Automation is all around us. Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting more and more advanced literally by the day, and it’s hard to predict where things will end up just a few years from now. One thing is certain though – call center companies are going to continue automating as much as they can, and the more repetitive tasks at the lower levels are the ones that are going to get targeted first.
The customer service industry is already going through some major transformations as a result of the advance of automation technology, and we’re likely only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Many changes are coming up in the near future, and it’s important to be prepared for them. Call center companies have been working hard to adapt to these changes, and the results can be seen all around us.
More Efficient Communication
Communication is getting more streamlined and simplified for both ends, especially when it’s text-based. Instant messaging applications can now intelligently analyze a conversation and suggest the right responses to many queries. This is especially true in a field like a customer service, where many of the questions asked are repetitive and can be summarized to a few key points in the employee’s manual.
And with the way things are going right now, that’s far from the end of it. Even more complex questions are going to become feasibly answerable with the support of AI in the very near future.
Solving Problems Before They Arise
On a related note, sometimes queries can be answered before they’re even presented. This might sound strange, but it’s a perfectly valid assumption in some industries, where the customer support system might have access to a lot of data about any given user. The system may be able to use that information to predict when a customer has a problem, and propose a solution before they’ve even realized that something is wrong themselves.
Reducing Training Complexity
Training and the overall onboarding process remain major issues for call center companies. It’s not rare for employees to use a position as a jumping stone, going through all the relevant training to the end, only to quit after they’ve learned what they can. They can then use their experience to get a better paying position at another company.
With AI, that’s not really a problem anymore. Training is basically a one-time process. You can then replicate that knowledge to all your agents with one click, and ensure that the whole company is on board with any updates to standard procedures.
Optimizing Company Resources
You can also ensure that the company’s resources are utilized more efficiently with the help of modern AI technology. From internet bandwidth and power to more abstract resources like time, you have the power to not only analyze how these things are getting used on a daily basis, but you can also ensure that you minimize any excess expending of any of them.
This is something that takes time though, so don’t expect this particular effect to manifest itself too early. You’ll need to collect and analyze enough data about your processes before you get to that point. But if you have the appropriate systems in place, it’s only a matter of running them for long enough to collect large data sets that can then be investigated for patterns. Humans might not be able to spot most of these patterns most of the time, but it’s a different story when it comes to AI.
Faster, More Accurate Service
Customers can now waste much less of their time looking for an answer to their queries. Studies indicate that more than 2/3 of the time spent in a typical customer service call goes into research by the operator. Only 1/3 is an actual, meaningful conversation that addresses the customer’s concerns directly. And this is something that can certainly be changed, and we’re already seeing major progress on that front.
This is in part due to the simplified training approach that we described above. Companies can provide their AI agents with all the information they need to perform their work in one go, and they will know that each agent will have access to their full knowledge base within a fraction of a second.
A More Personal Approach
Not only that, but each customer can now be serviced in a more personalized way that matches their own expectations and situation. Having access to the full data set related to a particular customer, an AI agent can guide them to a solution that is much better aligned with what that customer might expect.
Combined with the faster approach that we described above, we have a very powerful situation for companies trying to get their customers serviced as quickly as possible, and with the best possible quality.
Letting Customers Solve Their Own Problems
Self-service options are also becoming quite popular, although they’re still in a relatively young phase of development. But we’re already seeing strong potential in this field, and it’s something that many companies are now studying in quite a lot of detail in order to improve their capabilities in this regard in the future.
The only reliable way to approach self-service functionality is with the help of advanced AI algorithms though. Otherwise, the service will be too impersonal to make any real difference, and most people would end up even more frustrated.
Expanding a business is never easy. Especially in an industry as volatile as customer service. You can never be too sure of whether you’re going to need those specific resources at a later point. However, AI can make those predictions much more viable and can give you a good insight into the directions where you need to take your company next. You’ll see your current flaws listed in an itemized manner, allowing you to easily go through them and address them according to their priority.
There are many ways in which AI is going to be useful to the customer service industry. We’re only seeing a few basic examples for now, but it’s pretty much guaranteed at this point that the industry is going to explode sooner or later. And while that’s unfortunate for those that will get phased out as their positions are replaced by AI systems, it’s a small price to pay for the huge progress we’ll make as a whole.
About Ruth Hoffman
Queen of Strategy And Sales Conversions: Helping Coaches & Professionals Transform Themselves Into A "Category of One". CEO of ruthhoffmann.com