10 Ways Customer Service Automation Works Today (Updated July 2021)

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Jul 29, 2021

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 helpdesk AI 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

1. 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 chatbot statistics show that a chatbot operating 24 hours a day can make an enormous impact on those tenuous first steps.

2. 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 health insurance open-enrollment season, offering support through an insurance chatbot.

3. 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.

4. Payments

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

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Troubleshooting

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

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. 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.


Find out what your ROI will be if you automate customer support with an AI chatbot platform. Try our free chatbot ROI calculator today.


For more information on AI and customer service, visit:

45 Customer Service Statistics You Need To Know (Updated For 2021)

Written by  on   May 10, 2021

Customer service is becoming a critical driver of how a company is perceived, what drives consumer loyalty and determining where they open their wallets. Companies are equally praised for the exceptional support they provide, while others relentlessly chastised for failing to deliver. Below, we want to show you how that perception has become reality with 42 customer service statistics you need to know for 2021.

AI customer service is transforming how companies support the people who support them – working alongside human agents to provide quick, convenient, and personal support. We thought it would be a good idea to get a real sense of where customer support is today by sharing these 45 customer service stats from leading research organizations.

Here are some of the best customer service statistics that really paint the picture of:

  1. What consumers expect
  2. The baseline of where many brands are today
  3. The opportunity for AI to catapult a brand’s customer service to the next level

To review some of our own research on this topic, please check out any of our four eBooks on the topic of customer service:

Customer Service Stats On Consumer Expectations

Customer Service Statistics
  • 59% of consumers have higher expectations for customer service than they did just a 1 year ago [Microsoft]
  • 60% don’t see customer service as getting any easier [Microsoft]  
  • Customers expect to receive service through any channel and on any device, with 59 percent of respondents using the omnichannel experience to get questions answered. [Microsoft]
  • Americans are telling an average of 15 people about poor service  [American Express (1)]
  • Nearly 50% of consumers expect a response on social media questions or complaints within an hour, with 18% expecting an immediate response [American Express (1)]
  • 33% say getting their issue resolved in a single interaction (no matter the length of time) is the most important aspect of customer service  [American Express (1)]
  • 40% want companies to focus on taking care of their needs quickly; The future of service belongs to those who deliver quick, convenient and personalized customer service in the customer’s channel of choice [American Express (1)]
  • 66% of US online adults said that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer experience [Forrester (1)]
  • 86% of customers have to contact customer service multiple times for the same reason [InfoLink]

Many companies rely on these stats to benchmark customer service. You might not need all these fancy customer service statistics to know what’s the most important: customer satisfaction.

Satisfaction = Reality – Expectations. If you can beat expectations on a consistent basis you have entered the powerful realm of leveraging customer service to promote your brand. When it comes to customer service as a marketing tool (think “word of mouth”), we’ve carved out a whole separate section for that below.

Key Statistics Covering How Customer Service Is The New Marketing

Customer Service Statistics - Brand Switching
  • 95% of consumers cite customer service as important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand  [Microsoft]
  • 90% of Americans use customer service as a deciding factor when choosing to do business with a company [American Express (2)]
  • 78% of customers say the quality of service is fundamental to earning their loyalty and repeat business [Netomi]
  • Seven in 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service [American Express (1)]
  • 61% have switched brands due to poor customer service with nearly half having done so in the past 12 months  [Microsoft]
  • More than half of Americans have scrapped a planned purchase or transaction because of bad service  [American Express (1)]
  • US consumers say they’re willing to spend 17 percent more to do business with companies that deliver excellent service, up from 14 percent in 2014  [American Express (1)]
  • 33% of Americans will consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service  [American Express (1)]
  • 61% of insurance consumers in the United Kingdom, 76 percent in Germany and 79 percent in Spain say their insurer choice is influenced by the carrier’s claims handling and customer service quality [Accenture] (click the link to get more insights on the benefits of insurance chatbot solutions)

Proactive Customer Support Statistics

Customer Service Statistics Ratings
  • 90% of customers rate immediate responses as important or higher when they have a question. [Hubspot (1)]
  • 71% of consumers under 25 believes quickness in responses from customer service representatives improves their experience [Comm100]
  • 70% have a more favorable view of brands that offer proactive customer service notifications [Microsoft]
  • 87% of customers want to be proactively reached out to by a company for customer service related issues  [inContact (via MyCustomer)]
  • Over a 12 month period, proactive customer service can lead to a 20-30% reduction in call center calls — lowering call center operating costs by as much as 25% [Enkata (via MyCustomer)]
  • 83% of customers expect to interact with someone immediately when they contact a company [Salesforce] (click the link to learn more about our salesforce chatbot integrations)

