There’s a lot of talk about the growing role of artificial intelligence and automation in business. Tasks and objectives which could previously only be achieved with the skills and labor of people are increasingly being assigned to AI and computer-assisted machines. Those individuals whose livelihoods have been eliminated either adapt and retrain or remove themselves from the workforce.
Despite what seems like an epidemic of underemployment and unemployment thanks to the introduction of tech, the truth is that numerous aspects of business and industry continue to rely on humans for success. Paid employees are needed for accomplishing these goals. One of these business elements is customer service. Great customer service requires a real person to be available for customer assistance at some point.
However, as any one who has dealt with customer service in the last 30 years can attest, getting to that person has been an agonizing and sometimes infuriating experience. One of the common tropes seen in countless cartoons and comedies is a character having to use a ridiculously convoluted automated customer service system. “For instructions on how to fill out rebate form B-34321986 in Esperanto, please press 8 now.”
We’ve all been there.
AI-augmented customer service has advance significantly
With this in mind, you might think customer service was made worse with the implementation of AI and automation. You’d be right – until now.
AI-augmented customer service has taken a giant leap forward in the last decade or so. While not every business has been quick to embrace and incorporate modern automated customer service systems, many have. These companies have quickly discovered the incredible advantages of making the switch.
As alluded to earlier, call center support has been the centerpoint of most criticism regarding automated customer service. While the classic “For X, press Y” is still being used by many businesses, others have switched over to an AI-augmented inbound call center system with great results.
Rather than make customers endure a step-by-step process where the wrong number dialed or an inaudible word spoken sends them back to the start, these systems utilize customer data and computer learning to manage a wide range of potential communications hurdles before connecting an individual with an actual representative.
More productive customer support
What’s more, the impact of AI-augmented call center support doesn’t stop once an individual is connected with an agent. These systems empower agents with the resources and information they need to provide the best service possible. This flow of assistance is in real-time and helps avoid the accumulation of hundreds of hours of unproductive customer support. In other words, agents are able to hit the ground running to serve callers faster and subsequently process more calls in a shorter amount of time.
But how does it work? While every business communications platform has their own highly developed methods that are patented and/or proprietary, the fundamentals are similar. Generally speaking, these platforms provide clients with a digital dashboard that helps them monitor wait times and sends alerts whenever certain thresholds are reached.
Managers are able to listen in and potentially take over calls in the event an agent is having difficulty with serving the needs of the customer. What’s more, agents are given coaching tips and recommendations on display in real-time to more swiftly serve the caller.
Top business communications platforms also include native integrations. This enables businesses to sync their call center system with G Suite, Salesforce, Zendesk, and similar cloud-based services. The native integration feature gives companies the ability to transfer existing customer data and insights directly to their call center agents. Finally, these platforms allow businesses to capture content from calls to save for future use in training and other relevant aspects of their customer service operations.
While advanced call center systems are the headline feature of advanced AI-augmented customer service, they aren’t the only product made available through this new development. More and more people are accessing customer service via the technology commonly referred to as “Chatbots.” Chances are you’re contacted by one of these chatbots whenever you visit a business website. This is made possible by AI-generated communication for the first few exchanges, after which the conversation is handed off to an agent.
By the time the agent is helping the customer, a series of important factors for providing helpful assistance have already been produced thanks to the information acquired during the first back-and-forths between the user and the Chatbot.
All this adds up to the concept of traditional human resources being assisted by artificial intelligence and automation. Rather than machines replacing people, both work in tandem. What’s more, this refined form of automated customer service is less likely to test the patience of those putting it to use.
Add in the array of information and resources made available thanks to the integration of existing customer data, it’s easy to see how the modern era of customer service achieves a markedly better level of satisfaction while also remaining cost-effective for the companies who make it a key part of their operation.
Artificial intelligence or AI includes software technologies that make devices such as robots and computers think and behave like humans.