Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence processes with the aid of machines. These machines primarily include computer systems and tools that carry out learning, problem-solving, reasoning and perception.
Customer service is one area of application of AI tools and technology. As per a recent study, it is estimated that nearly 85% of the customer interactions will be handled without the presence of a human agent in next three years. There are approximately 38% of the enterprises that are using AI and the number will grow to 62% by the end of 2018. The global business revenue AI has the capability to accomplish the following set of tasks and activities in customer service and interactions.
· Pre-emptive Action: AI embedded monitors can provide the customer support and service team with the ability to analyze the primary customer issues. The systems can offer real-time support to the customer for the resolution of such issues. The huge clusters of web applications can be gathered and studied to resolve the issues even before their occurrence. This provides the power to the business organizations to reduce the customer abandonment rates and enhance the level of customer engagement.
· Messaging Applications: The use of messaging applications is not restricted to connecting with friends, family, and colleagues. The brands are using these applications for customer interaction and the usage is set to increase further. The use of social media applications and in-house messaging applications allow the brands to have a real-time interaction with the customers to resolve their queries and issues.
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· One-time Training: The average cost of hiring the customer service agent and training the member comes out to be $4000 and $4800 respectively. Also, it becomes necessary to organize training sessions after regular intervals. However, with the use of AI platforms, a one-time training is required that can bring down the costs to a huge margin.
· Non-stop Services: Customer service agents cannot be made available for a non-stop period of time. The human resources work for specific hours in a day and may remain unavailable at the time of an incident. The case is opposite with the use of automated support and customer service tools. These tools and applications can interact with the customers at any hour of the day and are always available. The queries and incidents reported by the customers are automatically recorded and a suitable response is also provided matching with the reported query.
· Self-Service Options: A recent customer service study revealed that over 72% customers do not prefer phone calls for the resolution of their query or issue. Self-service options for customer service are on a rise and the use of chat-boxes and forums has rapidly increased. AI has enabled the easy development and usage of such options and the companies that are still not utilizing such platforms will be required to incorporate the same in the future for enhanced customer relationship management and service.
· Reliability & Scalability: Customer service and interaction have a great role to play in customer engagement and relationship management. According to a survey, 42% of the customers increased their purchase after a good customer service response while 52% customers reduced their engagement with the organization after a poor experience. AI platforms can enhance the reliability of service with their non-stop availability and unbiased customer interaction. The AI tools can also be scaled up or down as per the requirements and change in the technology. These applications can also simultaneously handle a wide number of customers without any impact on the speed and performance.
· Cost-Savings: There are advanced customer services and assistance that can be provided by artificial intelligence. The use of automated applications can reduce the costs by 60–80%. Resource and training costs along with the cost of the infrastructure are eliminated with the incorporation of AI tools.
It is often assumed that Artificial Intelligence will replace the jobs currently being handled by the human resources. There are over 10 million jobs that will be replaced by AI tools and applications in next ten years. However, in the case of customer service, automated assistance can only resolve 10–35% of the customer queries. Human assistance and capabilities will be required in rest of the cases. The business organizations must research the AI applications and platforms that they may incorporate in their customer service interactions.
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