The idea of using artificial intelligence in customer service is nothing new. Up until recently, though, it either felt too far-fetched (like something Hollywood cooked up) or actual implementations — like interactive voice response systems — were more faulty than helpful. Customers hate using these systems and agents hate the fact that they are on the receiving end of frustrated customers who this technology has failed.
But that is all changing. Today’s AI is more intelligent, contextual and can understand a customer’s intent to help them get to where they need to be. Tools like chatbots and virtual assistants have quickly grown to become an integral part of many CX strategies across a variety of industries — from retail to travel to financial services. And while there are still questions and reservations about the actual ROI of AI in customer service, more and more real-world use cases are revealing the true benefits of using AI in this capacity. So the question remains: Will AI be a friend to the customer experience or more of a foe?
My bet? It will become a really good friend to both the customer and the agents. Here’s why:
AI Provides Customers The Right Information At The Right Time
Have you ever felt overwhelmed when you go onto a brand’s web site or mobile app? Brands often put massive amounts of information at the customers’ fingertips — but often times this influx of data can do more harm than good. Navigating all this information can feel like finding a needle in a haystack and is both frustrating and creates a roadblock for consumers looking for a specific item or answer.
AI is helping solve this problem, empowering customers to cut through noise and quickly find the right information. Understanding the customer’s intent, modern chatbots can dig down into the question or issue and either provide the resolution right there or escalate the customer to the best resource, ensuring a quick solution and seamless engagement.
AI Lessens The Burden On Overworked Agents
One of the main benefits of AI tools like chatbots and virtual agents is that they provide new channels for customers to ask questions and get quick responses. Most customer requests revolve around simple, frequently asked questions like password changes, inventory or return questions, and order status queries, which don’t necessarily need a human touch to answer. These technologies emerging as the first line of defense to help customers get answers instantly rather than forcing them to wait on hold for what will likely be a quick fix. And for those situations that do require deeper assistance, thanks to AI-assisted tools, human agents are more readily available to jump in, and have the bandwidth to spend the time necessary to get more complex issues resolved.
AI Helps Create A More Tailored Customer Experience
Today’s customer has very different expectations of the brands they do business with. They want easy and fast service, that’s true, but they also really want to create a connection with the company. They want each interaction to be personal to them. If they’ve been on the web site or interacted with support (in any channel) in the past, they expect the brand to know that history and use it the very next time they engage.
The challenge comes in finding the right balance between efficient and personalized support — and that’s where AI fits in. These technologies are helping CX teams quickly understand a customer’s history with and sentiment toward the brand, so that agents can join the customer exactly where they are in the journey and don’t have to waste time playing catch-up.
AI is quickly becoming the cornerstone of many CX strategies. These technologies are proving to help businesses deliver superior customer experiences — consistently across channels — without overloading support teams. In an era where experience can make or break a customer relationship, these changes will make all the difference.
Dave Campbell is Vice President of Product Marketing for the Customer Engagement and Support business at LogMeIn, which includes LogMeIn Rescue, Bold360 and GoToAssist. He joined the LogMeIn team in 2010 and has managed and led product direction for multiple LogMeIn businesses, including remote access, IT management and customer engagement. Prior to joining LogMeIn, Campbell was responsible for product marketing at Symantec for its Information Management business including backup, archiving and E-Discovery.