Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for a while in the realm of SciFi. However, we are seeing it more and more in the world of business. Shown as a negative in the Terminator franchise, it does also have some very positive connotations.
As we keep adding more and more features to AI technology, its benefits become more visible and spreadable. Customer service is one of the areas that can rely heavily on AI if set up correctly. As customer service feeds into the entire organization, the benefits of AI can quickly be realized by the entire organization.
With businesses moving online to an ever greater degree, customer service plays an even larger role. Currently, due to the impact of COVID-19 around the world, companies are looking for tools that can help them. This could be due to being forced to furlough employees, but also an even greater demand for online infrastructure. Systems and companies that previously required manual intervention, need AI to move forward.
The following benefits are some of the most important for AI in customer service. However, limiting them to just a few of them would not reflect the huge effect that AI is having in this area. In addition, every day, we can see how new ways to use it emerge.
1. Handling Large Volumes of Data
As the interaction with customers grows, so does the generation of data about them. But obtaining such huge amounts of data would be useless without AI. Humans can’t process endless amounts of data. Due to that, AI is an invaluable tool.
By processing data with AI, it is possible to obtain powerful insights and predictions about customers’ behaviors. This allows creating targeted marketing campaigns and solving the most complicated issues about their inquiries and complaints. It is important to have a powerful and robust CRM in your corner for the data that you are gathering as Excel sheets will simply not cut it.
2. Reduce Average Handling Time (AHT)
This is one of the most remarkable benefits of AI in customer service. Such importance comes from the customers themselves who used to complain about the time they had to wait to obtain service and support.
Nowadays, chatbots answer basic inquiries and requests immediately. Customers also get reminders and notifications in advance. They can receive their products in 24 hours or less and can track them easily through delivery systems and programs. Some services and intangibles products are delivered online, and clients can enjoy them almost immediately too.
3. Customize Products Offerings to Drive Up Sales
Customization is the new frontier of customer service. As customers already know they can get it, they demand it more and more.
What looks even more promising is the fact that customization can reach many levels of service. For instance, it may start with personalized emails that consider preferences, tastes, geo-localization, previous purchases, and more. Then, chatbots and customer support agents can use it to improve the interaction with them.
4. Effective Omnichannel Presence
The presence of multiple channels that allow interacting with customers in many ways brought many positive changes. Firstly, customers seem to be always reachable in one way or another. Secondly, most of those channels are friendly networks that encourage customers to keep in touch with many sources.
But multiple channels also brought new challenges as they represent a lot of data and channels to cover. In this sense, AI became the ideal way to handle them all. Firstly, AI can rapidly collect and process data from multiple sources.
Secondly, AI allows centralizing files about each client and their interactions through different channels. With this information, it is possible to provide superb customer service that takes into consideration all the communications from the customer.
By having a single CRM at the backend that can gather all of the information needed, all of your agents will have access. In addition to this, CRMs like Hubspot provide powerful reporting and dashboards. This lets you better manage your customers and their expectations regardless of the channel.
5. Positive and Seamless Experience with a Company
As companies implement AI tools through their operations, customers have the opportunity to improve their interaction. This is to say that when every touchpoint includes an AI, the entire process becomes easier to handle.
For instance, one customer can receive personalized emails with recommendations that target his unique preferences. Then, the customer tracks its reception by using AI platforms that allow him to verify when he will receive the products.
After that, the customer can provide feedback and reach customer support through chatbots. In the end, the customer obtains all the services he needed to buy, receive, and use the products in a very positive and seamless way.
Leading companies like Amazon cover the entire process in this way. And every day, more and more businesses implement more steps to cover the same processes.
6. Optimize Resources
When businesses use AI in customer service areas, their resources automatically reach an optimal balance. Such optimization comes in many ways. For instance, if a company installs chatbots, a customer support agent can be more efficient in handling complicated inquiries, requests, and complaints.
Another example comes from the data that some retailers collect to fulfill their stores. They can select what they predict and base their decisions on the data they collect from customers.
In the customer service sector, there has long been a fear of AI and ML removing jobs. While this is true to some extent, it must be realized that in reality, it’s not about job removal but rather job creation. AI at the current time is not intelligent enough to be left fully unbridled. It will require human intervention. What is much more likely to happen is that AI will replace simple, menial tasks and jobs, letting human operators focus on more complex tasks.
7. 24/7 Availability
Offering 24/7 availability is particularly important for global companies as they have customers from all over the world in different time zones. Moreover, customers have new patterns of behavior because they use different schedules to sleep and work. Consequently, they need different ways to communicate and interact with customer service areas.
AI is the solution because this technology can be connected and interacting 24/7 during the entire year. By allowing AI to respond first either through chatbots or self-directed knowledgebase queries, customers continue to receive service, while staff are offline.
AI is coming. It’s somewhat inevitable. While the impact will be felt in many industries and businesses, from a customer perspective it is almost entirely positive. This technology is included in almost anything we handle now. And customer service is one of the most benefitted. After all, the goal of its development and evolution was to improve people’s life.
If we had to choose the most remarkable benefit we would definitively go for the collection and handle of data. This is definitively making a substantial change in the way we do business. Every other AI development relies in one way or another on the use of the data.
The benefits that we mention here are among the most visible. Certainly, they also affect many other areas too because success in customer service implies benefits for the entire business.