AI is revolutionizing customer service in 2023. It’s helping agents save time, manage higher case volumes, and work better, while providing customers with superior, frictionless experiences. So it’s really not surprising that, according to Salesforce’s global Trends in Workflow Automation report, customer service AI use is growing year-on-year—and a majority of service leaders have a mature plan for AI implementation.
The latest AI tools work behind the scenes to help you deliver personalized experiences at scale, while simultaneously making your agents’ lives easier. You can use them to automate repetitive tasks, predict customer churn, route calls, and more. If you’re planning on making your business more AI-friendly, here are some tips on how to get started from scratch.
How is AI used in customer service?
AI is used in customer service in two primary ways:
- For customer-facing interactions. Conversational chatbots provide customers with better self-service experiences. AI can answer their questions straight away, refer them to an informative list of FAQs, or route them to the right person or department.
- For your employee's day-to-day tasks. Among other features, AI can help customer service agents compose and respond to emails, automatically enter customer data across different platforms, and pull up customer data quickly from multiple systems.
How does AI improve customer service?
AI is used in customer service to help customer service agents be more productive, and to provide customers with better experiences. These two goals go hand in hand: if you empower your employees with the right tools, they'll be in a position to serve your customers better. Additionally, AI and customer service automation help teams manage higher case volumes—according to Dialpad's research, contact centers using AI are able to handle more than double the number of calls.
AI for customer service: technologies to consider
Artificial intelligence covers a range of different technologies. You’ve probably heard about ChatGPT, for example, a generative AI tool that's gained a lot of attention. But there are other types of AI, too, like computer vision (AI that helps computers capture data from images and video) and natural language processing (NLP), which helps computers understand human text conversations and speech.
Different AI technologies can help you transform your customer service function. For example:
- Chatbots powered by conversational AI can handle simple customer queries, making sure your customers have 24/7 access to customer support, and easing your agents' workloads.
- Text analysis and predictive analytics can help you analyze customer interactions to understand their sentiments and predict churn.
- Intelligent automation (IA, a combination of robotic process automation and AI) helps customer service teams automate repetitive tasks and aggregate data from different systems, allowing them to serve customers quicker and more efficiently. IA also has various other helpful use cases, such as automated call routing.
- Task automation tools like Magical help your support agents automate repetitive tasks, respond quicker to customer queries, save and use message templates wherever they work, and more. Magical’s AI assist lets your agents use ChatGPT’s powers wherever they work, helping them compose messages, craft responses, create templates, and summarize information.
How to implement customer service AI in your business
Want to transform your customer experience and radically improve your team's productivity? Here's how you can start implementing customer service AI today.
1. Map out your existing customer service interaction journey
Your customers interact with your business at several touchpoints: via support emails, live chat, social media accounts, blog and FAQ sections, and so on. If you want to introduce AI into the mix, you need to determine where it best fits in the customer journey. What touchpoints will you introduce AI to? How will your employees work alongside AI to deliver superior customer experiences?
Answer these questions by mapping out your existing customer service journey first. Create a visual representation of all the interactions your customers have with your business, where your human agents come in, and where AI can potentially add value.
2. Talk to your customer experience and support teams
According to Gartner's insights on customer service AI, leaders tend to overlook the benefits of augmenting existing customer service tasks. They're more focused on automating and removing tasks instead. This means they lose out on opportunities to improve existing processes and workflows by making employees' lives easier and enhancing customer experiences.
If you want to avoid this common oversight and capitalize on these opportunities, start by talking to your teams and department heads. Chat to them one-on-one, conduct a survey, or hold workshops to understand their workflows, and where their frustrations might be solved with AI solutions.
3. Shortlist and test different technologies
According to McKinsey's The State of Customer Care report, AI has a key role to play in solving the customer care challenges of many businesses, which include talent shortages, increasingly complex interactions, and higher case volumes. But as we discussed earlier, there's a range of AI technologies that can help you enhance your customer service function, from improving your self-service experience to predicting problems before they arise.
If you've completed steps 1) and 2), you'll have a holistic understanding of the challenges your customer care team faces and how your customers interact with your business. Now, armed with this knowledge, you can start to figure out which technologies are most relevant to your business and how they can help enhance your customer service experience. It's time to get your hands dirty, in other words: shortlist different technologies, vet them, read customer reviews, schedule demos, and explore their use cases.
4. Train your team and facilitate adoption
After you've shortlisted AI technologies that can benefit your team, it's really important to facilitate the adoption of these tools. Otherwise, your business won't truly benefit from customer service AI unless your team members are actively benefiting from it.
Depending on the complexity of the tools you're implementing, your team members may need support ranging from a quick demo to a series of dedicated workshops. Some customer service AI tools (like Magical) are intuitive, require minimal setup, and are really easy to adopt, while others may require support from IT leaders and training sessions.
5. Track progress with relevant metrics and KPIs
Many AI technologies are still in the early stages of development, so while they can improve your customer service function dramatically, they’ll need to be closely monitored to ensure they’re effective in practice. For example:
- If you use AI for call routing, you'll want to track metrics like wait times to make sure it's improving efficiency. Your customer satisfaction score (CSAT) or Net Promoter Score (NPS) will also be a good indication that your customers are satisfied with their interactions.
- If you implement an AI chatbot, keeping an eye on your case volumes (to make sure it's easing your agents' workloads) and customer satisfaction (through metrics like CSAT and NPS) will give you a sense of its effectiveness.
- If you leverage AI tools for predictive analysis and forecasting, you'll want to track how well the technology is helping you predict and combat customer churn. You can do this by measuring your customer churn rate or customer retention rate.
So, once you've figured out which AI technologies to implement, make sure you develop corresponding KPIs to gauge their effectiveness.
6. Improve continuously
When you implement any kind of new technology—AI included—you'll likely encounter some bumps and roadblocks. But don't let that put you off. Keep collecting feedback from your employees, monitoring customer satisfaction levels, and tracking efficiency. See what's working and what isn't, and keep iterating until you achieve your desired results.
If your chatbot implementation didn’t go as smoothly as planned, for example, you could analyze your chat logs and figure out where your bot went wrong. Maybe you can train it to perform better. You could also investigate your customer service interaction journey at certain touchpoints to make sure your end users are satisfied with your new AI tools.
Transform your customer service with Magical
AI tools can really help you transform your customer service, but while AI use is growing, many businesses have yet to fully implement customer service AI. If you’re looking to help your team grow with AI, Magical is one of the easiest ways to get started. It’s free to use and requires zero setup (just install the Chrome extension in one click, and hey presto, you’re ready to go). 🪄
Magical is an AI-powered task automation app that helps customer support teams reduce boring, repetitive tasks and streamline their workflows. With Magical, customer service agents can:
- Quickly send personalized responses. Magical lets you create and save text shortcuts and templates (such as customer service response templates), which you can summon wherever you’re working. Save templated responses to common questions and share them with your whole team via a shared workspace.
- Teleport data across your open tabs. Tired of copy-pasting data across your open tabs? Next time you need to update your CRM, or give a customer an update, use Magical to teleport the information across your open tabs by creating a Transfer.
- Harness ChatGPT powers anywhere. Powered by OpenAI’s API, you can access Magical’s AI assist anywhere you’re working by opening the Magical Chrome extension. Use this ChatGPT alternative to summarize important information, generate responses, analyze the sentiment for different messages, and more. You can even generate your own templates and save them to your personal or shared workspace.
Are you ready to start leveraging customer service AI? Add Magical to Chrome today.