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The best ways to leverage generative AI in customer service

Generative AI in customer service is ushering in a new era of interactions between businesses and their customers. We're now at an inflection point where the technology has advanced far enough to understand customers' needs and provide helpful, personalized support at scale.

Intercom's Customer Service Trends Report 2024 found that 45% of support teams have already embraced AI. Further, most of those teams reported that 11-30% of their support volume is instantly resolved by their AI platforms.¹

In this article, you’ll learn the definition of generative AI, see specific use cases in customer service, and discover how you can adopt the technology to drive value for your company.

What is generative AI?

Generative AI is an advanced type of artificial intelligence that creates new content – including text, images, music, audio, and video – by analyzing training data and then generating unique outputs that closely resemble the original information.

Generative AI can perform a wide and versatile range of tasks; summarizing, answering questions, and classification are just a quick, superficial sampling of the technology’s extensive capabilities.

These AI models require minimal training and can be adapted for specific use cases. This flexibility and adaptability make generative AI a powerful tool for creating diverse and customized content.

How to use AI in customer service

While we'll present several use cases for generative AI in customer service below, it's important to emphasize that these examples primarily revolve around two key tools: an AI chatbot and an AI help desk. The former primarily enhances the customer experience, while the latter offers numerous advantages for support representatives.

Provide round-the-clock conversational support

If you want to understand the possibilities and applications of AI in customer service, it helps to be familiar with a distinct but complementary duo: generative AI and conversational AI. While generative AI focuses on crafting content, conversational AI for customer support aims for human-like communication through text or voice.

Together, these two forces can supercharge your conversational support, creating a digital-first, messaging-based way to tackle customer queries.

Conversational support allows for both real-time and asynchronous interactions, enabling customers to connect with agents in the most convenient way possible. Asynchronous support empowers people to pause and resume conversations without losing context, creating a seamless and efficient support journey.

With the addition of AI, conversational support improves team efficiency and customer experience even further. Generative AI ensures that the content provided is relevant, accurate, and tailored to each individual’s needs. Meanwhile, conversational AI drives natural, human-like dialogue during every interaction.

Deliver contextually relevant responses

Customer queries come in all shapes and sizes, from simple questions to complex, multifaceted inquiries. By leveraging the power of generative AI, chatbots can engage customers in natural two-way dialogues to fully understand each unique situation.

Rather than providing rote responses, AI chatbots learn from a company’s knowledge base and customer data. Chatbots use this information to craft highly informative, contextual answers. When clarity is needed, they can follow up seamlessly in the manner of any skilled service rep.

As interactions accumulate over time, the AI platform becomes smarter, developing the knowledge, versatility, and nuance to engage in more personalized and productive exchanges. Whether customers need quick information or more in-depth support, generative AI picks up cues from conversation flow and tone to react appropriately.

Auto-generate article suggestions

Providing excellent customer service means giving people the information they need, when they need it. Fortunately, this information is often just a quick search away. And with generative AI in customer service, you can empower customers to find answers on their own through automated article recommendations.

Generative AI analyzes keywords from a user’s question or comment to surface relevant self-help options. It considers their unique situation, interaction history, and what worked for others facing similar issues. Whether it’s through a messenger tool or a chatbot interface, customers receive article suggestions tailored just for them within seconds.

Triage questions for support representatives

When it comes to complex queries, generative AI in customer service plays a vital role in making sure the right information gets to representatives as quickly as possible.

By asking probing questions up front, AI chatbots ensure support teams are fully set up for success. The AI engages customers to communicate important details that provide the full context behind their issues. Things like account credentials, steps already taken, and specific errors are all clarified during the first few minutes of an interaction.

With these key details in hand, AI then routes only the most complex cases to support staff with a full picture of the customer and their unique situation. The result is that reps can focus on solving problems rather than using up all their time asking an endless spate of repetitive questions.

Summarize conversations for customer service teams

In every customer support department, requests are always being transferred between representatives and teams. However, lengthy conversations require a more thorough recap with each handoff or escalation, making the crucial work of keeping everyone on the same page a time-intensive challenge.

Generative AI in customer service changes that by generating high-level overviews from conversations. Within seconds, the pertinent details emerge and reps gain proper context without wading through word-for-word logs or other long, tedious documentation.

