This week we feature an article by Yura Filimonov who shares some of the many ways we can use AI to provide customer support. – Shep Hyken

The hype around AI is high, but it may seem unclear to businesses, whether they’ll benefit from it themselves. However, there are enough examples that prove that companies can analyze the data to categorize it, find patterns and provide personalized recommendations to their customers.

Proactive support

The most obvious way to provide proactive support is to help people searching for an answer in a knowledge base or not completing the order quickly – they’ll likely receive an email or a chat message to help them complete the purchase, using similar methods that have worked for customers in the past.

LG promises that AI in your car will tell your refrigerator when you are coming home and which groceries you need to pick up. In fact, LG pledged to include AI in every home appliance they make. Nest learns your heating needs and adjusts thermostat settings accordingly. Verizon fixes customer-affecting issues before they are noticed.

Extreme personalization via recommendation

AI can analyze customer data history and current customer choices to make recommendations about:

Always there for customers

AI is available 24/7 so that customers can get help, whenever they need it as long as they can make a phone call or access the internet. This is particularly important during peak hours, emergencies and the usual holiday havoc – not only can AI can predict the support demand for human support agents, but AI can also respond casually as if it is its normal work day.

Faster reaction time

AI can not only address every mundane customer issue but it can also predict and act almost immediately. Forget IVRs and long wait times. “The agent and bot version sees about 30 to 35% more efficiency than a solo agent as of today,” Robert LoCascio, LivePerson.

Self-service

You will eventually be able to resolve most mundane and simplest issues yourself thanks to:

  • automated processes and responses,
  • better knowledge and self-help recommendations,
  • extra data from devices with sensors in your home (Internet of Things).

What’s most important in self-service, is that customers can connect through several channels, including the phone, email, website, messenger, and social media.

While AI can’t solve every support issue, it can solve most repetitive tasks that comprise most of the requests. With time, enough data and better algorithms, AI will learn to handle complex tasks, but customer agents will still help customers with complicated matters.

KLM used a chatbot with Facebook Messenger to serve 15% of boarding passes to customers via the Messenger and DigitalGenius. AI handles 50% of all inquiries to KLM.

Better customer support, aided by AI

AI will not only help customers personally. It will also help support agents, who will be working on the cases that AI can’t solve alone using an approach called “blended AI.” This combines the best of two worlds: the omniscience and prediction of AI with the human touch of humans.

In this case, AI can:

  • work with more data and show the relevant bits to the support specialist
  • suggest ways to work on your case, based on what worked in previous cases
  • notice when a customer sounds dissatisfied or angry and suggest solutions to the operator.

A good example is Kate from Genesys, who can converse with customers by analyzing their data and pass over the case to the operator together with the necessary contextual data and recommendations how to handle the case better. Another useful example is that AI can analyze the boarding patterns in airports and predict how many of the passengers won’t show up to reduce overbooking.

Virtual assistants

While the term “virtual assistant” is often used for chatbots including Siri and Cortana, companies can use AI to determine usage patterns and deliver actionable insights into personal life.

Wallet.ai helps people make smarter decisions when spending their money, by analyzing the data collected to offer customers suggestions on how they can save.

Everlaw helps lawyers prepare for trials by finding documents helpful to the lawyer’s case and identifying those that need to be sent to the opposition to avoid a mistrial.

Instead of typing information into mobile apps, people can use Naturali to translate their speech into text to speed things up.

Voice-activated service

Speech recognition quality exceeding the acceptable 95% has blown up the niche of speech recognition products. It might not seem like a big deal, but speech recognition allows us to:

  • command our own smart home
  • write messages, articles and books by voice
  • use devices via voice when typing is not convenient or safe
  • search online
  • process payments
  • allow people who can’t type to interact with the surrounding world easier by speaking

Voice-controlled computing can change how people work – 37% of workers use voice recognition at work right now.

Yura Filimonov is captivated by the potential of AI technology and he wrote a pragmatic guide to using AI in contact centers. He’s a Marketing Manager for customer engagement software, RichCall.

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.

Read Shep’s latest Forbes Articles: Cutting-Edge CX Lessons From A Surgery Center

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