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5 Ways AI is Improving Customer Service

The customer service manager role is undergoing a technology-driven evolution. Artificial intelligence (AI) and automation are enabling managers to elevate customer experience while achieving new levels of operational efficiency.

In this post, we'll explore the key ways AI and automation are transforming the customer service manager role. You'll understand the benefits, risks, and tools that underpin this transformation.

The Promise of AI for Customer Service Managers

AI has vast potential to assist customer service managers. Let's examine some of the key benefits:

Improved efficiency - By automating repetitive tasks, AI frees up managers to focus on high-value activities like employee coaching and service innovation.

Higher productivity - Basic customer queries can be handled by AI chatbots, enabling agents to resolve more complex issues. This enhances productivity.

Greater consistency - AI delivers standardised responses, ensuring a reliable service that isn't dependent on individual agents.

More self-service - Intelligent FAQ bots and virtual assistants empower customers to self-serve, reducing call volumes.

Better forecasting - Sophisticated AI analytics help managers anticipate demand changes and align staffing needs.

Enhanced CX - With 24/7 automated assistance and hyper-personalisation, AI facilitates superior customer experiences.

When thoughtfully implemented, AI-enabled automation can help managers boost operational performance across the board.

The Risks of Relying Too Heavily on AI

However, an over-dependence on AI carries risks that managers must remain mindful of:

Deskilling employees - If agents handle only complex issues, basic service skills may deteriorate.

Weakening workforce morale - Some staff may view AI as a job threat rather than an aid. Clear change management is vital.

Limiting service flexibility - Rigid chatbots frustrate customers with their inability to understand nuanced queries.

Undermining privacy - Extensive customer data collection raises ethical concerns over consent and transparency.

Lacking human touch - For emotionally charged issues like complaints or bereavement, human interaction remains indispensable.

The smartest managers will tap AI's potential while retaining a human-centric approach. Let's explore some of the top AI applications transforming customer service management.

5 Key AI Applications for Customer Service Managers

1. Intelligent Chatbots

AI-powered chatbots are already handling millions of customer queries worldwide. Natural language processing (NLP) enables bots like Bold360 to understand text-based conversations. With their 24/7 availability and query handling speed, chatbots offer immense efficiency benefits.

However, chatbots have limitations. To ensure positive customer experiences, managers should:

  • Complement chatbots with human agents at key moments
  • Continuously train chatbots on new data using machine learning
  • Test chatbots extensively before launch

2. Voice Bots

Voice-based AI assistants are gaining popularity through services like Alexa and Google Assistant. For customer service, voice bots promise more natural customer interactions using speech recognition and generation.

Key benefits include:

- Increased self-service options through voice commands

- Reduced effort for users compared to typing

- Personalised responses tailored to the user's tone and sentiment

Managers must audit voice bot responses to avoid frustrations like repeated clarification requests.

3. Predictive Analytics

Harnessing big data, predictive analytics tools empower managers to make smart forecasting decisions using AI algorithms. Applications include:

Forecasting demand - By assessing past patterns and external factors, managers can better plan staffing levels.

Predicting churn - Analysing customer behaviour can identify those likely to churn, enabling proactive retention campaigns.

Routing calls - Predicting the nature of incoming calls allows intelligent pre-routing to suitable agents.

To benefit from predictive analytics, managers need a data-driven culture and skilled analytics translators.

4. Agent Assist Tools

For call centre agents, AI can provide real-time guidance and performance optimisation. Assist tools like Cogito and Observe.AI analyse interactions to improve outcomes. Key capabilities include:

  • Monitoring calls for keywords, sentiment, and acoustic signals
  • Suggesting better responses to frustrations based on analysis
  • Proactively alerting agents to opportunities for upsells or satisfaction surveys
  • Providing post-call feedback for continuous learning
  • Managers should align assist tools to long-term capability building rather than short-term optimisation.

5. Intelligent Knowledge Management

Customer queries often centre around frequently asked questions. Managers can optimise self-service options using AI-enhanced knowledge management platforms like Guru and ProProfs.

Key features include:

- Searching knowledge bases using NLP

- Recommending helpful articles based on customer questions

- Identifying new FAQs by analysing customer interactions

- Suggesting knowledge improvements to optimise findability

By keeping knowledge organised and accessible, these platforms minimise escalations to human agents.

Case study: How airlines are using AI

Airlines, including the Oneworld airline alliance, are using AI to improve the booking experience for round-the-world tickets. They have partnered with Elemental Cognition to develop a generative AI chatbot that enables self-service round-the-world trip planning.

This AI-powered tool helps customers navigate the complex process of planning these intricate trips, which involve hundreds of possible destinations and millions of flight combinations.

The Oneworld alliance recognises the value of AI in testing different permutations and providing personalised recommendations to customers.

The initial results are very promising – those customers using the new tool are four times more likely to create bookable itineraries that meet their requirements than those using the standard interface.

This AI-powered chatbot allows customers to explore various flight combinations and destinations, making the round-the-world ticketing process more accessible and efficient.

Major companies are also using AI technology to provide destination suggestions and streamline the booking process. While AI tools are currently focused on assisting travellers in planning their trips and finding activities at their destinations, they are not yet sophisticated enough to handle tasks like flight booking.

However, AI is expected to automate simple bookings in the future, while still allowing for the value of human connection and the enjoyment of the planning process.

The Future of Customer Service Management

AI adoption in customer service will continue accelerating in the years ahead. As dependency on AI tools grows, managers should retain focus on the human touchpoints that matter most.

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Here are two forward-looking trends managers should prepare for:

- Conversational AI - With advances in NLP, the dialogue capacity of chatbots will become more versatile. Voice-based interactions will also become smoother and more contextual.

- Hyper-personalisation - Using big data, AI will construct detailed customer profiles to enable ultra-tailored services and predictive engagement.

Rather than a wholesale replacement of service roles, astute managers can harness AI as an augmenting ally. By balancing AI capabilities with human experience, managers can reshape customer service to be efficient, consistent, and empathic.

The future remains human-centric.

Now that you're familiar with AI's customer service impact, why not explore some AI tools on our AI marketplace? We offer a range of leading customer service AI to help your organisation unlock efficiency, insights, and innovation.

You can also visit our Artificial intelligence page to learn more about the different types of AI and how they are shaping the business world.

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