AI for Customer Service: Comprehensive Guide with 6 Practical Use Cases

November 28, 2018

Anand Kannan

AI for Customer Service: Comprehensive Guide with 6 Practical Use Cases

Customer service is the heart of every business; yet, not a super easy task to be accomplished. Most companies employ an army of executives to meet the customers’ requests to retain with their brands. Still, it becomes an arduous task to stay tuned with customers 24/7; as a result, leaves a few customers outraged, leading to business downturns.

The evolution of technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) has transformed the business landscape and has enabled brands to save cost and time, in addition to improving efficiency through uninterrupted customer support and service.

A latest Gallup study reveals that a quarter of Millennials are fully engaged customers, and their engagement is highly dependent on technology.

Before diving into the comprehensive benefits of using AI for customer service and the 6 practical use cases, let’s shed light on customer service challenges and significance of customer satisfaction for your business.

Customer service challenges

According to a Forrester report, 72% of businesses say improving customer service is their top priority.

Satisfying customers is never easy considering the thriving user needs and transformation in preferences, buying behaviors. Enterprises are trying hard to retain customers through fitting services, yet haven’t achieved 100% because of limited resources, turnaround time, lack of expertise, and too many requests to handle at a time, round the clock working hours etc.

Understanding customer service

Customers are the king and businesses understanding this are seeing positive results. Unfailing customer service is the key. To offer one, understanding the customers in-and-out is a must; not only that but also offering wonderful service to customers before, during and after their buyer journey is critical for 100% customer retention.

Ultimately, it’s all about satisfying the customers during every stage (journey) and convincing them to make repeated visits. Put simply, it’s all about making happy and loyal customers bonded strongly to your brand.

Benefits of customer satisfaction

Understanding customers superpowers businesses to focus on delivering constant personalized support, service that boosts the brand reputation and customer retention. Also, this offers a multitude of benefits to enterprises.

A few of top benefits include:

  • 100% customer retention
  • Assured customer loyalty
  • Amazing customer referrals (word of mouth, reviews, ratings, comments)
  • 90% Customer satisfaction
  • Enhanced ROI

What is Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is an emerging technology focusing on mimicking the human characteristics by training machines through gathered data sets using NLU/NLP/NLG and machine learning for delivering faster, efficient and cost-effective services 24/7, without any breaks, to satisfy customers to the fullest.

Artificial Intelligence is growing furiously and recent statistics show that brands investing in AI are likely to experience better results than their counterparts.

AI for customer service

From a latest survey it is identified that a few brands have realized that the marketing trend would be AI and customer personalization.

And, automating the customer service process is the best and efficient way to satisfy customers. There is a dime a dozen ways, but top brands bet on Artificial Intelligence solution to automate and enhance customer service.

With an AI solution, the process of addressing customer queries, complaints and grievances is simpler, faster and easier.

This is how it works.

Automate – AI chatbots/virtual assistants for customer support

AI for customer service works in 3 parts. Of them, the part automation is critical as this reduces the manpower, cost and time and increases efficiency.

The automation can be achieved through chatbots or virtual assistants, depending upon the unique business requirements.

Powered with Natural Language Programming, the chatbots/virtual assistants can initiate automated conversations with the customers, reducing the time and efforts of customer support executives to focus on business growth programs. They even help in routing certain complex queries during interactions to humans to ensure 100% customer satisfaction.

Engage – Interact, capture customer insights, provide instant solution, retain customers

The toughest task for any business is collecting a huge volume of customer data from multiple touch points and deep diving into analysis to create personalized offers. This is a backbreaking and time-consuming process involving a lot of time, efforts and resources.

Having an AI-powered chatbot can make the entire process pretty simple and straightforward.

From a study, it is evident that most customers prefer texting, rather than talking to an executive. So, having an AI chatbot will help your brand automate the service process and help connect better to customers easily.

The bots trained with NLP/ML can answer most of the common queries of customers. Answering complex queries requires deep learning as this enables the bot to understand specific queries of customers on products/services from different demography.

Conversing with customers enable the virtual assistants to garner critical customer insights: ‘name, contact details (emails or phone number), preferences, styles, personality, product interests etc. The data captured will be available at the backend and this data will again be used creating personalized offers for each customer.

Manage ‘manage customers’ data effectively for creating personalized offers

A huge challenge for businesses is managing the customer data collected and creating buyer personas to approach them with personalized offers.

Mapping the customer journey and creating buyer persona is amazingly simpler with the data collected by chatbots across different touch points. Now, the marketers will have a plenty of customer data in no time and breaking down the data into silos and creating a buyer persona won’t take more than a few minutes.

With in-and-out of customer data in the hands, targeting the customers with personalized offers is simple.

Benefits of AI for customer service

  • Faster
  • 24/7 Support
  • Interactive, engaging
  • Simplified data collection
  • Personalization
  • Customer retention
  • Satisfied customers

6 Practical use cases

1. Virtual assistants or chatbots for continuous engagement

Virtual assistants or chatbots are the most widely used by top brands to interact with customers. Powered with an AI interface, these handy tools are amazing options for answering customers’ queries instantly.

However, they are mostly used to handle only the simple queries, and not so convincing with complex ones. A huge benefit with Chatbots/Virtual Assistants is their quickness, efficiency and round the clock working ability, without any breaks.

2. Utilizes sentiment analysis for understanding customer mood

Understanding the intent of customers is critical when it comes to handling their queries. Every customer is unique and so their queries.

Understanding whether the customer is neutral or angry is a must before delighting with a fitting reply. The approach should be different to satisfy an angry customer compared to a neutral one. And, sentimental analysis gained using the AI comes in handy to foresee customers’ emotions for providing relevant responses.

3. Automates routing to help customers connect with real human

Today, even thoroughly NLP-trained chatbots can’t handle some complex queries from users. It is critical to route the call to a human when users look for something very specific. In such conditions transferring the calls to humans is imminent.

AI can help businesses route such calls to humans directly, understanding the criticality of the calls and customer mood swings, for delivering better customer satisfaction and retention.

4. Helps customers to buy better products

By understanding the personal preferences of customers from the chat history, the bots can pitch in with an upgraded product/technology rather than the one they look out for. This creates a win-win situation for both the brand and customers.

Such interactive engagements result in creating loyal customers to the brand, and subsequently improve ROI.

5. Prevents fraud during payments to ensure security

Payments landscape is going berserk, thanks to the evolution of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Robotic Process Automation. The eCommerce landscape has shifted to mobiles and enabling friction-less payments at checkouts is almost a must to avoid cart abandonment.

Automated payments are always subject to risk. AI enabled payment automation helps prevent frauds by understanding user preferences and identifying the change in buying or payment patterns. This ensures payment security of customers’ and improves their trust in the brand.

6. Ensures faster and accurate customer response when combined with RPA

Robotic Process Automation is utilized for performing the mundane repetitive tasks that are backbreaking for humans. The bots hit the backend to acquire the data customers request for and provide instant responses to users.

However, these bots are rule-based. Powered with AI, the bots can even perform better and produce accurate and faster results to customers. Both AI and RPA are the key elements of most successful companies today as they can transform the way customer service has been performed earlier and ensure 100% customer satisfaction.

So, put simply, the evolution of Artificial Intelligence has started to transform the business landscape, irrespective of business sizes and verticals, and businesses adapting to the new norm are performing exceptionally.

Is your business ready to revolutionize the customer service process with AI? Get started now!

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