AI in Customer Service
AI is advancing at an unprecedented rate and is now beginning to change many industries in a quickly evolving tech world. Customer service is one area where AI is looking to make major advances. With the introduction of chatbots, virtual assistants and cloud contact centre software, some businesses are now looking to automate services and improve areas of their customer interactions.
AI Utilisation in Customer Service
The implementation of AI in customer service has allowed some businesses to being the automation of some of their business processes. The most prevalent use of AI in customer service currently comes in the form of chatbots, becoming available on multiple platforms such as websites, apps, and messaging services like WhatsApp Business to allow customer 24/7 access to customer support functions with automated assistance to basic queries and issues. 41% of businesses confirmed in a HubSpot survey in 2023 that they use an AI chatbot feature in their business processes.
Virtual Assistants have become a staple of day-to-day life with Siri, Alexa and many more varieties of virtual assistants used commonly by consumers for their needs. These consumer-orientated, data-driven, predictive AI chatbots can offer solutions and recommendations thanks to their use of Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning allowing them to analyse customer preferences and respond accurately to queries.
In HubSpot’s survey around the use of AI in customer service, 62% of respondents agreed that AI and automation tools has helped them to understand their customers better, but this does not indicate that it has made the customer journey easier.
The Human Factor
A common concern amongst users and observers of AI is that the technology will one day replace them and reduce jobs in the customer service industry. While AI can increase performance in certain areas like automated response methods via online chatbots, there is one vital component it will not be able to replace and that is the human aspect of a customer interaction.
The ability to show true empathy and understanding is what makes human interaction remain the most vital part of the customer service journey and the most significant challenge that AI faces in this area is being able to replicate that. 45% of businesses in the HubSpot survey agreed that maintaining a personal experience will be the most difficult challenge AI will face in its integration into customer service.
Taking the human factor into account, where will AI’s journey into our industry go? By 2024, a majority of people surveyed believe that most customer service professionals will utilise AI or automation tools in their roles to assist with queries or issues and increase the efficiency of simplistic tasks with 49% of them also agreeing that AI will be able to do most service-related tasks completely independently.
Will Convenience Become Reliance?
It is undisputed that AI will eventually progress to the stage that it will make most simple tasks completely automated for businesses, allowing customer service representatives to save time and apply their additional resources to other business functions for example, reports suggest that AI chatbots will save customer service agents 2 hours and 11 minutes per day using generative AI to write responses to customer service queries.
While this can be viewed as a massive positive in this respect, it is crucial that businesses remind themselves of what currently makes their service so successful, their people. Reliance on AI could potentially lead to difficulties with customers who prefer to have a human interaction over an automated one. The important thing to consider is; what does the ideal blend of human and bot collaboration look like? Businesses should be wary of developing a reliance on AI and its tools when people have been so integral to customer service over the course of history.
Are you ready for the human-bot collaboration and what does that collaboration look like to you?