We all know that AI has made its way into most aspects of the digital world, so it’s not surprising that its usage is becoming more and more common in customer support as well. Believe me, I get it, it’s convenient, it’s fast, it’s accurate (for most of the time), and it’s something that can almost said to be essential in the online world now.
Don’t get me wrong, AI is and will always be a very effective and helpful tool in customer service. If used correctly for the right purpose. While we all emphasize the great advantages of artificial intelligence, as with everything else around us, this also has its limitations. And if it has limitations, we have to be careful with how we want to use it.
So, let’s discuss the cases where using artificial intelligence is a useful and efficient approach, and the cases where it’s not advised to use it for customer support. Once you have a better understanding of these approaches, believe me, it’s going to be so much easier to manage your support system where you take advantage of both AI and human skills.
When to Use Artificial Intelligence in Customer Support
The main thing to understand about AI is that it can work very effectively as long as it is provided with the right knowledge base and the right information on the service or product. We always advise everyone using our AI chatbot to make sure their Help Center is full of helpful and descriptive articles about the service, and everything is documented that a customer might want to know about.
Once you have a good knowledge base, AI is perfect for answering the questions of customers. It’s truly worth the time and effort to document everything because once you have a good foundation, you’ll have an AI-powered chatbot that answers incoming messages instantly, in real-time, 24/7. The customers get the answers they are looking for, and you don’t have to worry about answering them whenever you have the time.
So, AI is a great colleague that works without a break, and as fast as no human can, however, it can only answer common questions. Again, AI is extremely valuable, saving you much time, money, and energy, but its main limitation remains untackled.
Don’t Use AI for Difficult Queries
In my conversation with Milka Milošev, Customer Service Specialist at Tokeet, she put it perfectly what the main problem with AI in customer support is: “I think that often people reach out to customer support frustrated of the product/ features, or have "difficult" questions, such as pricing, upgrading, downgrading, etc.
With these types of questions, especially when users use both written words and images, AI can significantly make things worse due to not understanding the request/ issue straight away, and asking follow-up questions in order to gather more information.
Also, customers I work with tend to reach out to customer support to be heard by people, and they can sense AI miles away.”
From this point of view, we can say that for more complex questions, AI might not be the best way to answer the messages. In addition, customers tend to include screenshots or relevant pictures along with their queries, which most chatbots cannot handle and analyze.
Don’t Use AI for Solving Issues
I have worked with customers throughout the years, and from my experience, I can say that users contact customer support most frequently because they want to report an issue with the service or product.
For solving the issues of customers, AI may not be the best tool to use. It generally works well if the issue is something that can be solved by explaining the guidelines of how to resolve it. Still, more complex and unique queries can cause frustration, and AI can only be a helping hand in the process. It's not advised to rely on it 100% in resolving issues, but we can use it for the right purposes, like automating resolution processes.
At SAAS First, we found a great fix for this. When customers want to send a message through the chat, they initially have to choose from 2 possible options:
- They have an issue that they want to report.
- They can ask questions about the service or product.
If they choose the first option, the chat is automatically transferred to human agents after the AI chatbot notifies them that their issue will be handled soon.
If they choose the second option, the AI chatbot will handle the conversation and answer the customer's question to the best of its ability.
When asked on this topic, Shaikh Arhum Nadeem, Customer Support Executive at Xepos, said “While AI can enhance customer support in various ways, there are situations where it may not be advisable. Complex or sensitive issues, where empathy and nuanced understanding are crucial, might be better handled by human agents. Additionally, AI might struggle in scenarios requiring creative problem-solving or dealing with highly unpredictable customer inquiries. Striking a balance between AI and human support is essential to provide a comprehensive customer service experience.”
I have mentioned that AI can help automate the resolution process. If we want to put this idea into practice, we can talk about AI-powered ticket automation. AI could help in:
- creating the ticket
- summarizing the issue of the customers
- decide who to sign the issue to
- prioritize the tickets based on the urgency of the issue.
So, while AI cannot solve problems on its own 100%, it gives you a helping hand, does the job that would take you time and energy, and automates the process for you.
Don’t Use AI if the Customer Wants to Speak to a Human
This might be the most obvious advice I can give you, but it’s truly crucial if you want to satisfy the needs of your customers.
It really depends on the person whether they are open to talking to an AI chatbot or want to stick to the traditional way of customer service and chat with a person. AI is relatively new, meaning that many people are still skeptical about it, or completely resent its abilities.
You have to understand both sides of the coin and make sure everyone gets the help they anticipate.
If the customer clearly lets you know that they want to talk to a human agent, make sure that the chat is transferred to the agent immediately to avoid any further frustration. This way, you can make sure that the people looking for real human interaction will get what they are seeking, while people who are open to talking to chatbots get their answers as quickly as possible with AI.
In summary, while AI can boost customer support with efficiency and speed, it's crucial to remember that it can't replace the human touch in complex and emotionally nuanced situations. Businesses should aim for a balance, using AI for routine queries and human support for more intricate issues.
So, what are your thoughts on the ideal role of AI in customer service? Share your views with us!