Customer Service Statistics That Show Agents Need Help

Customer Service Statistics Agents
  • More than 75%of consumers expect customer service representatives to have visibility into previous interactions and purchases, Yet nearly half say agents almost never or only occasionally have the context they need to most effectively and efficiently solve their issue  [Microsoft]
  • 68% say a pleasant representative is a key to their recent positive service experiences [American Express (1)]
  • 40% of customers want agents to focus on taking care of their needs quickly  [American Express (1)]
  • 84% of customer service agents can’t answer the questions [InfoLink]
  • 83% of consumers have to repeat the same information to multiple agents [InfoLink]
  • 82% of customers expect to solve complex problems by talking to one person [Salesforce]

Related Reading: Check out the Top 25 Chatbot Statistics you need to know for customer service


Customer Service Is A Real Business Issue (And Opportunity)

Customer Service Statistics on Repeat Purchases
  • $62 billion is lost by U.S. businesses each year following bad customer experiences [New Voice Media]
  • 93% of customers make repeat purchases with companies that provide great customer service. [HubSpot (1)]
  • 69% of US online adults shop more with a retailer that offers consistent customer service both online and offline [Forrester (1)]
  • Poor customer service causes consumers to abandon intended purchases, which translated to an estimated $62 billion in lost sales in the US in 2015 — an alarming 51% increase over the previous two years [Forrester (1)]
  • Customers are 4x more likely to switch service providers if the problem they are having is service-based. [Bain and Company]
  • A moderate improvement in CX would impact the revenue of a typical $1 billion company an average of $775 million over three years [Temkin Group]
  • Within the last year alone, reported merchandise returns went up from $351 billion to $369 billion, and an estimated $24 billion was lost to return fraud and abuse. [Appriss]
  • Businesses can grow their revenue by as much as 8% above their competition when they improve the customer service experience. [Bain and Company]

All Of These Customer Support Stats Pave The Way For AI

Customer Service Statistics on Email Support
  • 54% of consumers use a customer support email for customer service, making it the number 1 customer service communication channel. [Forrester (2)]
  • 42% of customers want to communicate with companies via live chat for customer service. [HubSpot (2)]
  • Millennials prefer live chat for customer service over other channels [Comm100]
  • By 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI, an increase of 400% from 2017 [Gartner (1)]
  • 80% of customer engagements can be handled by bots [Accenture]
  • By 2021, more than 50% of enterprises will spend more on bots than traditional mobile [Gartner (2)]  
  • By 2030, 70% of companies will have adopted some form of AI and the majority of enterprises will be using a full range of AI technology [McKinsey]

We have shown you through these 45 customer service stats that support is more important to your business than ever before.

Are you ready to see how AI in customer service can transform your business? Use AI to answer high-volume, repeatable issues without delay while looping in your human agents to manage the other inquiries. Let’s chat

For more information on customer service, visit:

Resources cited in this post

Can Telecom Customer Service Be Turned Around By AI?

Written by Dylan Max  on   Oct 8, 2019

A Look At The Opportunity For Customer Service Automation In Telecom

Customer service in telecom remains one of the worst in any industry. Can it be helped by better leveraging customer service automation?

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Survey, customer satisfaction with subscription television service peaked in 2013 at a score of 68 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s 100-point scale. Since then, it has wavered. The industry is now stagnant at an ACSI score of 62, tied with internet service providers for the last place among all industries tracked by the ACSI.”1

This boils down to a high volume of incidences, inconsistency across channels and issues, and long resolution times. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the best and most scalable means for telecom companies to provide the support that customers demand today. 

The Telecom Customer Support Landscape 

Every month, I get an automated alert from my phone carrier letting me know my credit card is being charged. If I respond to the text message with a related question – say why it’s higher this month than last –  crickets. I never get a response. 

And it’s not something specific to me. While telecom companies are trying to provide good customer experiences and have put it at the top of their strategies, customers like me still feel frustrated. The sheer thought of having to call my phone carrier with a billing question or my broadband provider when I have a connectivity issue makes me want to shudder.  

