The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Customer Service

The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Customer Service

This vector image shows how the internet can be used for many different interactions/needs between customers and the brands they purchase products/services from.

Customer service has continued to evolve over the years. New technological advancements have a direct impact on customer service solutions. In particular, the field of artificial intelligence has changed customer service drastically. With the introduction of chatbots and automated voice replies, the use of AI is growing rapidly. However, when approached with complicated customer service issues, the AI won’t be able to help you out — yet. So how will human and machine work together in the future?

What is the Role of AI in Customer Service?

AI is a digital assistant that can understand human language and respond to requests. AI can be used for customer service at any time of the day or night, but it’s still in its early stages. So, while it may be able to help with simple queries at first (like “What time does your store close?”), most current AIs aren’t advanced enough yet for serious questions about products or services.

One of the biggest reasons companies are exploring AI-based customer service is to save on costs. For example, if you’re an internet company with a large user base and want to scale up your customer service quickly, hiring a bunch of agents could be immensely expensive. Similarly, if you’re starting out with a relatively small user base and don’t have much money in the bank, implementing traditional human customer service may not be feasible. AI can handle simple tasks like answering FAQs or giving general information about products or services—the kinds of things that a human might find extremely simple, but which don’t require much creativity or intelligence behind them. This frees up more highly educated employees for more complex questions that require intuition, empathy, and other higher brain functions.

This beautiful picture shows the fusion between human interaction and artificial intelligence (AI); eventually, both will work together in complete harmony – but, for the time being, it is crucially important that human interaction works alongside AI to proportion strong customer experiences (CX) that create long-term customer retention, brand loyalty, and global sales success.

AI customer service is becoming more accessible to businesses, with many resources for AI integration available such as Callnovo Contact Center’s internally-developed Cloud SaaS CRM and Communications platform. AI can answer FAQs and basic questions, like “how much does this cost?” or “I need help with my account.” AI also allows customers to find information on their own, reducing the number of calls you receive asking questions that have already been answered on your website or in other documentation. Although there are many benefits for using AI in customer service, there are still many issues to deal with.

Downsides of AI in Customer Service

The main problem currently is that AI cannot handle complex issues. The human brain is capable of processing thousands of pieces of information at any one time and can interpret data from many different sources. AI, on the other hand, has a much smaller capacity for complex data — a fact that is reflected in its ability to answer questions accurately. While it’s true that AI has made great strides in this area over recent years (especially with natural language processing), there are still some things that machines simply don’t have the capacity to do. For example: AI can’t understand situations or problems that require a lot of prior knowledge or experience. If you try to explain something complicated like “my computer system isn’t working properly” to an AI chatbot, you’ll find out very quickly that there are limitations on what machines can process right now — especially when it comes down to understanding context and nuance within human interactions such as these.

Early stages of AI customer service testing require a high cost, which could prove to be an investment risk for small or medium businesses with relatively few inquiries. Not only do these businesses receive a small amount of product or service inquiries, the channels in which they receive inquiries are generally diversified. Compared with human customer service, it is much more difficult to quickly integrate AI into a multi-platform, multi-channel, or multi-product customer service operation. Also, for businesses expanding into global markets, it is difficult for customer service AI to recognize slang, dialects, and colloquial phrases in different cultures in different countries and regions, which may cause confusion and customer dissatisfaction. Lastly, having an almost exclusive AI customer service solution loses the human touch of customer service. For many customers, this can be a big turnoff as they may feel less valued by the company. Customers want to talk to someone when they have a problem, have complex problems, or are happy with the service and want to give feedback. When an angry customer calls with a complaint, having an AI chatbot with insufficient training or understanding can cause these customers to become more frustrated.

This picture shows a male customer service rep demonstrating the key to exceptional customer service that motivates long-term customer loyalty: a customer-centric disposition to customer support that values customers and their experience with your global brand.

The Need for Human Intelligence

While artificial intelligence is making its mark on customer service, it is clear that there are situations where human interaction is more valuable. Customer service is often viewed as a personal matter between the consumer and the brand, so it can be difficult finding a substitute for speaking with someone who can help you resolve your issue. Regardless of the perspectives of cost, cycle, flexibility, service experience, etc., human customer service will inevitably exist for a long time, and it is impossible to be completely replaced by AI. Especially for companies that are going global and developing in new markets, having a live human customer service operation is the only way to build brand reputation and loyalty.

This female beauty smiles as she provides top-tier customer support to a globally-expanding clothing brand; she ensures that the customers she serves experience superb customer engagement that motivates them to brand ambassadorship.

AI is here to stay, and it will continue to impact customer service. This trend will continue to grow as technology becomes more advanced and more affordable. However, in order to efficiently utilize AI in customer service, having a solid human customer service operation is the foundation for and company. Simple and repetitive problems can be handed over to AI solutions, allowing real customer service agents to handle more complex complaints and issues. At Callnovo, we are dedicated to helping you get the best of both worlds: a solid, professional team of customer service agents combined with innovative AI technology. Together, Callnovo can help you expand your customer service operation to new heights!

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