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The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Customer Support

We live in an era where technology is advancing so quickly that it’s hard to keep up. Think back to ten or even twenty years ago when you needed to get to a business meeting. You had to print out your plane ticket, rental car information, and sometimes even directions on where you needed to go.

Now, all this information is stored in your pocket (via smartphone), and technology is changing in a different way. It’s getting smarter. A lot smarter. You can not only get immediate directions to your destination, but also nearby restaurant suggestions based on your reviews and preferences… all while listening to a new song a music service thinks you’ll like.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now everywhere in our lives and, the more information it’s given, the better it gets. This statement even applies to the business world, where a growing number of companies are leveraging AI each year to make more informed and timely business decisions.

With this said, here’s more information about the future of artificial intelligence in customer support, including several processes that will change the way customer communication occurs…

AI will be able to fully gauge a customer’s tone (both written and spoken) – This is currently easier to accomplish at the written level, but it will also become more widespread with spoken words in the future. Some customer support software solutions currently leverage sentiment analysis technology to determine the tone of written messages (sad, frustrated, etc.) so businesses can better react to customer concerns. When AI for phone support becomes more common, it will also have major impact on business operations. Companies can monitor voice volumes and inflexion to determine how a customer truly feels about their issue (and what you company is doing to help). This is important information for immediately routing people that are clearly upset or distraught directly to upper-level support agents that specialize in de-escalation.

Ticket interactions will help craft dynamic communication strategies – Living in the era of the “digital footprint” can be beneficial for AI technology. With some companies now being able to see how long a customer interacted with a ticket and what they clicked on, AI can be leveraged to create unique communication strategies for every single customer. Instead of bombarding a customer with emails they aren’t opening, AI can instead analyze this information in the background and prompt an agent to call instead of email when they look to initiate communication with this customer.

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AI will simplify the process of getting an issue in front of the right agent – This tactic of AI is already well adopted (i.e. chatbots) but it’s about to become much more expansive and capable in the future. Instead of just asking a customer “what department would you like to speak with?” like a chat bot would do today, AI enables support teams to take a different approach. It lets customers describe their issue and then, based on the presence of pre-defined keywords, matches the issue with what it thinks is the right department. Agents can then provide feedback to the AI system after they are done working on the issue to improve its assignment accuracy.

AI will be able to automatically determine if a customer is “at risk” – In the past, tracking the true happiness of your customer was difficult. Different agents would have negative experiences with the same customer, but there wasn’t a way to track the impact of these conversations. Now, thanks to AI, technology can monitor multiple variables in the background. For example, a customer with a high number of tickets submitted and a long average duration to ticket resolution may be flagged by AI as an “at risk” customer. Some support software solutions take this a step further by providing a “customer distress index” that visually quantifies the always changing happiness of every customer. While not a perfect science, this AI technique lets your business know when critical executive-to-executive conversations need to occur to retain customers.

 

To summarize, the future of artificial intelligence in customer support is bright. The technology will help improve communication and ensure that impactful conversations are occurring. It also provides businesses with more intelligence about their customers so they can be proactive and strategic with how they manager customer relationships. The presence of AI in customer support will only increase in the coming years, so exploring these processes sooner than later will only help to improve customer happiness and provide you with a competitive edge.

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