So why is it so hard for telecom companies to provide a positive customer experience? 

Volume and Reach 

If you look at the top ten searches related to customer service on Google, five are telecom companies.

Telecom companies represent 78% of the top 5 searches by volume in the United States over the last 12 months. Search results provided by Google’s Keyword Planner in September 2019.

You did not read this wrong. 919,000 people try to understand what’s wrong with their Verizon service every month in the US. 

Telecom customer service queries make up over 78% of the top five customer service queries and 63% of the top 10. 

Whether it’s issues related to billing, being charged for a service a customer never signed up for, service issues, installation requests, or collecting personal information, telecom companies are inundated with customer needs. What’s more, support is now expected on an increasing number of channels. Customer service chatbots are now expected to work over email support, social, chat, and voice. 

Fragmentation is Frustrating

Great segmentation within the business also leads to poor customer service. Customers interact with different business groups. This leads to inconsistency, fragmentation, and frustration. For instance, a person is often asked to provide contact information multiple times as they get passed around to the right department. Also, the tone of employees that your customers interact with varies greatly. In contrast, the sales process is enjoyable and fast. When a customer wants to cancel their contract or make changes to an account, it’s slow and frustrating. 

Providing a seamless, consistent experience is fundamental to high customer satisfaction (CSAT).

The Risk Of Poor Telecom Customer Service Has Never Been Higher 

Providing a positive customer experience is tied directly to customer retention.  A McKinsey + Company’s Report found that satisfied customers are 80% more likely than unsatisfied customers to renew their policies 2

Consumers overwhelmingly don’t have an emotional connection to telecom companies. To your customer, there’s little differentiation in service, quality or price. 

The cost to switch to another provider is lower than ever, and there are more competition and choice today. Just consider the rise of cord-cutting, as cable providers lose a staggering 14,000 customers per day 3. WeChat and others are also emerging as competitive alternatives to SMS customer service. Customers are not afraid to look for alternatives.

Customer Service is the Key 

With this convergence of factors, customer service excellence is what can get someone to stick around. According to PWC, “even when people love a company or product, 59% will walk away after several bad experiences, 17% after just one bad experience4.” 

If getting in touch with a company is frustrating or if customers are not treated nicely, they will churn. A competitively-priced alternative is a click away. 

How Automation in Telecom Can Drive Higher CSAT

The average wait time to reach a call center agent for a telecom company is 5 minutes. Only 44% of operators offer web chat as a support option. When you hear stats like these, it makes sense that telecom is failing at customer service 5. Our society expects effortless, on-demand, and personalized experiences. 

Incorporating AI for customer experience into the workforce can help resolve over 50% of customer service issues instantly. Think about high-volume, mundane and repetitive queries. These can be eliminated from your human agent’s workflow so they can resolve high-touch and complex issues faster. Examples of Telecom workflows that can be delegated to AI include:  

  • Top-up or recharge: Enable customers to replenish mobile account data instantly. 
  • Modify plans: Whether it’s adding a line, changing plans or adding roaming for an upcoming international trip, AI connects in real-time to back-end systems to close tickets. 
  • Incentives to churning customers: Only 28% of telecom companies offer an incentive to avoid churning 5. An AI Agent identifies which churning customers are high-value and worth the cost of an incentive. The AI Agent offers a promotion at the initial termination request. 
  • Account termination: A customer terminates a contract, AI easily communicates with the customer and makes updates on the back-end. There’s no delay in completing a request. The relationship ends on a positive note. 
  • Billing questions: A customer has a question on a new charge or why the amount changed from month-to-month. An AI Agent either responds immediately or gathers necessary data before elevating to human agents. 
  • Network issues: An AI Agent reactively gives updates to a customer about an issue or proactively lets someone know about planned service and outages. 
  • Delivery fulfillment: Conversational AI agents keep customers updated on the status of new hardware or parts. 
  • Product / Service research: For prospective customers, an AI Agent guides a customer through the discovery and research process. It helps people compare plans. A Virtual agent drives profitability through up-selling. 
  • Reduce truck roll: AI Agents help customers help themselves. They can help troubleshoot issues, activate a SIM card or reconfigure equipment.

We Are Data Addicts

Whether we’re streaming TV or reading the news on the go, we’re consuming data 24/7. Telecom companies provide services that are fundamental to our lives. We expect swift resolutions when there’s an issue. Negative customer experiences boost churn and can cause brand degradation over time. Positive customer experiences can keep customers around. 

Customer service automation empowers telecom companies to put the experience of their consumers first. Let us show you how quickly we can launch a powerful support organization run by human and machine intelligence. Schedule a demo with Netomi’s chatbot platform.

References 

  1. American Customer Satisfaction Index: https://www.theacsi.org/news-and-resources/customer-satisfaction-reports/reports-2019/acsi-telecommunications-report-2018-2019/acsi-telecommunications-report-2018-2019-download 
  2. McKinsey & Company: Customer Experience – New Capabilities, New audiences, New Opportunities https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/featured%20insights/Customer%20Experience/CX%20Compendium%202017/Customer-experience-compendium-July-2017.ashx
  3. BGR: Cord Cutting Statistics 2019 https://bgr.com/2019/05/09/cord-cutting-statistics-2019/
  4. PWC: Experience is everything. Get it right. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/library/consumer-intelligence-series/future-of-customer-experience.html?
  5. KPMG: Still Searching for a Better Customer Experience https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/xx/pdf/2017/07/searching-for-a-better-customer-web.pdf//

Zendesk customers now have access to the Netomi Virtual Agent, a powerful AI counterpart for human agents

Written by Shail Gupta  on   Aug 21, 2019

Netomi has launched the Netomi Virtual Agent that extends Zendesk, Inc.’s leading cloud-based customer service platform. Netomi’s Zendesk chatbot integration enables companies to leverage AI to provide faster resolutions to customer service queries, responding in seconds. 

We already work with many Zendesk customers, and our new app will make it incredibly easy for companies to easily introduce AI customer support into their customer experience workforce. Through seamless integration into the Zendesk dashboard, companies can leverage Netomi’s AI to automatically resolve tickets or empower human agents at a virtual contact center to work more efficiently with AI-recommended responses. By leveraging AI, companies dramatically reduce response times, boost agent productivity and provide a brilliant customer experience.  

“Zendesk helps organizations build better relationships with their customers. Through this partnership, we’re giving companies the power of AI to deepen those relationships by meeting quick-rising customer expectations for immediate and convenient support. Simultaneously, we’re empowering agents with transformative efficiency. Our platform automatically resolves over 50% of a company’s incoming service tickets immediately, without delay. Our customers delight customers with quick resolutions, and enable agents to focus on complex customer needs,” said Puneet Mehta, Founder, and CEO of Netomi. 

The Netomi Virtual Agent for Zendesk app, which works across customer support email and website chat, provides: 

  • AI-assisted responses:  The Netomi Virtual Agent drafts recommended responses for human agents to review, edit or approve before responding to a customer. This enables companies to respond and close tickets within minutes. 
  • Full automation capabilities: Companies can delegate certain use cases to the Virtual Agent to automatically resolve and immediately close tickets. If a customer asks an untrained question, the Virtual Agent creates a ticket within Zendesk for an agent to manage directly. 
  • Data discovery and training: We work with our customers to identify where AI can make an impact. Within the Netomi AI Studio, companies select pre-trained AI skills and customize responses to align with their brand personality and business policies. 
  • Robust analytics: With the Netomi Virtual Agent you also have access to Netomi’s full suite of analytics including average handle time, first response rate, AI Performance score and more. Our customers can also view untrained queries to plan and prioritize future training. 
  • Integrations: Connect with core systems business systems including Order Management Systems, CRM platforms, and inventory management systems to resolve customer issues, not simply respond. 

To get started, visit the Netomi app page in the Zendesk App Marketplace by clicking the link above in the first paragraph. 

Zendesk customers, we look forward to providing brilliant customer service with you! Questions about our Zendesk chatbot integration? Get in touch and we’ll get back to you right away. 

New eBook: Transforming Customer Support with AI

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   Jul 31, 2019

Welcome to the Relationship Economy. 

Doing business today is a lot different than it was a few years ago.  Customer service is now just as important as price, quality and brand name in determining where people spend their money and build long-term relationships. Customers have quick-rising expectations for personalized, convenient and immediate support on their channels of choice, and swiftly take their business elsewhere if they are not satisfied. 

