8 Key Ways AI Can Improve Customer Service

By Deon Nicholas
Image of a support ticket in queue being analyzed by AI
Two customer support tickets sit in queue showing how AI analyzes tickets for context.

“Where is my package?”

“How do I use X feature?”

“My item is missing pieces.” 

“Can I get a refund?” 

Do these questions sound familiar? To anyone in the customer service world, they’re the most commonly asked questions agents receive. 

Being the agent responding to the same queries all day long takes a toll on people, as does being the customer who is now having to wait and wait for an answer to come because agents are busy repeatedly responding to similar requests from others. 

The good news to both of these poor experiences is that there are tools that can be implemented to help solve these customer contact center issues. With new tools and tech comes the ability to automate with artificial intelligence (AI) and the ability to improve customer service for the better. 

Where do customer support teams even begin? Lucky for you, we’re breaking down 8 key ways AI can improve customer service and how you can get started. 

1. Customer Support Chatbots

Chatbots aren’t new to the world of customer service and customer support, what is new is the technology powering those chat interactions. In the past, support teams have been burned by the promises of chatbots and artificial intelligence. That’s because the chatbots of yesterday did not fulfill their promise and were not powered by the appropriate technology—they were much more artificial than intelligent.

Chatbots of today are powered by a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. With these technologies, automating repetitive and mundane tasks becomes possible as well as the ability to have back-and-forth conversations with customers. AI-powered customer support chatbots can deflect the most repetitive customer support tickets, help customers self-serve and resolve their own questions before they become support tickets, and assist agents in responding to simple customer questions instantly. 

2. Conversational AI Customer Support

One step above chatbots and artificial intelligence is Conversational AI. Conversational AI is technology that allows machines to engage in human-like conversational experiences with people, it’s the stuff that makes chat widgets able to hold an interaction with a customer that ultimately resolves their needs. 

Conversational AI makes improved customer service achievable by allowing teams to integrate automation in current workflows and optimize them, provide a smart search tool to agents that lets them do their jobs much more efficiently and which uses natural language understanding for more accurate support, act much more swiftly in responding to tickets by having access to past solutions that agents can click on to respond with, and by using technology that learns as you grow from data input. 

3. Grow Customer Engagement

Customer engagement is a metric that is becoming increasingly popular and important to customer support organizations and their teams. Customer engagement is the emotional relationship formed between a customer and a brand. Some business leaders might be of the mindset that customer engagement ends after the point of sale but that is not the case. Growing customer engagement comes with knowing that your relationship with your customers goes beyond the sale, if you want your customers to engage with your brand then you need to put effort into engaging with them as well. AI can help grow customer engagement. 

Because AI continues to learn from your customers and their data, AI can be an important driving force behind customer engagement. AI can help you learn more about your customers and where you can better meet their needs. With such tools, support teams can gain insights into improving the quality or effectiveness of their products or services as well as help uncover gaps and opportunities in the market for further growth. 

4. Improve Customer Satisfaction Scores

CSAT stands for Customer Satisfaction Score and is a KPI that shows how satisfied customers are with a company’s products or services. CSAT is a real-time benchmark that measures how happy customers are with your brand at any point in time. Working to improve CSAT is no small goal and takes a lot of work and strategizing to achieve but is possible with the right tools and technology. 

AI can help improve customer service and in turn improve key performance indicators, including customer satisfaction. The goal of trying to improve CSAT is usually meant to increase customer retention and engagement and find out why customers are churning. Support organizations can find out this information through appropriate data collection and analyzing. AI makes it possible to analyze large data sets that then provide actionable insights into where customers can be better served. Taking this information in stride and implementing it into a strategy designed to increase CSAT can have positive impacts on customer service. 

5. Reduce Costs

Whenever we talk about customer service it’s always in the context of “how much does support cost? “What are we doing to drive support costs down?” 

There are many things support teams can be doing to reduce costs in customer service and change the perception of customer support organizations being cost centers to being revenue drivers, and it all starts with the tools and technology your teams are using – and the best tool for this is AI.

AI can be the driving factor behind reducing costs in customer service. AI can help automate the most repetitive of customer service tasks such as ticket labeling and routing as well as deflect the most commonly sent in support tickets. When these tasks are removed from an agent’s daily work, you free up agent time and agent bandwidth for them to get to more complex support tickets and other tasks. 

6. 24 Hour-A-Day Support

Think of the last time you sought out customer support. How long did the process take? For most people, waiting up to a day or two isn’t out of the norm when it comes to getting the support we need from the brands we interact with. In fact, we expect it. One key way that AI can improve customer service is by enabling 24-hour-a-day customer service. 24/7 customer support is necessary for scaling companies looking to expand customer service efforts and provide support at all times for more people. And did you know that over 50% of customers expect a business to be available 24/7

AI-powered customer service solutions allow support orgs to provide customer support 24 hours a day that helps offer customers the support they need no matter their location or time zone. With 24/7 customer support, support agents aren’t required to be online around the clock and can still put effort into helping customers resolve their issues without them turning into support tickets. 

7. Simplify Task Management

We’ve mentioned before that AI is great for automating repetitive tasks. With AI support teams can simplify task management in order to free up agent time and bandwidth. Being an agent isn’t easy; agents are often responding to the same query hundreds of times a day or are tasked with labeling incoming tickets that must then be sent to the appropriate department. The mundane nature of agent work has contributed to customer service having one of the highest churn rates of any industry with churn as high as 40-45%. 

Simplifying task management and empowering agents with tools like AI can improve customer service and benefit both the customer and the agent. By automating ticket triaging and deflecting the most commonly seen tickets agents have their workload simplified and customers see the resolution they seek in a more efficient manner. 

8. Data Collection

One last way that AI is making a difference and positive impact to improving customer service is through data collection and analysis. The amount of data generated from customer communication is immense and support teams can do a better job at leveraging that data for their CX improvements. 

Just think about what kind of information is being collected in customer service —data on customer questions and which knowledge articles are the most beneficial to them, information and feedback on the products and services they’re using, insight into where more content can be created to benefit customers even more, and data on where customers go to find the information they’re looking for. AI can help businesses make strategic decisions based on real customer data as they improve their CX. 

Frequently Asked Questions About AI In Customer Service

How Does AI Improve User Experience?

AI chatbots are meant to benefit two people: the customers using it and the agents who are providing answers and engaging with the chatbot. AI is beneficial in improving user experience because it removes bottlenecks and obstacles that have been in the way of customers getting the support they need in the past. 

How Can Artificially Intelligent Chatbots Be Used to Improve Customer Service?

Artificially intelligent chatbots can be used to improve customer service in a multitude of ways including providing conversational AI support, 24/7 chat, growing customer engagement, improving customer satisfaction, reducing costs, and simplifying task management. AI chatbots are designed to make customer support processes smoother for both customers and customer support representatives. 

How Can AI Enhance the Process of Customer Service?

AI can enhance the process of customer service by automating the most mundane and repetitive tasks and giving agents back time and bandwidth to focus on other more complicated support tasks as well as reducing wait times and response times for customers. AI also allows for digital-first solutions that meet customers where they’re at.

Dive in.

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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