Declan Ivory lessons blog hero

What I’ve discovered implementing an AI-driven customer service strategy

As Intercom’s VP of Customer Support, I have had the opportunity over the last year to lead an AI-driven customer service strategy. It’s been one of the most fascinating and rewarding journeys of my career to date.

Despite all of the great progress in that time, it still feels like the journey is just starting. There is so much more to be done to leverage AI to transform the customer experience, the employee experience, and the overall health of the business. To say that I am excited about the future in customer service is somewhat of an understatement.

Lessons learned on the frontlines

I love to share lessons that I’ve learned, and there have been so many over the last year it’s hard to know where to start. Here are three things that I’ve realized or appreciated over the course of the journey to date.

Knowledge Management is KEY in an AI world

While AI technology itself is fascinating and pretty critical, I have come to realize that knowledge management is just as important. Any given LLM will not have the particular business knowledge and insights that are important for your customer.

“Ensuring you have the right skills and processes to create and maintain knowledge for AI is critical”

Therefore, it’s essential that any AI technology has access to this business-specific knowledge to be successful in handling customer service queries for your customers or in helping support agents to help your customer more effectively. Ensuring you have the right skills and processes to create and maintain knowledge for AI is critical for the success of AI. This is a topic we will be exploring in more depth over the coming months.

Task-specific bots are coming

Most AI bots are what I term “generic answer” bots (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.) But there is a whole world of opportunity to use AI-powered bots to handle more focused and specific activities for your customers, such as customer onboarding and customer success. This can be done through a combination of very targeted content and “prompt engineering” to optimize how questions are asked via an AI bot. This will maximize the opportunity to a great answer being provided for your customers.

Customer journey mapping is really, really important in an AI world

Understanding how and when your customers engage with you is fundamentally important in an AI world. When interactions with your customers are carried out by AI-powered chatbots, AI-enabled automation, and AI-supported human agents, there is a real need to be very intentional about how you design the conversation flow from a customer perspective if you are going to improve their experience. Applying bots and automation without thinking through the customer experience will probably not deliver the right results.

The story is only just beginning

I will be sharing many more insights and lessons about this incredible moment in customer service, including how the economics of delivering support are different, how the “tech stack” for support will be fundamentally different, and how AI impacts the employee experience (yes, the role of a support agent is changing, but it’s not going away).

Sign up to our customer service-focused newsletter or follow our CS podcast to ensure you hear our latest thoughts and advice – there’s so much more to come.

The Ticket Newsletter Horizontal CTA