A quick guide to becoming a champion for Automated Support within your organization.
AI is no longer reserved for the companies that are first-to-market; the ones that liberally trial new technologies on a whim with varying degrees of success. No…AI-powered solutions are often now fundamental to a company’s success. Customer service is now a competitive differentiator on par with cost and quality, and AI-powered automation is the means to deliver the world-class experiences that your customers demand. [Read more about customer expectations here].
Many customer service executives on the front lines of managing CX understand the value AI can bring:
- Personally responding to repeatable issues, about ~50% of support tickets, instantaneously [Higher CSAT → Brand Loyalty]
- Deflecting tickets from human agents by automating resolutions [Cost Savings]
- Empowering human agents to work better, using AI to recommend replies, pull relevant information, etc. [Faster resolutions → Higher CSAT]
- Improved agent performance and job satisfaction as the day-to-day focus is on high-impact work and less mundane tasks [Less Agent Turnover → Cost Savings]
There’s often polarizing views of AI within an organization: Some are entranced with the buzz around the new shiny object, excited for the opportunity to say that their organization uses AI. Others are skeptics, wondering if it’s all just hype; if it’s affordable; if real value will seen or if human agents are going to be replaced with machines.
The reality is that companies can’t afford to not adopt AI-powered solutions. According to Microsoft, 95% of consumers cite customer service as important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand and 61% have switched brands due to poor customer service, with nearly half having done so in the past 12 months.
“Most traditional companies don’t think of digital as being strategic to the organization. It’s often thought about as a support function. We’re thinking about how to make digital, and a culture of innovation, be part of the DNA of our company.” — Alfredo Tan, WestJet’s Chief Digital Officer. [Watch a video here]
So as you champion AI within your organization, use our guidelines to ensure a successful program is introduced that the entire organization can see value in.
1) Start small
Identify very defined use cases to automate with AI, such as order status or refund requests. This will not only help keep costs down, but it will enable everyone within a customer service organization to learn the process of implementing AI and witness how it evolves over time.
2) Identify the right use cases
Pinpoint where there is a lot of historical data that can be used to trainAI. Customer service is such a great place to start with AI, as companies have troves of historic emails, chat and social messaging data that can be used to bootstrap AI training, and new tickets are continuously being created to give your AI the ability to learn in action. Determine what to delegate to AI by identifying which queries come in frequently and don’t require human oversight.
3) Create a game plan for a human and AI workforce
AI will not – and should not – replace human workers. It will help them work more efficiently, while freeing them up to work on complex and unique tickets. Outline the situations in which AI will manage autonomosouly, which use cases will be exclusively managed by human agents (more sensitive issues), and which queries AI can help a human agent work faster by clarifying or pulling information from various business systems.
4) Solve real issues and map out KPIs
Set a clear understanding of what success will look like and how it will be measured. You should be implementing AI to solve real pain points for the business. Many companies struggle with meeting customer expectations for immediate, personal and convenient support. Even by leveraging AI to respond to 30% of your incoming tickets at first, the impact will be felt immediately.
We like to tell our customers to measure AI as they would an employee: How is it learning and improving? Is it doing its job (i.e. resolving tickets)? Is it having a positive impact on the customer experience? Is it working well with others?
Some of the specific KPIs that our clients use to measure the success of a customer service AI are deflection, CSAT, cost savings and time to resolution. Set realistic goals based on where your organization is performing today and how AI should impact this in 3, 6 and 12 months.
5) Educate your organization about what AI is… and what it isn’t
Ensure everyone understands the capabilities of AI. Often, there are some within an organization who have been swept up into the hype and have a very unrealistic view of the maturity of the AI market today.
Set your AI up for success by educating your colleagues on what AI can manage – tasks that are high-volume, highly-repeatable, low business risk. Communicate how an AI learns from real-world experience and how it will get better over time. The performance on Day 1 is not what it will be on Day 30 or 60. AI should not be expected to be creative, have empathy or manage complex or long-form queries.
The time is now
You cannot afford to delay adopting AI-powered customer service automaton into your organization. AI Agents improve over time, in terms of accuracy in understanding questions as well as learning how your human agents respond in various situations. Your competitors have adopted AI; it will be impossible to catch up if you don’t move fast.