For businesses, providing great service is more important than ever. More companies are realizing that staying competitive they must invest in service. But what does investing in service mean? Sure, it could mean hiring more service representatives, creating more products, or offering more service options such as crowdsourced service. But there’s one investment that’s a very smart one for service businesses when looking towards the future: artificial intelligence (AI).
Though once a concept stuck in sci-fi films and novels, AI in the real world is rapidly improving. Artificial intelligence has all sorts of capabilities ranging from voice recognition to facial recognition to responding to text messages. However, artificial intelligence is still a concept and not a standalone technology. It must work alongside other technology to provide value to users, and this is how it can improve service:
The AI Conversation Tree is Useful
Right now, often AI service interactions work a lot like a “Create Your Own Adventure” novel or a quiz flow chart that you’d see in a magazine titled something like, “To Buy a Dog or Not to Buy a Dog?” What follows is a series of questions such as “Do you like dogs?” and then a line branching out to two answers, “Yes” and “No.” Depending on which branch you choose, you flow on to the next question or a definitive answer suggestion.
Service AI conversation dialogue trees work in a similar way right now. The AI will analyze the questions and answer you type in and try to understand what you mean. Based on that, it will respond accordingly to the topic. Because of up and coming technology like chat bots, this has become a lot better for businesses and useful to customers who can do things such as make service appointments using a chatbot. But the technology to understand voice recognition and Natural Language Processing (computers ability to comprehend natural human ways of speaking) is still being improved.
AI Leads to More Efficient Service
Because of artificial intelligence, service will become more efficient. AI can handle far more queries than human service representatives. AI can also filter service questions, so that humans only get the very difficult queries that require a human touch or empathy. This way, service reps are freed up to build better customer relationships and find ways to add value to the customer.
AI-powered virtual assistants that can complete the most frequent requests make automation a reality for service-based business. For example, Swedbank uses an AI-based virtual assistant to help with transactional service requests such as transferring money, which make up the majority of requests that come in. This frees up service representatives to add value by helping customers with more complicated requests such as assistance buying a car. Using a knowledge database filled with the customer’s history and information given during service center calls, AI helped solve 78% of Swedbank’s requests on the first try.
And at Mila, we use AI to provide efficient service by having an algorithm that can anticipate where service calls will come in, so we can be sure to have nearby, local crowd service members ready to go to help customers. Without AI, we would not be able to dispatch our crowd members so quickly, and provide customers with fast service.
Humans Still Need to Be Involved with AI
Although AI is more affordable and scalable than using human service reps, often humans are still needed to be involved in the service process. AI is not yet 100% accurate in solving problems or participating in customer discussions without at least some human involvement. However, since there are generally a limited number of customer problem query topics and solutions, AI uses math vectors to process words and find a solution for the customer faster than a human service rep would. AI can do mundane and repetitive tasks all by itself, but human-assisted AI is rapidly growing because sometimes bots make mistakes or seem too “bot-like,” which can make for a negative customer experience. For example, ASOS chatbots created an angry customer (and a viral news story) when there was a glitch that caused it to reply to a customer’s request with offensive replies that made no sense given the context of what the customer typed in, only making the customer even angrier.
In service, AI works best when combined with a human being’s ability to feel empathy and have emotional intelligence, along with AI’s machine intelligence and machine learning capabilities. With AI, service reps can focus on creating incredible customer experiences rather than slogging through the mundane day after day.