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How you can use AI for customer service to help teams and customers

With the recent surge in popularity and adoption of artificial intelligence across various industries, future-ready leaders are not only recognizing its potential but are also embracing AI for customer service.

According to our report The State of AI in Customer Service 2023, 69% of support leaders intend to increase their investments in AI-powered solutions over the next year¹. In addition, 38% of leaders have already started investing in AI technology.

In line with our discoveries, companies are currently seeing the impact of AI for customer service. 

  • 61% of support leaders have seen better results in their customer experience. 

  • 58% of support leaders have reported improvements to their CSAT scores.

  • 66% of support leaders are achieving their KPIs and meeting SLAs through AI-driven solutions. 

Overall, our data illustrates that AI for customer service is positively contributing to enhanced support across many leading organizations today.

Read on to to learn more about:

  • What is AI for customer service.

  • What is AI customer service software.

  • How AI can be used in customer service.

  • AI customer service benefits.

  • How to get started with AI for customer service.

What is AI for customer service?

AI in customer service leverages advanced technologies such as machine learning and natural language processing to enhance and streamline customer support and service operations. It involves the application of AI to automate certain aspects of customer interactions, improve response times, and deliver more personalized and efficient service.

What is AI customer service software?

AI customer service software seamlessly integrates the advantages of both automated and human support, harnessing advanced technologies to intelligently route inquiries, offer self-service alternatives, and assist support teams effectively.

For instance, AI customer service solutions may include:

  • AI chatbots that instantly and accurately resolve customer questions, and escalate more demanding matters to the support team.

  • AI-powered help desk features that summarize conversations, expand replies, rephrase answers, or change tone to improve team’s efficiency.

Keep this in mind as we explore practical examples of how AI can be used in customer service.

How can AI be used in customer service?

Quickly resolve queries to reduce workload

With the right AI, a huge portion of queries that would normally soak up reps time can now be addressed in no time. For instance, our AI chatbot, Fin, can resolve up to 50% of your support questions in an instant.

By resolving basic requests with artificial intelligence, you speed up workflows and reduce workload for your team. As a result, their time is freed up to focus on handling emotionally complex or sensitive problems.

Collect upfront information for complete context

AI is incredibly helpful for tackling tricky troubleshooting problems. When things get complex, an AI chatbot can ask questions to figure out what's wrong. 

If the chatbot can't offer a solution, it hands the customer over to human support. By collecting essential details upfront, AI-powered software ensures that support reps have all the context they need to address queries fast. 

It's a win-win situation that saves time for both customers and support teams.

Leverage existing help content for fast, accurate answers

Chances are your support team has put a ton of work into documentation over the years, and using AI in customer service can unlock the potential of your existing content. 

An AI chatbot can instantly retrieve relevant knowledge to answer your customer queries. This not only accelerates response times but also ensures customers receive accurate and consistent information 24/7.

Pass conversations for extra assistance

When a query surpasses the AI chatbot's knowledge or requires a human touch, the AI automatically routes the conversation to human support teams, so customers can get the best possible experience.

A smooth transition is crucial, as customers receive the assistance they need, while the support team has full context to pick up where the AI chatbot left off to provide an uninterrupted, high-quality experience.

Summarize conversations for support team’s awareness

Without AI, passing tricky customer cases between support reps may take valuable time. They have to summarize everything that has been said so the next teammate can jump in seamlessly.

This time-consuming task is in the past. AI does the heavy lifting by summarizing conversations automatically, making life easier for both the support rep who's passing the baton and the one who's picking it up.

Take a look at an AI-generated summary in action:

Improve replies with AI assistance for support reps

AI tools can boost support replies by offering suggestions for expanding, rephrasing, or adjusting the tone of the messages. 

With the expand option, you can simply write short notes or bullet points, and then enhance into full responses. Alternatively, rephrasing allows you to refine your message and find the right words.

Adjusting the tone of the message to each customer is also possible with just a click, modifying your response to be friendlier, or more formal.

Check out how AI can automatically rephrase and change the tone of the message:

AI customer service benefits

AI customer service is a game-changer, and its benefits ripple across both customers and support teams alike.

“All this emerging technology that empowers support agents to spend less time doing mindless button-pushing is ultimately a better experience for our support team, for our customers, and it helps people get through life with a little bit more joy.” John O’Hara, Director of Customer Experience at Logikcull.

Take a look into the benefits AI brings to the table for support team and customer experience.

How AI customer service can improve the customer experience?

  • 24/7 availability: AI is always ready to assist, providing instant responses to customer questions at any time, day or night.

  • Faster support: AI promptly addresses queries, eliminating the need for customers to wait on hold or navigate FAQ pages.

  • Personalized responses: AI chatbots understand customer needs and preferences, offering tailored responses and recommendations.

  • More accurate answers: AI offers consistent service quality, pulling correct answers based on existing content.

Following the implementation of Intercom's AI-powered chatbot, Fin, Zapiet’s team is already seeing the benefits of AI for customer service:

“The results we have seen with Fin are groundbreaking, double-digit gains in engagement and resolution rates. Never have I seen a piece of technology so seamless to integrate, just a few clicks and you suddenly have a 24/7 new teammate!” Sam Forde, Merchant Support Manager at Zapiet.

How AI customer service can improve the support team experience?

  • Lower support volume: AI quickly handles your FAQs with great success, reducing the workload on support teams and preventing burnout.

  • Focus on complex issues: Support reps can dedicate their time to addressing more impactful queries.

  • Enhanced efficiency: AI reduces time spent answering repetitive questions, enabling teams to deal with more inquiries within the same timeframe.

  • Seamless handover: AI routes conversations to human support when necessary, ensuring smooth interactions for customers.

  • Conversation AI-assistance: AI summarizes conversations, expands or rephrases responses, and adapts tone to improve the overall quality of customer experience.

Max Williams, