The Ticket: Evolving your support org to thrive in the AI era

It’s no secret that AI is radically changing the game for customer service organizations. Rapid advancements in technologies like large language models and generative AI are giving teams the opportunity to completely reimagine how they deliver support.

While the potential of using AI to automate common queries and enable smarter, more personalized experiences is exciting, the idea of overhauling how an entire support operation works can also feel overwhelming. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be – we know this from experience. At Intercom, our Customer Support team was an early adopter of AI, giving us a head start in learning how to confidently roll out and scale AI-powered capabilities.

This week on The Ticket podcast, Declan Ivory, VP of Customer Support, and Ruth O’Brien, Senior Director of Automated and Proactive Support, sat down to discuss how AI has fundamentally changed things not just for our team, but for every support team. They unpack why it’s so critical to get onboard with AI and how they’ve reimagined and evolved Intercom’s Support org to take full advantage of the opportunities AI has to offer.

Here are some key takeaways from the conversation:

  • Avoiding AI will cost you: Businesses need to embrace AI at scale if they’re going to make it in this new era. Significant advances in AI technologies, like LLMs and Gen AI, have made it easier than ever to provide an exceptional customer experience. If you’re not part of this transformation, you risk getting left behind.
  • Intercom’s Support org introduced AI gradually: Our team took a phased approach to introducing AI into their workflows. Starting with AI Copilot features to test out the technology and get buy-in from everyone, the team moved on to implement an AI Agent to answer customer questions upfront. This led to less routine queries and more time for interesting, fulfilling work.
  • New specializations will emerge: AI will bring with it fundamental changes to how you work. This will impact many roles and require new areas of focus. At Intercom, we introduced several new career paths to support AI-driven initiatives. These included a Conversation Designer to help ensure customer communications with an AI Agent felt natural and intuitive, and a Senior Knowledge Manager who manages the content that AI systems rely on to perform optimally.
  • Support will become more consultative, less transactional: As AI takes over more routine tasks, human support roles will become more strategic and consultative, focusing on providing personalized experiences and proactive assistance. As a result of this, support managers will need to rethink KPIs, enablement strategies, and hiring patterns to align with the changing role of support teams.
  • AI will impact your operations: Support leaders will need to adjust how they measure success to factor in AI. With a shift in responsibilities, new metrics will need to be considered, such as AI Agent resolution rates and customer health scores. Operational costs will also need to be reevaluated, as AI makes it possible for teams to handle more complex issues without a linear increase in headcount.

If you enjoy our discussion, check out more episodes of our podcast. You can follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or grab the RSS feed in your player of choice.