a particular product or service. These can include questions about hours of operation, pricing, location, order status, and more. AI chatbots, for example, can handle these questions by giving quick and accurate answers. This reduces the wait time for customers.
Shroyer said that AI tools for customer service can be especially useful for simple tasks such as appointment scheduling and resetting passwords. Organizations could also use AI as an entryway for tech support. Automated agents are trained to provide simple answers to troubleshooting queries before identifying problems that need human evaluation.
AI is also used by businesses to understand their customers’ needs better and learn more about them. A 2023 Smart Communications Study on Financial Institutions and AI found that 77 percent of respondents viewed AI as an important investment for better understanding the conversational intent of a customer and improving outcomes. If AI systems are able to understand the meaning of a request and determine which questions should be addressed by a human, it will make it easier for them to decide what questions they need to ask a representative. You can also detect positive or negative words so that you are aware of when a de-escalation is necessary.
AI has transformed the business in many ways. AI is also a great tool for CRM, cybersecurity, and data research.
Customer perception and AI
These interactions are not always positive, even though many people have interacted directly with AI customer service tools. Ipsos’ survey revealed that 88 percent of respondents prefer to receive help from a real person over a chatbot. The customer’s opinion may depend on the task that they are trying to complete. Shroyer explained the many nuances that go into common AI customer attitudes.
Shroyer explained that “on the plus side, customers are happy with the convenience and speed of AI solutions.” They can receive instant answers at any time, which can enhance the customer experience and increase overall satisfaction. Some customers may find AI frustrating or impersonal, especially if AI doesn’t understand their question or if it is a complex problem that needs human intervention. Privacy issues are another factor. Some customers may be uncomfortable with AI because of data security concerns.”
AI solutions for customer service have great potential. If you want to avoid negative reviews from your new AI tool, you must keep these concerns in mind.
AI is still in its infancy. Ipsos’ respondents only felt that AI chatbots had answered their questions effectively.
Why should you use AI for customer service?
AI integration into customer service has both advantages and disadvantages. How can you tell if AI will work for your company and its customer service requirements? You’ll see below some examples of situations where an AI solution can be a good idea and others when a human customer representative is needed.
The benefits of AI-based customer service solutions
Here are some of the benefits that you can get from integrating AI into your customer service strategy.
AI boosts productivity: AI has the potential to increase productivity in all industries. If your customer service team is handling a large number of requests, AI will streamline even the most complex inquiries. You can empower your customer support team by empowering them to resolve the most complex issues.
AI frees up time. If you are starting up a new business and don’t have the resources to hire a staff for customer service, AI tools will free up your valuable time. Instead of spending hours on tedious tasks such as login troubleshooting, you can spend your time improving your business and gaining new customers.
AI allows you to provide 24/7 customer service: Tools such as chatbots will enable you to provide around-the-clock support. Customers won’t need to wait until the next day to solve an issue with their account if they encounter it at midnight.
AI can be a great tool for your company if you are expanding internationally. Your business will be more accessible if you offer customer service in different languages.
Cons of AI Customer Service Solutions
AI is still in its infancy. As with any new technology, there are still many improvements to be made.
AI Tools can seem impersonal: Customers often complain that AI tools make them feel like they are talking to a machine. No one likes this, for obvious reasons.
It takes time to train AI models properly: It takes time for AI models to be trained on customer behavior. Some companies do not have the resources or time to prepare their AI chatbots properly.
AI is not cheap to implement. You should know what problems you are trying to solve and whether your return on investment is worth the initial costs.
What businesses are most likely to benefit from AI-based customer service solutions?
AI tools don’t work better in any particular industry. When deciding whether to use an AI-based product in your business, it’s more important to evaluate the requests that you receive from customers. Joe Wheeler, chief experience officer and author at CX/Digital, emphasized that AI is easier to implement when the customer’s requests are simple. The complexity of customer service questions is often determined by the products and services you offer.
Wheeler explained that companies who serve a specific set of customers and offer specific products [and] services have a limited range of options. IKEA, which has a lot of products to provide, limits the colors and materials in a line of products. This reduces the complexity involved in ordering, assembling, and maintaining the product. Customers will have fewer issues when you simplify your product offering. This allows for more automation in the service experience.
If you’re deciding if AI chatbots are right for your business, look at your most common questions from customers and your answers. Are they complex or simple? AI chatbots may be worth it if you spend half of your day answering the same simple questions.