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Does Your Service Business Need AI?

Published:
June 26, 2024

Table of Contents

Yes, your service business need AI—there’s no doubt about it. But the next question to consider is how far AI should impact customer service operations. This is where things get tricky. AI chatbots can efficiently handle automated information delivery, but they should not be used for auto-generated messages when dealing with angry or dissatisfied customers. This is the fine line that service industry employees must draw with AI.

While we’ve outlined the reasons why service businesses need AI, it’s crucial to remain aware of the challenges that come with it. Balancing AI’s capabilities with the need for human empathy is key. Read on to explore these insights and more.

1. To reduce call wrap times

Remember that episode in Friends where Phoebe waits forever for a customer service agent to attend her? Phoebe perfectly captures the agony of customers left hanging. So, what can customer services do when demand is overwhelming? It’s not just phone calls—they’re dealing with live chats, text chats, and more. We can’t blame them, but we can’t leave it like that either, because this is where customer dissatisfaction starts. Fortunately, this problem can be easily solved with AI live calls and chat transcripts. This is precisely why your service business needs AI. While AI helps reduce the load, it’s crucial for customer service agents to ensure that call summaries are accurately documented and necessary steps are taken to address concerns.

Uses of AI assisted calling

Quick call summaries: AI can quickly generate concise summaries of your customer calls, capturing all the important details.

Efficient problem identification: AI helps you identify the customer’s issue, whether it’s an outage, high bill, or leak, making it easier to diagnose and resolve problems.

Easy documentation: AI helps you document customer issues accurately and systematically, ensuring all relevant information is recorded.

Fast follow-up actions: AI can create and schedule follow-up actions, like arranging service calls or enrolling customers in programs, right after identifying the issue.

Program matching and enrollment: AI extracts details of utility programs discussed during the call and matches them with the right programs in the system, making it easy to enroll customers in programs like Smart Time of Use or Auto-Pay.

Customer intent recognition: AI detects the customer’s decisions, like accepting or declining program enrollments, and accurately marks these decisions in the system for future reference.

Consistent and accurate: Automated summaries and documentation by AI ensure consistency and reduce errors, leading to more reliable customer service records.

Time and resource savings: By automating call wrap-up processes, AI saves you time and resources, allowing you to focus on more complex customer interactions.

2. To provide round the clock support

Just because service agents aren’t working on the weekend doesn’t mean customers aren’t faced with problems and concerns. Questions from customers don’t take time off, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week…customers have questions. While being unavailable on weekends may be unavoidable, you can’t let your customers suffer if you want to keep them. During your downtime, when your regular staff is unavailable to answer your customers’ questions, AI chatbots can provide your customers with a tool to get their questions answered. Compiling FAQ lists and making them available is another way to help your customers. Providing access to self-service tools they can use when your agent is unavailable will help retain customers you might otherwise lose. In short, if there are times you are out of the office or your agents are unavailable, you need AI.

Uses of AI chatbots, live chats, self-service options, and FAQs

24/7 availability: AI chatbots are always available, so you can get help anytime.

Cost efficiency: you can reduce the need for a big customer support team and save on costs with automation and self-service options.

Quick response and resolution: AI chatbots and live chats give you immediate responses, while self-service options and faqs provide instant answers to common questions.

Scalability and multitasking: AI chatbots can handle many queries at once, making them great for busy times.

Personalization and data collection: AI chatbots use your data to give personalized support and gather valuable information for improving service.

Real-time interaction: Live chats let you talk to a real person immediately, which is great for complex issues.

Customer engagement: Live chats help you engage with customers directly, creating personal connections and offering proactive support.

Consistency and quality: AI chatbots provide consistent responses, ensuring a uniform experience, while live chats and self-service options maintain high service quality.

Resource efficiency: Reduce the workload on your customer support team by addressing repetitive questions with automated and self-service options.

Problem resolution and feedback collection: Live chats often solve issues quickly and gather real-time feedback for service improvements.

3. To give timely information to service agents

According to a report by Zendesk, 70% of CX leaders believe generative AI in customer service is making every interaction more efficient. Timely information plays a crucial role for any customer-facing team. Time can make or break your business. That said, service agents should be professionals when it comes to issuing prompt replies, resolving issues quickly, and drafting thorough documentation. If you are able to organize your time efficiently, you won’t need to deal with angry or frustrated customers. AI can help achieve this. An AI-powered knowledge base can direct agents to the relevant information they need quickly, greatly reducing time-to-resolution.

