AI is transforming customer service, making it more convenient and personal by automating high-quality resolutions on consumers’ terms and empowering human agents to work smarter. The use cases for automated customer service seem endless, so we’ve pulled together the best opportunities for leveraging the power of artificial intelligence in customer service that we see today.
How are our customers using automated support to rethink retail customer service?Learn how Nespresso, Tommy Hilfiger, and Westjet have turned support into a difference maker.
Here are the Best Automated Customer Service Use Cases
Use Cases for Customer Support on Autopilot
- Constant, Direct Attention to Customers
AI can respond instantly to customers, faster than any human. This instant response is available all the time, making time zones irrelevant in the first few interactions with customer service. Human attention isn’t required for every scenario, and a chatbot operating 24 hours a day can make an enormous impact on those tenuous first steps.
- Automated Customer Service Responses to FAQs
Use AI to respond to the repeatable, and costly, issues that consumers ask about frequently such as return/exchange policies and processes. AI can also educate customers about complex services or products, like applying for a mortgage or comparing credit cards. We worked with Aflac to create an AI Agent to help educate people during the open-enrollment season, offering support during the often confusing process of deciding on health insurance.
- Facilitate Routine Actions
AI can help facilitate routine actions like checking in for a WestJet flight, ordering your favorite Starbucks coffee or a Domino’s pizza. Bank of America is using AI to make everyday banking more pleasant: instead of a website search and navigation to various Web pages, a customer can check their balance, confirm due dates and pay bills via a natural language conversation with virtual assistant Erica, a banking chatbot. Customer service software and artificial intelligence can also help answer customer questions about the shipping status of their eCommerce order.
Sometimes a customer service human being is more than you need, and that is no more often the case than in simple transactional exchanges, like a customer paying for a product or service that your company offers. That’s where AI for customer experience comes in. Those self-checkout kiosks at grocery stores are popular for a specific subset of customers for a reason: for a fast, no-frills payment process, nothing beats DIY with AI. Chatbots can serve the same function in an e-tail setting, acting as automated cash registers when a human is best utilized elsewhere.
Bonus: Three More Simple Use Cases for Automated Customer Support
- Intent Discovery
The customer might not always be right, but they are rarely shy about telling you how they feel. Gauging a user’s mood, and finding out what kind of help they need, is all part of discovering customer intent. Are they mad? Probably best to get a human on the line ASAP. Are they sick of trying to get a hold of a human at other places and hope they don’t have the same issue with your company? Also, probably a good time for a human to hop on the line. Either way, it makes a lot more sense for AI to ask the question “what can I do for you?” before any valuable human time is spent doing what a machine can do.
- Account Information
Nobody likes to put the same information repeatedly into web forms, then give that information again to customer service, and then again every time they’re routed to a new customer service agent. This is especially true when the information they’re looking for is simple customer information, like how long until their subscription ends or whether the address on file is current. Customer service chatbots are perfect for this kind of application, where the task is no more complicated than updating a database or reporting on its contents.
If your company offers products or services that need troubleshooting, say a TV or refrigerator, you could use AI to help customers first identify the problem and offer the steps to remedy the issue. Depending on the deployment channel, a knowledge base article, or rich video and images could be shared at optimal times to help customers more effectively help themselves. AI can also be used to proactively offer care advice. For instance, Nespresso uses AI to help customers descale their coffee machines using step-by-step tips delivered naturally via conversation.
Our webinar with Freshworks, Practical AI to Transform Customer Service,is a great intro to learn how AI can work inside your existing CX.
Automated Customer Service Use Cases for Service Ops
- Tag-team AI / Human Support
AI-powered automation tools can gather key important information from a customer before bringing in human service agents, such as account number, current needs or details around the issue they are facing. AI can also be used for account verification, like confirming security questions or matching account numbers to birthdays. This will optimize the agent’s time, ultimately getting a customer’s issue resolved quicker.
- Ticket Routing
Based on a customer’s interactions, need, profile, and loyalty status (via integration with a CRM), machine learning can route the ticket to the right agent based on their:
- areas of expertise
- real-time availability
- the number of other open tickets they are currently managing
British supermarket Ocado, for example, uses support automation AI to intelligently route its 10,000+ daily emails to the right agent taking into account the topic, sentiment and the priority needed for a response. This makes sure the frustrated customer who had an issue with their online order is treated differently than someone who is providing positive feedback on the website.
- AI Recommended Replies to Agents
Once the ticket is in the right human hands, automated customer service can still help get tickets resolved quicker. AI can suggest replies or actions based on various contextual factors, the customer’s profile, information the AI gleaned from an earlier exchange to enable the human agent to easily select the best response or update the response if needed. Sprint, for instance, is launching AI in its call center to analyze a topic and recommend real-time solutions to agents in real-time.
Conclusion on AI and Customer Service Automation
AI is now a member of the workforce, enabling companies to create customer satisfaction for high-quality, fast support. Working in tandem with human agents to deliver exceptional customer experience. AI today is best used in highly repeatable, simple scenarios like live chat, but in the future, AI will be able to manage more complex situations, playing an even greater role within an organization’s support team.
Let’s chat. We’d love to discuss the best opportunities to automate customer support within your organization.
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