Generative AI’s summarization features also streamlines reporting tasks. Insights on support trends, product feedback, and other metrics can also be derived from AI’s concise yet comprehensive summarizations.

Autofill customer support tickets

In busy support environments, every minute counts. Manually filling ticket details from an endless influx of conversations eats up valuable time that could be spent helping customers.

However, with a support ticketing system utilizing generative AI features, you can automatically populate key ticket information like title and description directly from each customer interaction.

Expand or rephrase answers

Providing thoughtful, helpful responses to customers takes time – time busy support teams don't always have. AI changes this by allowing shortcuts without sacrificing quality.

One of the most innovative generative AI use cases in customer service is the generation of suggested responses based on shorthand notes. Rather than struggling to craft each reply from scratch, representatives can jot down key points and then have AI formulate or rephrase full messages.

With practice, reps can learn to capture the essence succinctly, allowing AI to subsequently build their notes into a more complete, expansive response.

Change tone

Building rapport with customers requires nuanced communication. Consistently conveying the right tone across high volumes of support interactions, however, poses a challenge.

Generative AI can analyze text to understand contextual language patterns, sentiment, and formality levels, which facilitates the tone personalization so critical to connecting with customers as individuals. With a click, reps can modify responses from formal to friendly and vice-versa, or even adapt to the brand’s preferred tone of voice.

Translate messages

Today’s global customer base brings both opportunities and challenges for businesses. Providing fast, accurate service to customers with diverse language needs isn’t an easy task.

With generative AI for customer support, issues that are lost in translation or struggle under cultural barriers are a thing of the past. After composing support replies, AI can instantly translate selected messages into the person’s native or preferred language.

Regardless of where customers are from or what language they speak and write in, AI ensures everyone enjoys an equally outstanding experience. In addition, businesses strengthen their international presence through efficient multilingual support and bolster their reputation for inclusivity.

Create new help center articles

As customers raise new questions, gaps may emerge in your help center's coverage of common issues. Maintaining a comprehensive knowledge base for self-service support can feel like a full-time job in its own right.

This is where generative AI in customer service can serve as a valuable partner. By providing summaries of new topics, an AI tool turns outlines into fully-formed articles for your help center.

While AI handles the initial drafting, human expertise still plays an important role in the editing and revising process. Team members can review outputs, making any needed edits to refine the tone, correct inaccuracies, or smooth out specific language choices.

Benefits of generative AI in customer service

Hopefully the generative AI applications in customer service we've discussed here have helped you gain a more informed, insightful perspective into the technology’s advantages. Now let’s take a look at some of the more concrete benefits AI can confer to your business.

Enhanced customer experiences

Our State of AI in Customer Service 2023 report revealed that 29% of support leaders are currently using artificial intelligence and automation to enhance their customer experience.²

By integrating generative AI in customer service, companies have an opportunity to reduce the effort required by customers during their journey to resolve issues. When they spend less time seeking assistance, their overall experience with the support teams and infrastructure tends to improve, leading to higher satisfaction levels.

Find out more about artificial intelligence and customer experience.

Scalable support

AI offers a highly scalable approach that can accommodate shifting workloads seemingly effortlessly. The technology addresses high volumes of customer inquiries without compromising quality or response times, enabling round-the-clock access to helpful information whenever people need it.

Alleviate support team workload

Juggling never-ending queues and constant problem-solving is tough work for any support rep. It's no wonder, then, that burnout plagues these essential roles.

Fortunately, implementing generative AI in customer service to handle common, routine inquiries alleviates some of this workload pressure. Chatbots excel at addressing basic questions, and their ability to take over a sizable percentage of incoming queries frees up human reps to spend more time on complex, nuanced customer needs that demand empathy and expertise.

Boost team productivity

Customer service departments are constantly looking for ways to maximize their team's efficiency while maintaining a high level of support – and AI offers them the opportunity to strike that balance like never before.

According to Mckinsey’s 2023 report, The Economic Potential of Generative AI, applying generative AI to customer care functions could increase productivity at a value ranging from 30 to 45%

The generative AI use cases in customer service discussed in this article are just a sample of this revolutionary value-add. Whether it's summarizing conversations, auto-filling reps’ replies, or creating new help center articles, these tasks can now be offloaded from overburdened teams.