4. To expedite the email process

For customer service agents, managing the constant influx of emails is a daily reality. Each message requires thoughtful attention and timely responses. To alleviate this workload, many companies have turned to AI. These powerful tools can swiftly scan and tag emails, ensuring they are directed to the right department for efficient resolution. AI can also suggest responses based on successful past interactions, helping agents personalize their replies. Additionally, AI filters out spam and promotional emails, decluttering inboxes and allowing agents to focus on priority messages. By leveraging AI-powered email tools, customer service teams can streamline their operations, delivering prompt, personalized, and timely responses that enhance the customer experience.

5. To route calls to the right service agent

Customer-facing personnel can be expected to have the training needed to be successful. Customer service agents reflect their company’s values, by being well-informed and equipped to handle a variety of customers. But what is even better is not just assigning a knowledgeable agent, but also the right one. AI tools allow the assignment of technicians and field agents who have the right skill set and experience for a given call. Similarly, it is better if a single agent can follow a customer query from start to finish. With call routing powered by AI, this is possible. Available technicians can all be compared and analyzed in an instant, making sure the technician assigned is qualified for the task they are dispatched for.

6. To identify and resolve issues quickly

Service agent’s jobs are made easier when they can see images detailing the problems noted by a customer. Photos and video provide visual evidence, making it easier to identify not just the problem, but also what solution is most appropriate. Today’s service agents frequently use some sort of multimedia to help resolve issues quickly and reliably. But it can still take time. Photos and video may be unclear—service technicians are only human. This is where AI can help. By quickly analyzing the media provided and flagging the most likely issues, AI can help technicians quickly make sense of what they are seeing and choose an appropriate resolution.

Challenges of AI in customer service

Even though we’ve listed why service businesses need AI, there’s a lingering question: Are there any challenges in implementing it? What do you think are the challenges of AI in customer service? Share your thoughts in the comments below and let us know how impactful it is on your business.

The primary challenge in using artificial intelligence in customer service is maintaining quality. While AI can efficiently handle repetitive tasks and provide quick responses, it often lacks the nuanced understanding and empathy that human agents bring to interactions. Ensuring that AI systems deliver consistent and accurate information while preserving the human touch is crucial.

One major quality issue is the accuracy of responses. AI systems rely on data and algorithms, and if the input data is flawed or biased, the output will reflect these inaccuracies. This can lead to misunderstandings and incorrect solutions being provided to customers. Regular updates and continuous learning from vast amounts of data are necessary to keep the AI accurate and relevant, but this is an ongoing challenge.

Another aspect of quality is the personalization of interactions. While AI can analyze data to tailor responses, it can still struggle to replicate the genuine empathy and emotional intelligence that human agents naturally provide. Customers often seek reassurance and understanding, which are areas where AI might fall short. Striking a balance between automated efficiency and human empathy is essential to maintain high-quality customer service.

There is also the challenge of context understanding. AI systems need to comprehend the context of a customer’s query accurately to provide the right solution. This requires sophisticated natural language processing capabilities, which are continually evolving but not yet perfect. Misinterpretations can lead to customer frustration and decreased satisfaction.

Lastly, ensuring a seamless handoff between AI and human agents is crucial. When AI cannot resolve an issue, it must efficiently escalate the problem to a human agent without causing delays or confusion for the customer. Maintaining this smooth transition is vital for preserving the quality of the customer service experience.

Offload repetitive tasks to AI and elevate your focus on key tasks

Our take is that AI won’t pose a challenge to customer service as long as it’s not seen as a replacement for human agents. We won’t just say “strike a balance between technology and humans” because empathy is the crux of quality customer service. Instead, we suggest using AI for low-value tasks—those that are repetitive and don’t require the human touch.

Yes, the true value of customer service lies in meaningful interactions. Use AI to facilitate these interactions, not replace them. As long as AI is used for unproductive and repetitive tasks, it becomes an ally for your service agents, enhancing their efficiency and allowing them to focus on what truly matters: connecting with your customers on a human level.

Author

Picture of Jenefa Sweetlyn
Jenefa Sweetlyn
Jenefa Sweetlyn excels at writing straight-to-the-point, informative blogs that respect your valuable time. Her enthusiasm lies in empowering businesses with technology, especially intrigued by how field service management solutions can improve a company's ROI.

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