How customer service AI has evolved beyond the chatbot
When you see the phrase “customer service AI”, the first thing you might think of is a chatbot. Sure, the little bot that pops up with a helpful greeting is a form of AI, but it’s not the only type of AI support available today.
Over the years, customer service AI has become much more sophisticated. Now, customer support teams are leveraging solutions like AI-powered virtual assistants and ticketing systems, automated actions and notifications, and automatic skill-based routing to elevate their support capabilities.
When implemented well, smart AI can be a game-changer for customer support managers. Not only can it help improve your operational efficiency but can also create better overall experiences for your customers. Here are three ways AI is transforming support and shaping the future of customer service.
1. Taking proactive action and enhancing operations in real time
Customer service has traditionally been a more reactive function – meaning if a customer reaches out to support, only then does the problem begin to be resolved. However, as customer expectations evolve and become more demanding, this approach doesn’t really cut it anymore.
Today, customers expect proactive support, but very few are actually getting it. A Gartner survey found that only 13% of customers report receiving any type of proactive customer service. But that number will drastically increase over the next few years with the help of advanced customer service AI solutions like Spotter.
Spotter is a first-of-its-kind real-time AI customer care manager that works in the background 24/7, ensuring nothing ever falls through the cracks. It proactively identifies support inefficiencies and addresses them in real time before they become an issue. What’s more, is that it continues doing all of this when your team isn’t around or is off the clock.
For example, when a ticket gets a negative satisfaction rating, Spotter can notify a relevant team member to immediately address the feedback. Or, if a ticket has been left unanswered for too long, Spotter can send a Slack notification to your shift manager and instantly reassign the ticket so your service-level agreement (SLA) isn’t breached. Pretty neat, right?
Having this kind of AI in customer service takes a lot of the pressure off of support managers and keeps operations running smoothly. Rather than spending hours of your day manually checking for gaps, Spotter does it for you. And on top of that, it fixes things you may have completely missed.
2. Helping agents use their time more effectively
When it comes to customer support, time is of the essence. In fact, 73% of adults say valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service. That means, the longer it takes for a response and resolution, the higher chance a customer will take their business elsewhere.
Unfortunately, increased demand has made it more difficult for support to respond to customers in a timely manner. Customers might have to wait hours or sometimes even days to get their issues resolved (average response time is 12 hours and 10 minutes!). But support platforms built with AI are changing that and helping improve agent efficiency. Here’s how:
Suggesting relevant articles. An AI-powered reply box can have a major impact on average handling time. Let’s say a customer reaches out about their order status. Instead of an agent wasting time trying to track down their order, they get an AI-generated article recommendation from the company’s help center on “How to Track an Order”. They share the article with the customer and solve their issue within a matter of seconds.
Automating tasks. Customer support agents only have so much bandwidth. If they’re constantly bogged down with redundant tasks – like manually resolving or reassigning tickets – they’ll never get wait times down. Automating those tasks allows agents to better prioritize their time and focus on more complex issues.
Using customer service AI can make support managers feel a little less stressed about their team keeping up with customer requests. Sure, some days might be busier than others, but the right tools will help prepare agents for high ticket volume and keep them working effectively.
3. Getting customers' issues into the right hands
Thirty-three percent of customers are most frustrated by having to explain their issue to multiple agents. These repetitive conversations typically happen when customers make inbound calls to support. Luckily, situations like this can be avoided with the help of smart automatic skill-based routing.
Automatic skill-based routing (auto-routing) ensures a customer's issue is directed to the best-fit support agent available. However, it goes beyond the simple “if/then statement” flowchart and pulls in multiple variables, including real-time signals of agent availability. Here are five benefits of automatic skill-based routing:
Less work for managers. Support managers spend a lot of their time checking that tickets are solved in the right order, their team is meeting SLAs, and there’s a balance between agents and transfers. With auto-routing, all that manual work is done for them.
Avoid cherry-picking. Traditional ticketing systems send tickets to a group of agents for them to then cherry-pick from. Rather than agents choosing the tickets, smart auto-routing assigns tickets based on business order, agent skill set, and workload balance. This means customers don’t have to sit around waiting for someone to pick up their ticket.
Better prioritization of tickets. Auto-routing uses priority scoring to help the highest priority tickets get into the right hands, right away. So, if a VIP customer or a time-sensitive ticket comes in, it will be flagged as high priority and automatically routed to the first and best agent available.
Reduce wait times. Normally, it’s up to the agent to start handling a ticket. But with auto-routing, agents receive tickets as they come in. Once they accept the ticket, the agent becomes “Active” in that ticket. But, if the agent leaves, the ticket can still be automatically routed to the next agent in the group. This ensures customers aren’t waiting on hold too long for someone to address their ticket.
Improve first call resolution. When an agent gets assigned a ticket that fits their skill set, they can provide faster and more accurate responses. It also means they don’t have to reassign tickets and pass customers onto multiple agents.
Level up your support with an AI-powered solution
It’s clear customer service AI can drastically impact how support teams operate – which is no wonder why eight out of 10 businesses have already implemented or are planning to adopt AI as a customer service solution. Wix Answers is the only real-time customer experience platform powered by smart AI. Book a demo today and see how customer service AI can take your support operations to the next level.