Is artificial intelligence the future of customer service?

6th Jun 2016

Robots and artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace are no longer the preserve of science fiction. As such technological advances begin to affect customer service, it’s clear they will result in both pros and cons for an industry based around human interaction. 

An obvious advantage of an AI customer service system is that it can increase the speed and timeliness of service. Other technological advances have encouraged the expectation of ‘always on, immediately answered’ customer service. AI systems can help enable this by directing customers immediately to a member of staff with the relevant expertise to deal with the problem they have highlighted. 

It remains to be seen how AI can be used differently in different sectors. Customer expectations vary, sometimes set from their experiences in one aspect of their life, resulting in anticipation of the same level of service in another. Organisations must attempt to anticipate what customers will need by gaining insight from the data they hold and using it to good effect. 

It’s also important that organisations don’t become entirely reliant on AI and automation. If organisations remove personal interactions, they risk damaging customer relationships. AI doesn’t yet have the ability to understand human emotions and the vagaries of conversations with a customer. Meanwhile, employees need to be equipped with the softer skills such as listening and collaboration to serve the modern customer. AI can lay the foundations, but businesses still need the people who can build on it.

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