In our latest eBook, Transforming Customer Service with AI, we explore this new era of doing business, the challenges that companies face and how helpdesk AI can accelerate a customer support organization into a customer relationship powerhouse. You’ll learn: 

  • What customers expect from companies when they have an issue 
  • How AI can impact the customer service function of businesses of all sizes 
  • Best practices to follow when implementing AI within your business 
  • How to create a continuous-learning AI that improves over time

Customer service now has a direct impact on consumer buying habits, either posing a great risk or presenting an incredible opportunity. Customer service can no longer be an after-thought; it must become a core part of the overall customer experience strategy and business focus moving forward. 

Get your free copy of your eBook here

For more information on customer service, visit:

Do SMBs and startups need AI for Customer Support?

Written by Can Ozdoruk  on   May 15, 2019

Yes. Here’s why companies – regardless of size –  can’t afford to de-prioritize the customer experience. 

For the first time ever, brand love is not reserved for the companies that have category dominance, the deepest pockets or the widest distribution channels. Brand love is built on customer experience.

Startups and smaller companies can now compete with the behemoths of their industry thanks to readily available global distribution channels, online and social awareness, product ingenuity and the end-to-end customer experience.

Until recently, large companies have made little effort to improve their customer service, comfortable with the global status quo of frustrating, fragmented, inconvenient support that proliferated in nearly every industry. Offering support on limited channels and hours, keeping customers on hold for long periods of time (which added up to 43 days in a person’s life), unpleasant and rude representatives, and lack of personalization or recognition of who a person was, their history and loyalty to a brand was expected. Companies didn’t have to improve their support, because no one else was. It was universally terrible.

Something changed, though. Companies started to emerge that prioritized how they treated their customers. One of the first examples I can think of in my own experience was Zappos. A company that, when I was told about the brand, I was told in the same sentence that their customer service is phenomenal. Zappos, and more that would follow, were putting the customer first. Offering friendly, convenient support on customers terms. It was refreshing.

After getting a taste of what customer support could be, customer expectations started to quickly rise. The status quo was no longer acceptable. This quick change in the tide of customer expectations, and a lag in established companies addressing these new demands, has led to companies losing $62 billion per year due to poor customer service. This is staggering. 

Customer service is now a core business driver and a huge opportunity for startups and SMBs to establish dominance and build long-term, profitable relationships with customers. Established companies are racing to implement more automation, personalization, channel-less and on-demand customer service, and emerging companies can’t afford to ignore their support function. SMBs and startups need to invest in technologies that can turn customer support into a competitive edge.

As you think about customer service, consider the expectations for customers that you must meet to compete:

  • Channel-less: Offer support across every channel, including customer support email, social messaging and website chat
  • Personalized: Tailored to the individual, real-time context, sentiment and history with the brand
  • Instantaneous: Quick, high-quality resolutions
  • On-demand: 24/7 support to issues on their terms
  • Friendly: Pleasant interactions with human or virtual agents
  • Consistent: Issues need to be resolved consistently, every time
  • Proactive: Reacting to incoming tickets is not enough; Anticipate needs to solve problems before they even exist

Without deploying AI customer support into your workforce, it’s incredibly expensive and difficult to meet these rising demands. AI can be used for customer service automation resolutions to everyday tickets reserving human agents to focus on complex and unique customer needs. When leveraged correctly, AI can reduce customer service costs by up to 30 percent.

Interested in learning more? Let’s chat.

For more information on customer support, click here.

With AI in Customer Service, the Biggest Payback Could Be Time

Written by Emily Cummins  on   May 7, 2019

When it comes to understanding the helpdesk AI benefits to customer service, William Penn eloquently nails it. “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

Time is a commodity that we all need more of. Something that we all hate to waste – especially if it’s spent doing something like contacting a company to resolve an issue that’s been frustrating enough to encounter in the first place. When we hear stats like we spend 43 days on hold for customer service in our lifetime and 86% of customers have to contact customer service multiple times for the same reason, it’s clear that the status quo is ripe for disruption.

“Time is not the main thing. It’s the only thing.” – Miles Davis 

Customers Are Valuing Their Time More Than Ever

Modern customers are used to instantaneous gratification. They walk around with supercomputers in their pockets that can tell them breaking news from around the world, how to avoid a traffic accident that happened one minute before, or let them share a picture of the innovative cocktail the bartender concocted for them with friends and see likes tick up in a matter of seconds. They expect quick. Anything outside of instantaneous is jarring.

