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Customer Support: How AI is Changing the Game

AI has managed to revolutionize many industries from tech, to business and healthcare. Specifically, the role of AI in customer support (CS) has continued to expand. Once a reactive team that responded to inbound requests, customer support now has input into several aspects of the business. In fact, many CS teams are working proactively to create such an amazing experience for customers they may never again have to reach out to customer support with requests or concerns.

Organizations that encourage proactive customer support understand the value of building amazing customer experiences. Not only can a positive customer experience increase satisfaction and retention, it can also be the pathway to greater profitability.

Even a modest improvement in customer experience can have a dramatic impact on revenue. A survey of companies in 20 industries and 10,000 customers showed a nearly 25% improvement in revenue over a three year period when customer experience scores improved.

Leading companies have made customer experience one of their top priorities, and customer support is a key component. As technology evolves, artificial intelligence (AI) has provided new ways to improve customer support. AI can now be baked into the entire support workflow to provide more efficient issue resolution.

Both customers and support teams benefit from artificial intelligence in a variety of ways. The benefits of AI in Customer Support Software are as follows:

  1. More intelligent automation
  2. Better informed support teams
  3. Analyze sentiment and emotion
  4. Reduce manual processes
  5. Fewer trouble tickets
  6. Increased training and guidance
  7. Identify “at-risk” customers
  8. Identify upsell opportunities

More Intelligent Automation

There’s no doubt that automated technology, like chatbots, have become increasingly prevalent in customer support roles. AI has already been applied to these chatbots to help them learn and adjust as they gather more information from customer interactions. Instead of just asking a customer ‘what department would you like to speak with?’ like a chatbot 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 can also pick up on subtleties that lead to more efficient operations and improve workflow. Machine learning means the more the system gets used, the better it gets.

Better Informed Support Teams

There’s nothing more frustrating for customers or support teams than when they have to dig through layers of folders to find the right document. AI provides advanced sifting that can automatically tag, categorize, and index tickets for reference. This reduces errors and builds stronger databases. In addition to checking Knowledge Bases, agents can run ticket tag searches to find solutions.

Advanced tagging functionality allows teams to identify issues that pop up regularly. When it becomes a trend, it may be time for product teams to address the issue. AI can quickly and easily identify these trends based on pre-determined thresholds.

Analyze Sentiment and Emotion

While it was once true that only humans could accurately detect emotions such as frustration, anger, and anxiety; AI has made huge strides in being able to identify a customer’s emotion and adjust the tone or messaging accordingly. Voice of the Customer, or VoC, programs allow smart companies to gather exact data around what customers are saying and how they are saying it. With AI and machine learning, companies will soon be able to mine that data in extensive detail, tagging behaviors and outcomes that lead to a happy resolution.

Today, some customer support software solutions are already using sentiment analysis tech to gauge customer tone in written messages. This can help in proper ticket routing and de-escalation.

Reduce Manual Processes

Automation allows agents to cut down the amount of time they have to spend on manual processes. That translates to more time with your B2B customers and faster issue resolutions. It also cuts down on human errors. AI can identify errors and patterns and suggest potential changes to make processes more efficient.

Fewer Trouble Tickets

AI and automation can take some of the burdens off of customer support teams by quickly analyzing text messages, social posts, chats, and emails, and recommending solutions. This helps to deflect tickets and prevent agents from being tied up on routine matters.

Increased Training and Guidance

If you are using a help desk or support software solution, you can likely pull detailed reports on how your agents perform, resolution times, call volume, and a myriad of other metrics. AI can go a step further by assessing customer support team performance in other ways. Instead of just doing spot checks, AI can analyze subtle messaging. For example, suggesting better ways to frame discussions or phrasing that helps soothe upset customers.

AI can also suggest where additional training or guidance can help improve agent performance.

Identify “At Risk” Customers

Poor customer experience is one of the biggest reasons for churn. AI can help identify when customers are at risk of leaving. As an example, customers with several tickets submitted that have lengthy ticket resolution times, or those with multiple low agent ratings might be flagged for intervention.

TeamSupport’s software solution, for instance, has developed an AI-fueled “Customer Distress Index” that gauges overall customer health. The software works in the background, allowing agents to see a visual representation of customer happiness.

Identify Upsell Opportunities

AI can also analyze tickets and trends to identify potential products that can lead to upselling opportunities. It can also tag tickets for follow-up by marketing and sales teams.

AI In Customer Support Is Now

97% of buyers say customer support shapes their loyalty to a brand. 62% of B2B customers purchased more after a good customer support experience. It’s clear that providing superior customer support is crucial to attracting and retaining customers.

AI in customer support is here now. It’s shaping how leading companies are improving their overall customer support and in turn customer experience.

Matt Shealy

Matt Shealy

Matt Shealy is the President of ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

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