There is no discussion:
Artificial intelligence (AI) has come to a halt and with its introduction, much will change. The topic has already generated a lot of headlines and readers want to know if robots are ready to take their jobs or if technology will only help make it less tedious to fill out forms.
A lot of companies have already started. Amazon and Google are competing to enter consumers’ homes with devices that offer voice-guided technology and help perform routine tasks. At the same time, more than one million user-based messaging platforms attract the promise of a golden world where data is taken care of by robots when the needs are so simple that automated solutions are sufficient.
Already, many websites have virtual assistants who help users find answers by offering a better user experience than the average page search box does. This way, the user also does not have to sit in telephone queues.
How does AI work?
Creating well-functioning AI requires quite extensive underlying technology. Machine learning looks for patterns and these patterns can be found in customers’ most frequently asked questions or in the results generated by individual answers. The use of machine learning will thus play an increasingly important role in detecting knowledge gaps and act as a tool when companies gather knowledge about customer behavior in self-service.
Natural Language Processing is another relevant technology that helps identify a customer’s intent and guide the process of matching questions with answers. Automated language has been used for some time and is changing the way customers engage with IVR by removing the often complex menu-based interface that can seem frustrating. The same technology is now used to control self-service calls within defined subject areas without compromising relevance.
Why do we need AI?
Automation with AI fits well with customers’ increasing expectations for companies. The mobile consumer expects close to 100 percent availability and being able to handle their questions themselves and directly. It should be simple, fast, well designed and easily navigated so that the user gets the result with the least effort. AI fills in the gap between the customer’s expectation level and the difficulties we have seen so far with self-service.
As a comparison to this kind of functionality, we have Google giving access to the vast range of the Internet with the help of a simple, yet smart interface. Simply because it is just a search box, smart because it teaches the user behavior and applies behavioral insights from billions of other times users have requested a service similar to the one they are looking for. This gives the user a fast and relevant result. It is this level of service that digital assistants can provide and that we should strive for.
Where do you start?
We have all this ahead of us. At least when it comes to where most organizations are today. So where do you start? What is an appropriate level of ambition?
We can start by stating that AI is here to stay and that will fundamentally change customer service. Therefore, it is important to create a solid base and strategy for AI in customer service. It is also important to implement the thinking and to get colleagues and finance managers to understand the benefits of ongoing investments in smart solutions.
Therefore, start in the lighter part of the scale. If you are in a business with high call load and voice-based customer service then it might be time to look at IVR solutions. Start by looking at your self-service portal and the value that is now offered in your frequently asked questions. This is where many organizations started their AI journey and from there they build on.