This article is part of a larger series on Customer Service.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in customer service provides businesses with workflow automation and intelligent tools to streamline and expedite customer outreach. AI tools, such as chatbots, data enrichment, predictions, and intelligent routing, enable customer service teams to speed up case resolutions and personalize service supported by data insights. This article explains how AI can effectively improve your customer service operations, along with some examples of its usage.
How AI in Customer Service Works
AI in customer service works by integrating tools in customer service software that mimic human intelligence or behavior, reducing the need for actual human interaction. Ultimately, its goal is to automate customer service processes and produce instant results—versus waiting for longer turnaround times.
AI in customer service also employs machine learning techniques, where AI tools interpret and analyze data to provide teams with actionable insights, accurate predictions, and data-driven recommendations. By combining these, customer service teams can give their customers highly personalized and tailored services and solutions. It also boosts overall agent productivity by accommodating more customers in a shorter time.
Click through the tabs below to see various functions of AI in customer service and how they can help you improve the overall support you provide to your clients:
Chatbots, or “chat robots,” automate and simulate human conversations through an embedded chatbox on a user’s website. Chatbots are programmed to answer frequently asked questions (FAQs) to save customer service representatives from answering simple questions. Chatbots also capture customer queries and email addresses around-the-clock, so an actual agent can reach out to them once available.
Freshdesk Messaging’s chatbot function enables users to program the responses of their chat robots for popular questions. The system has the capacity to capture the frequency of customers’ questions for a specific topic, helping customer service teams figure out questions they can draft auto-responses for. This saves customer service reps from answering simple questions that chatbots can easily manage and resolve.
AI assistants help save customer service agents’ time by enabling them to request any information or provide instructions using voice commands. This lessens the need for them to manually scour the system for information they need or do simple tasks, such as finding a contact, pulling up customer service data, or checking the status of a case.
Zoho CRM’s predictive AI assistant, Zia, offers users conversational AI that helps them perform and complete their tasks faster and more efficiently. Zia is capable of helping customer service reps with tasks like creating new contacts, adding call notes, or finding information about customers.
AI helps customer service teams analyze customer profiles and qualify leads based on their past actions. It uses collected CRM data to provide users with AI-backed insights and recommendations—helping them give a more personalized approach when offering solutions to their clients.
Salesforce’s AI tool, Einstein, provides comprehensive and up-to-date profiles of customers based on information and data saved in the CRM. It analyzes historical data, including past issues and previous purchases, to provide the next best actions or suggested resolutions based on their queries.
AI bots have the ability to understand the flow of chat conversations and suggest common or predetermined responses to agents when chatting with customers. This helps speed up resolutions and standardize customer experience as bots can present responses based on FAQs or an existing knowledge base without requiring agents to dig up the information themselves.
LiveChat’s chatbot function integrates with business websites or social media messengers, such as Facebook, and provides canned or suggested responses for agents. Suggested responses minimize the need for agents to manually type responses or look for answers they may not have readily available responses for.
AI is capable of analyzing customer sentiments based on the reviews or feedback that customers leave after purchasing a product or experiencing after-sales support from a business. Through AI, businesses can gauge the average satisfaction rate of their customers in different areas, such as response times, agent’s level of helpfulness, and overall satisfaction level.
HubSpot Service Hub has a customer feedback tool that can analyze qualitative survey responses and evaluate them for positive or negative intent. It uses NPS (net promoter score) surveys to find out whether a customer’s review was good or bad and segments them based on their sentiment. Customer service managers can view the results through a dashboard that provides a general overview of customer satisfaction.
Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is a customer satisfaction benchmark that determines the likelihood of your customers to recommend your business to a friend.
Discover more ways to improve your small business’ sales operations by combining CRM and AI tools.
Why AI in Customer Service Operations Is Essential
Today’s customers demand fast and efficient customer support, with some expecting real-time responses or immediate resolutions to their queries. This situation creates an overwhelming demand for companies to have enough resources to accommodate all their customers’ concerns. However, there are instances when this is not possible—especially for small businesses with tight budgets and limited human resources.
This is where AI in customer service comes into play. AI-powered tools provide swift, human-like assistance to customers—decreasing the time agents spend interacting with customers, especially for simple queries. It also helps businesses provide smarter, more personalized service to customers by analyzing relevant data in their profile, which agents can use when speaking to them and resolving their concerns.
Below are some statistics on the use of AI in customer service:
Benefits of AI in Customer Service
Using AI in your customer service activities presents tangible benefits. While AI technically removes the human element in customer service, new technologies are constantly being developed to mimic human interactions accurately and offer a more personalized customer service approach.
AI in customer service unloads many of your customer representatives’ tasks, lessens the time needed to resolve cases, and operates around the clock. Below are some clear benefits businesses can experience when using AI in their customer service activities.
Eliminates Human Interaction for Repetitive & Common Issues
AI significantly decreases human interaction, especially for simple and frequently asked questions that bots can answer. This allows agents to focus on more important and complicated queries. For example, simple questions about business opening hours or basic product information can be provided by chatbots, while more complex concerns like requests for product returns or refunds can be handled by agents.
Expedites Response Times & Case Resolutions
AI tools, specifically chatbots, help hasten case resolutions. They dramatically reduce customers’ waiting time for simple and routine queries that can be answered without human assistance. Tools like response suggestions also provide agents with ready-made answers they can easily feed into chat boxes, eliminating the need for agents to find answers on their own.
Apart from expediting responses, chatbots also work 24/7, so customers’ queries are always attended to. If they are unable to answer questions, chatbots have the capacity to request contact information, such as emails and mobile numbers, so agents can reach out to the customer during business hours.
Who Can Benefit Best From Using AI in Customer Service
The main purpose of AI in customer service is to prevent customer service agents from doing manual, repetitive, and routine tasks through automated tools and data analytics. Below are members of your team who can benefit the most from using AI in customer service.
Small Business Owners With Limited Manpower
Users running small businesses without a dedicated customer service team can rely on simple AI tools, such as chatbots, to handle simple queries. Contrary to what business owners might expect, AI tools aren’t necessarily expensive. Some providers, such as Freshdesk Messaging, offer chatbots in their free plan and offer paid plans for as low as $15 per user, per month.
Customer Service Representatives
Agents tasked with taking and managing customer service calls and queries benefit from AI tools, specifically customer profile analysis and suggested responses. These tools help agents pull customer data in real time to provide better solutions based on the customer’s profile and history. Tools like suggested responses also eliminate the need for them to manually find information for not-so-common questions.
Customer Service Managers
Customer service managers can benefit from using AI tools, particularly customer sentiment measuring tools. They get an overview of the individual performance of their customer service representatives and the overall sentiment and satisfaction rate of their customers. These help contribute to improving overall customer service operations.
AI in customer service can help save on costs and alleviate the workload of customer service teams—whether that is reducing the need for them to entertain simple queries or pulling up rich customer profile data in real time. Regardless of whether you are a business owner with a limited workforce or an established business that handles large volumes of customer queries, using AI tools will help you provide more efficient and personalized service to your customers.