Imagine sending a company a question on Facebook and having to wait over 12 hours for a response (which is the average response time). This is unacceptable in your customers’ minds. According to Forrester, 66% of US online adults said that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer experience. Time, not necessarily a favorable outcome or a pleasant representative (both, of course, are also important). But it’s getting time back to go back to whatever it was they were doing before that is the driving factor to what is considered good service.  

Customer Service Agents, Too, Are Desperate For Time

It’s not just customers who need time back. Agents, too, are inundated with tickets they need to manage and lack the necessary customer service tools and real-time information to adequately address many tickets. Agents report that they often have many windows open simultaneously, yet still more than half almost never or only occasionally have the context they need to most effectively and efficiently solve issues [Microsoft]. This results in rerouting customers to other agents with the right context (which leads to 83% of consumers having to repeat the same information to multiple agents), delayed resolutions and diminished CSAT which weighs negatively on employee satisfaction and morale.

How AI Benefits Time By Giving Back To Both Customers And Agents 

The AI benefits of giving back time are multifaceted:

  • AI can be deployed to respond immediately (i.e. less than one second)  to the everyday customer support tickets, providing customers with the instant gratification that they crave for over 50% of their queries.
  • Automated customer service integrations, such as Zoho chatbot, save agents time from managing mundane, repeatable issues, and focus on more high-touch customer needs. 
  • For agent-managed issues, AI pulls relevant information from business systems and clarifies information with the customer before an agent ever gets involved. Agents no longer have to open multiple windows to gather information from other databases which delay the resolution but rather can quickly review and act on the data provided from an AI.

Are you ready to give time back to your customers and agents using a chatbot platform? Let’s chat. 

For more information on AI and customer service, visit:

Tier 1 Customer Service Tickets Are Costing You

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Apr 2, 2019

Billions. That’s what organizations spend annually responding to repeatable customer service queries that could be automated with AI.

Companies are taking note. It’s expected that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. This is incredible.

Conservatively, 35% of a company’s customer service tickets span the same queries (some of our customers see the same 6-8 topics cover over 50% of their traffic). Companies see an immense impact on support costs when they start leveraging AI for customer support to respond to these queries without ever getting a human agent involved.

As more organizations adopt automated customer service, it’s important that AI is deployed to respond to the right tickets. Set your automated support function up for success by knowing where AI can shine, where it can be an amazing co-pilot to your human agents, and in which situations humans need to remain at the driver’s seat.

AI automates repeatable tickets

AI should be trained to respond to high-frequency, simple queries. Think about the tasks you might give new employees or even an army of interns. Transfer the responsibility of the straightforward queries that have a lot of historical data (to use for training), high volume (for ongoing learning and maximum impact) and low-business risk (for brand safety). Examples of repeatable queries that we automate for our customers include:

  • Order status
  • Refund requests and updates
  • Policy questions (warranty, baggage fees, return/exchange)
  • Store finder and hours
  • Subscription/account changes
  • Password resets
  • Troubleshooting
  • Product care and use

Make sure that your AI can access real-time information from Order Management Systems, CRM platforms, and other core business systems to resolve tickets in a few seconds. When customers are not kept waiting, CSAT increases.

AI uplifts human agents

AI can work wonders even when it’s not closing tickets.

Deploy AI when the human agent ultimately makes the decision. Train the AI to gather information and ask the initial questions before a ticket even reaches a human’s queue. A few examples of ways our customers deploy AI to collect information for a human agent include:

  • Asking for an account or loyalty number
  • Confirming an email address associated with an order or booking
  • Asking for specifics around a problem the customer is experiencing
  • Confirming the product, flight or date-of-stay that the customer is inquiring about
  • Gathering the proof required for price adjustments

AI should also gather relevant information from CRM and other customer service platforms to package up all data needed for human agents to make a quick call.

Humans remain in control

Every company has sensitive situations that will always need human oversight. If there are questions about a recall, issues caused by using a product, complaints regarding service or even refunds over a certain amount, the company and customer will benefit from getting these tickets into the hands of the human agent quickly. The good news is that with AI automating resolutions to many tickets and assisting in a large percentage of the other queries, human agents will have more time to spend on these more complex customer needs and get to them quicker.

Are you ready to get started?

Let’s take a thoughtful approach to deploy automation across your customer support organization. We can help you identify where your customer service queries should fall across these three buckets: automated resolutions, AI + human tag-team, and human-owned queries.

