Last update: 10 Nov, 2020
The use of AI in customer service does not automatically mean the use of a bot. Nor does it mean that customers have as little contact as possible with an employee. Rather, it is about employees taking care of the demanding, complex enquiries of their customers, supported as best as possible by AI and thus optimising the customer's service experience. Welcome to the world of intelligent assistance solutions!
Questions about an order, changes of address or payment method, the current account or meter reading - standard enquiries of this kind reach the customer service of companies probably tens of thousands of times every day. Experience shows that standard enquiries account for 50 to 60 per cent of all enquiries. Processing them takes time, but rarely overtaxes the mind. Ideal conditions for using an AI-based bot to relieve customer service. In doing so, they ask themselves questions in advance such as "Is the investment worth it for our customer dialogues?", "How do I find the best AI strategy?" or "How costly is the implementation of a bot?" Then come questions about implementation, for example, or about how much optimisation potential and time savings a bot actually brings in practice. This can be estimated quite well based on the type and number of requests and converted into paid working hours. Based on existing project data, it can be proven, for example, that a fully automated, case-closing transaction processing of an incoming email of medium complexity brings an average time saving of 20 minutes. So is fully automated customer service the solution? No.
What bots can do: They can easily work through purely repetitive tasks around the clock, 365 days a year - without holidays, without sleep, without quitting time and without a lack of motivation. But that is not the only thing that distinguishes them from employees. Everything that characterises capable employees is lacking in them: Commitment, intellect, tact, the will to solve problems. So bots are not employees and employees should not work like a bot, because they have other skills. AI cannot replace them. But it can assist, complement and support them. Even when dealing with complex tasks, such as complaints or technical support, there are subtasks that can be completed faster with AI than on foot by the employee - for example, the provision of information. Seen from this perspective, smart assistants are a practical tool, a tool for dealing with complex requests and workflows.
So how can AI support an employee? AI-based assistance solutions are able, for example, to recognise the content of a telephone enquiry via speech analysis and immediately take down relevant content. This saves the employee having to take notes themself - and also the mistakes they make when taking notes, such as transposed numbers or the like. Instead, they can concentrate fully on the telephone conversation. The AI assistant searches the CRM for the correct data record and displays it immediately in the client. And the smart assistant not only transcribes the spoken word, but also recognises relevant information, which it enters directly into forms, for example. If relevant content of the conversation is recognised, such as a product number, an invoice number or keywords, a smart assistant can immediately display the corresponding or matching content and thus instantly gives the employee a picture of what the customer is about.
Instead of a tedious search in different systems, the employee has all the important information at his fingertips. This brings momentum to the daily service work and also clears the way for cross-selling and upselling, which, with the right talent, is certainly more fun than changing the hundredth address or typing in meter readings for days.
And in the process, something else comes to mind that a bot CANNOT do: Being happy about a successful sale, a won back customer and a mutually positive, friendly customer contact!
Author: Florian Daerr