Instant deployment

One of the most valuable aspects of this recent wave of AI technology is its ability to cut through traditional barriers and deploy almost instantly. Take our own AI chatbot, Fin. Onboarding this innovative AI resource involves just two simple steps – connecting it to your company’s existing self-service knowledge base, and then activating it for use. No specialized training or complex configurations are necessary.

How to embrace AI in customer service

Finally, here are a few key considerations for embracing AI in customer service.

Focus on your key business needs and goals

Adopting emerging technologies like AI can be challenging, even when the benefits seem clear to most stakeholders. Successful integration requires pragmatic experimentation to gain proof of value and inspire organizational acceptance.

Start by diving in with small pilots focused on clear business needs. Look for quick wins where AI can boost efficiency, like automating routine queries. These early successes build support for the technology within your company and create justification to expand its uses further.

Early pilots will accrue real benefits while helping determine which AI applications are the most optimal for your operations and workflow. This experimentation period will also provide the time for adjustments to jobs, skills, and ways of working throughout your enterprise.

Adopt a people-first perspective

While technology enables change, people remain central to success with AI. A people-first mindset is key to realizing the full potential of generative technologies.

Start by working closely with your support teams. Understand their biggest pain points and enlist "change champions" to help design solutions from the ground up. With frontline insight, AI tools for customer service can better integrate into existing workflows seamlessly.

Next, develop a comprehensive training program to empower your workforce with the new skills they'll need. Adopting generative AI in customer service isn't just about technology – it presents an invaluable opportunity to upskill your talent.

Invest in your customer service teams to work collaboratively with AI and embrace the new possibilities it creates.

Read more about the exciting new roles AI is creating in customer support.

Ensure a high-quality customer experience

AI tools offer exciting possibilities, but the customer experience must always come first. Whether automating mundane tasks or enhancing self-service, approach technology rollouts with the user in mind.

Leverage analytics to truly understand each person's unique preferences. Identify patterns in past interactions that reveal what makes for a positive experience versus a poor one. Test frequently for continual improvement, gather feedback, and refine your processes to keep customers satisfied throughout the AI transition.

Adapt customer service metrics for the AI era

While long-standing metrics continue to be important, integrating AI requires modernizing your measurement approach. For instance, as AI chatbots handle more and more of your initial queries, traditional metrics require tweaking to accurately reflect changing support dynamics.

The first response time (FRT) metric is a prime example of a measurement tool that requires adjustment. To evaluate performance accurately, consider creating separate reports for "bot first response time" and "human first response time." This approach provides a holistic view of response speed across the board.

Get more insights and download our guide: How Customer Service Metrics Are Evolving in the Age of AI.

Choose the best AI customer service software

As generative AI continues advancing at a rapid pace, organizations must carefully evaluate available customer service solutions to ensure they choose a partner capable of delivering maximum value both now and in the future.

Enter Intercom, the best AI customer service software that prioritizes both team efficiency and customer satisfaction. With Intercom’s AI capabilities and advanced features, your support teams can tackle issues more effectively and effortlessly, freeing up valuable time to focus on what truly matters: your customers.

As the only platform combining an AI chatbot, help desk, and proactive support capabilities, Intercom allows you to keep costs low, support teams happy, and customers consistently satisfied. Through an AI-enhanced workspace and intuitive interface, teams can engage customers in real-time, fostering meaningful interactions at scale.

Don't get left behind wondering what could have been. Start your free trial today or request a demo, and leverage the power of generative AI in customer service.


1. Intercom, Customer Service Trends Report 2024. We surveyed over 2,000 global support professionals from a range of locations, roles, and company sizes to find out how customer service is changing across five main themes: customer expectations, AI trends, support teams, tech stacks, and metrics. The margin of error for this study is 2.2% at the 95% confidence level.

2. Intercom, The State of AI in Customer Service 2023. We commissioned an independent market research firm to survey a random sample of 1,013 global support leaders and practitioners. The margin of error for this study is +/- 3.7% at the 95% confidence level.

3. Mckinsey & Company, The economic potential of generative AI: The next productivity frontier.