Let’s chat

For more information on AI and customer service, visit:

Fake News: AI for Customer Service – Hype vs. Reality

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Mar 26, 2019

When it comes to automated customer service, there’s a lot of news. We’re doing a fact check to let you know what’s hype and what’s possible today.

The evolution of AI is pretty remarkable. Just look at self-driving cars. While it is astonishing how far the technology has come and the pilot programs that are underway, the days when we’re all watching our favorite shows while our cars whisk us to work are still a few years off. If you read the headlines, though, you might think we’re either going to have fleets of autonomous cars on our highways tomorrow or self-driving cars will end humanity as we know it.

As with many things these days, there’s a lot of polarizing fake news circulating around AI, including with the application of automated customer service. Some reports and companies have over-hyped the capabilities of AI promising solutions that are not capable of today.  Others have issued scare tactics akin to the Hollywood portrayal of artificial intelligence, shunning the technology in the name of job loss or the ability for AI to provide a meaningful impact.

Let’s fact check some of the most prevalent things we hear:  

HEADLINE: AI can automate ALL of your customer support queries

FACT CHECK: AI can automate your high-volume, repeatable queries (~35%)

AI for customer service can effectively resolve repeatable, simple queries like order status, account/subscription updates or refund requests. By integrating with core systems, like CRM and OMS, an automated agent can provide replies to customer queries in a few seconds. You should not try to automate complex or emotionally-charged topics. The queries that require some level of objectivity or empathy need human oversight.  

HEADLINE: Your customers hate bots.

FACT CHECK: When deployed correctly, customers appreciate the convenience and instantaneous results that bots can provide.

This one is tricky. Consumers are excited about getting personalized, instantaneous support that is made available with AI.  It’s fair to say, though, that most people feel shortchanged by the interactions they’ve had with customer service bots to date, noting they are not as good as humans at accomplishing things or have not been given the authority to make decisions.

Automated agents need to have the authority to resolve tickets; empowered to approve or reject a return request, upgrade someone on a flight or refund someone under a certain price point. Make sure you always give customers an “out” to speak with a human in every circumstance.

HEADLINE: AI can predict customer needs.

FACT CHECK: With the right integrations, such as the Zoho chatbot, AI can help deliver proactive customer service.

While full-blown predictive service capabilities are still being developed, proactive service is a reality. if you integrate your AI platform with your core systems of record, you can proactively reach out to customers with important information. For instance, if a sweater comes back in stock that was sitting in a person’s cart, proactively send them a message to know it’s now available. If a snowstorm will cause a package to be delivered outside of the promised window, you can automate a message to the customer to let them know.

HEADLINE: AI will wipe out customer support jobs.  

FACT CHECK: AI needs to collaborate with human agents to provide frustration-free service

There’s a clear division of labor between human and AI in customer support. AI needs to be deployed to solve repeatable queries, while uplifting human agents to resolve the rest. AI can collect information from the customer or other business systems to package relevant information for a human agent to review and make a decision. AI leads to happier employees, as their jobs become more fulfilling (more high-impact work, less mundane tasks) decreasing agent turnover.

In summary, AI is advancing at a pretty incredible rate….. and the industry is still maturing. AI needs to be deployed within contact centers correctly to solve the right issues (highly repeatable), leverage natural language understanding to empower customers to engage naturally and connect to the right internal systems to have the authority to resolve.

Ready to have a real, hype-free conversation about automated customer service?  Let’s chatWe promise to leave the fake news at the door. 

For more information on customer service, visit:

How to Get Executive Buy in for AI-Powered Customer Service

Written by Emily Cummins  on   Mar 12, 2019

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 customer support 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 integrations, such as Zoho chatbot, 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 the real value will be 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.

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“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]

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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 With AI-Powered Customer Service

Identify very defined use cases for customer service automation 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 train AI. AI and customer service is such a great place to start, 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 infrequently and don’t require human oversight.

3) Create a Game Plan for a Human Agents and AI-Powered Customer Service

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 autonomously, 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 is a 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 a 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 for AI-Powered Customer Service

You cannot afford to delay adopting an AI-powered customer experience 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.

Are you ready to become an internal champion for AI and transform your customer support with automation? Let’s chat about AI and chatbot tools.

For more information on customer service, visit: