Customer Support AI: 6 Frequently Asked Questions

By Deon Nicholas

Artificial intelligence has arrived and it’s here to stay. With the help of customer support AI, you can change how your organization does business and interacts with customers. You might be wondering where AI could have the most influence and the answer is in improving your customer experience. But we’ll start by talking about the impact it has on customer support teams and their desire to improve KPIs

With AI services dominating headlines, we’re sure you have questions. 

“Is this the start of a robot apocalypse?” Probably not. 

“Can using AI for customer support greatly improve your business?” Absolutely. 

With the help of customer support AI, you can enable your agents to do better and help create a more seamless customer and agent experience. Your customers want access to speedy, accurate support and your agents don’t want to be bogged down by repetitive tickets. 

When wondering about AI, we’ve got your back. Here are five frequently asked questions about AI and how it can help in the customer support landscape.

What is AI?

Let’s start from the top. 

You’ll need to know what AI is to understand how it can help customer support teams. 

Artificial intelligence is a machine or computer system that can perform activities that require some level of intelligence to be completed, but not quite human intelligence. There are different types of AI but each is meant to enable us to streamline tasks and create easier, better processes for people to follow. 

You might not even be aware that some of the tools you currently use are based on artificial intelligence. From automatic online recommendations and smart home tech to online chatbots and digital assistants, artificial intelligence is really everywhere. 

What Does AI Have To Do With Customer Support?

Short answer: quite a bit.

Long answer: let us explain.

In the context of customer support, AI is a system that can automate portions of a customer support agent’s tasks. The best AI will be able to answer customer requests with similar or greater efficiency than humans and help customer support representatives through the cycle of a ticket. This is the case with Forethought’s AI, which supports agents in their day-to-day tasks working with customers.

Providing quality customer support can be challenging for a number of reasons. Onboarding new agents can prove difficult when organizations are more complex. As a result, agents struggle to retain all the information necessary to adequately answer customer concerns without considerable research. 

Agents also have to deal with an ever growing queue while trying to answer high-priority tickets and searching for necessary information to answer those support requests. 

Not being able to manage workloads and barely meeting SLAs can often lead to high churn rate among agents, which creates more issues later on. 

This is where AI changes the game. By having an AI tool like Forethought’s Agatha suggesting answers to customer questions, agents can resolve issues with greater speed and accuracy while also keeping their own stress levels down. AI tools can also deflect and triage tickets, further supporting a customer support team.

How Do You Best Use Customer Support AI? 

AI is meant to augment your organization, or in other words, be used to enhance your teams. The best use for AI for customer support is in conjunction with your customer service agents to help them meet goals, improve metrics, and create a great customer experience. 

The best customer support AI can provide the speed, personalization, precision, and generally the knowledge needed to promptly address customer queries. Artificial intelligence is meant to support and improve your team’s ability to help customers resolve issues 

On the other hand, AI can’t provide the human connection that is sometimes needed when engaging with customers. AI tools can’t navigate the intricacies of human communication and emotion. For that, your agents are needed. But by providing them with a tool that can enhance their abilities to resolve issues, they can still provide that. 

How Are AI and Chatbots Different? 

We’ve all had the chatbot experience where you can’t get past the bot to get the actual answer you’re searching for. On its own, a customer support tool can leave a negative perception on your brand, especially when that tool is a chatbot operating on rules and keyword search. 

Before getting into how traditional chatbots differ from more advanced AI tools, you should know that a chatbot is still technically AI. Chatbots work in a similar fashion, but they are based on older technology and might not actually do what they’re promised to do. 

A traditional chatbot only has a set number of pre-approved responses that it can muster up rather than access to the vast amount of information a more powerful AI can draw upon from a company’s database. Chat bots are also pre-set, so they aren’t continuously learning from new tickets or updates to knowledge bases. Plus, traditional chatbots take weeks, or even months,  to implement, and that’s not to mention the amount of upkeep needed by an actual individual to make those updates. 

A more powerful customer support AI tool is Forethought’s Agatha which is designed to help carry your customers throughout the entire cycle of their support request. This tool is different from a traditional chatbot because it uses Natural Language Processing and Natural Language Understanding to understand sentiment and intention behind a support request. This sophisticated AI doesn’t work off pre-set data or rules, it works by taking all of your data and learning from it to be able to give the best answer available. 

How Long Does It Take To Set Up AI for Customer Support? 

Time to launch varies depending on the provider and the type of AI they use. However, sophisticated AI tools like Forethought’s Agatha only take a matter of days to set up. 

The best AI for customer support just needs to gather knowledge from your company’s database and be trained on models to sufficiently answer potential customer questions. AI, such as Forethought’s Agatha, is built on Natural Language Processing and Natural Language Understanding, meaning it can understand intent and sentiment so you’ll be able to serve answers equivalent to those from an actual agent. You wouldn’t be able to tell if you’re speaking to a bot or an actual person. 

Plus, AI that uses NLP and NLU is easier to implement and actually grows with your team instead of needing manual upkeep like a traditional chatbot requires. With a chatbot, you’d have to update every aspect manually as opposed to having the AI learn from the updated information — that’s just too much wasted time. With Forethought, implementation is quick and upkeep is nonexistent, you wouldn’t have to worry about an actual person doing any heavy lifting.

Does Using AI Come With Any Risk? 

Besides possibly taking over the world? Nah. 

Jokes aside, there really isn’t much to be worried about. 

AI for customer support operates in their narrow field. They are not fully autonomous machines doing their own thing, which can be frustrating for consumers. Depending on the tools you choose to use, they may simply be presenting your agents with recommended responses, and it’s up to your agents to take those responses on board or not. Nothing to be worried about. We promise.

If you’re ready to take your support team to the next level by using customer support AI, then let’s chat

Have more questions before you get in touch? View our FAQs or browse our customer case studies.

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Interested in generative AI for customer support? Check out this guide to learn about the 3 key pillars you need to get started.

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