AI skepticism is giving way to curiosity among customer service teams

There’s a lot of talk in the customer service industry about support agents feeling “AI anxiety” – there’s a fear around the impact generative AI is going to have on jobs.

It’s understandable that change may make some people a little apprehensive, and that’s okay. There’s no doubt that the industry is going through massive disruption.

Leaders need to think about how they want to use AI to drive business success. AI will certainly help to cut costs, but we believe its value is felt just as much in the way it enhances customer and team experiences.

As we continue to pioneer AI-first Customer Service here on the Intercom Customer Support team, we’re realizing more and more that AI isn’t happening to customer service folks – it’s happening for them.

Empowering support teams

The reality is that AI tools are incredibly empowering for customer service teams. Support leaders who have already started adopting AI will probably identify with some of the following changes we’re experiencing:

  • Support reps don’t have to deal with all of those boring FAQs that they used to have to answer over and over again – that feeling of tedium is lifted when there are fewer repetitious queries to handle.
  • The support queues are freed up so your team will only handle really complex queries that truly need the human touch – support reps feel challenged and engaged more often.
  • Support reps can spend time with each customer and really give them the care, attention, and help they need instead of trying to move through as many topics as possible. We’re finding a greater sense of achievement as we help each customer.
  • The process of training and upleveling is made dramatically easier with AI tools – relevant information is now at your fingertips, helping you get up to speed way faster than previously possible. That sense of helplessness that new reps can feel for quite a long time is replaced with a sense of confidence.
  • People who work in customer service can move into more valuable, strategic roles. The support role becomes a lot more challenging, interesting, and enjoyable. It’s deeply empowering to work at the cutting edge of technological adoption, and realize how many opportunities it opens up.

We’re detecting a widespread change in attitude around all this, especially since we announced Fin AI Copilot, a personal AI assistant for every agent. The skepticism is giving way to curiosity.

Your first 30 days

We’ve heard from many folks who are wondering how to get started with AI. Our advice? Just do it – you won’t regret it.

Here’s a quick guide to your first 30 days with AI.

🪜 Start small

At Intercom, when we first rolled out Fin AI Copilot, we tested it with a small internal group of Support teammates. This helped us figure out how best to integrate it into our existing troubleshooting and teammate workflows. This small group could report back to the larger team on what was working before we rolled it out to everyone else.

🧑‍🎓 Use it to onboard new hires (but set clear expectations)

Before, when new teammates were onboarding it took them a long time to search our help content and past conversations to find the right answer to a customer question. Now, Fin instantly provides the answer and instructions for them, which provides fantastic efficiency gains. But it’s important to set expectations with new hires that they shouldn’t just copy and paste answers. They still need to understand the job-to-be-done behind the customer’s problem and the solutions they’re sharing. The good news is that Fin can help them learn far quicker than before.

📄 Beef up and optimize your internal knowledge content

Fin AI Copilot pulls from your internal and external knowledge content like your dev docs, internal knowledge articles, as well as past conversations. At Intercom, we’ve talked lots about the importance of beefing up your external knowledge content. Now is the time to fill in the gaps and optimize your internal knowledge content to make it clear, accurate, and easily understandable for customers too.

📈 Measure efficiency gains (you will see them)

Fin AI Copilot will remove steps involved in troubleshooting issues and having to navigate a ton of different resources across multiple tools and docs. As a direct result, you’re going to see those efficiency gains, and it’s important to have some metrics and early signals to be able to assess and get a pulse check on that.

Fin AI Copilot is not like other new tools or workflows that require a ton of change management. You can get started quickly and easily, in a risk-free way. And you can see significant, early results with low upfront investment.

Any level of change can be daunting, but our own experience delivering AI-first Customer Service is making it clearer than ever – this change is more than worth it.

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