When does artificial intelligence trump traditional customer service?

Harder, better, faster, stronger? From plastic bags to shaving foam, electronic duo Daft Punk has used an array of eccentric headgear to hide their identities — most of which have been robot-inspired.

When asked how robots became a style inspiration, one half of the duo simply replied, “robots are exiting.” Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) have long been present in pop culture. As the technology evolves, however, we’re seeing the practicalities of AI in business applications — not just on stage and screen.

Here, we explore how AI is changing customer service.

What is the future of AI?

There will always be an argument for the importance of the human touch in customer service. But the introduction of AI is driving home the reality that certain things are just better when automated.

For example, AI is simply better at providing businesses with instant insights. In moments, it can generate informative analytics and reports based on the preferences of its customers.

When implemented into business automation software, predictive analytics technology can provide businesses with an insight into the behaviour paths of its customers.

AI documents and records each customer interaction in real-time. Then, it can analyse the interaction against other customer data. (Such as purchase history, brand and product preferences, and internal website searches.)

The result is an intelligent view of the customer – generated immiediately and without human effort.

An ecommerce example

Consider an ecommerce business selling tickets for concerts and live events an example. Our customer has visited the website a few times to check the prices for a Daft Punk concert. Let’s call the customer Andy.

Now, AI knows of Andy’s interest because he’s followed the Twitter event page. But, monitoring the backend of the ecommece platform, AI also knows that tickets are running low.

So, AI can then remind Andy that there are only a handful of tickets remaining. It can send this automated reminder via email, SMS or using social media advertising. After all, AI will already know Andy’s marketing preference.

Naturally, you could collect some of this data manually by trawling CRM records, purchase history and social media accounts. But AI can deliver data-driven actions automatically.

There’s no legwork or endless administrative tasks for contact centre agents to follow up. And, better still, the ways AI can power faster, personalised customer service don’t end there.

Machine learning

Machine learning is the next step in this model of customer service. Unlike traditional customer service technology, AI can use existing information and datasets to ‘train’ itself how to deal with similar interactions in the future.

Of course, companies must ensure that their datasets are up-to-date and organised to make machine learning possible. But once this process has been perfected, AI can manage a prospective customer through the entire sales funnel. That spans the very first webpage visit, right up to the doors of the concert venue.

A nod to Daft Punk

Daft Punk was right, robots are exciting. However, there’s more to robotics and AI than metallic headgear and on-stage laser shows.

AI has the potential to make customer service interactions faster, more intelligent and more personalised. While there’s no denying the need for the human touch, some things really are better automated.

Useful links

What is machine learning? A beginner’s guide

Keeping up with customers’ AI expectations

Milestones in artificial intelligence

NB: We originally published a version of this article here.