The media may have you believing that AI will soon be replacing entire job categories such as customer service, but the truth is that automation is about unlocking human potential to do tasks differently and to take on higher-value tasks. This has been a major concern for many in the customer service industry, but the answer is a resounding no - at least not for now. Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) are not a substitute for human relationships or emotional communication, which are essential components of customer service. The conversation around AI should not be about how it can replace human interaction, but rather how it can improve it.
Instead of excluding humans from the support process, AI can be used to direct calls to the right person as quickly as possible. Many in the customer service industry are worried that AI will replace them. To answer this question directly, we would say no - at least not in the near future. AI should be seen as an advisor, collecting and classifying information while still allowing the support agent to decide what to communicate to the customer and how to do it.
AI in customer service is the branch of technology that develops systems to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence, such as voice recognition, decision-making and language translation. AI and human agents can work together for much more than just booking flights or providing customer service. When it comes to customer service incidents, companies must still focus on using technology to minimize customer effort. AI can detect if an incoming call, chat or email from one of those customers is likely related to a cancellation and can immediately escalate that interaction to a human agent who could respond immediately by suggesting new travel options.
Customers who ask questions and support teams that answer those questions generate large amounts of data in customer service. After several recent high-profile debacles in the customer service sector in the airline industry, it's clear that how you treat your customers can make or break your company's reputation. There are many more individual technologies that tend to be grouped under the name of AI, but the most prominent face of AI-powered customer service is the chatbot. When customers need creativity and empathy, AI falls short and the talent of human agents is needed to maintain customer satisfaction.
AI can uplift and free customer service professionals to take on new roles that develop their skills, increase their impact and improve their ability to participate in proactive and income-generating activities. But to better understand it, we must also analyze the disadvantages of using AI in customer service. The benefits of AI-powered customer service include automating some simpler tasks, freeing up time for employees and allowing them to serve more customers. The intention of this new technology is for IVAs and customer service agents to combine their efforts to comply with the three pillars of customer service, which ultimately makes customers more satisfied and agents more satisfied with their functions.
The reality is likely to be much less dramatic, but AI can be used in many ways in customer service.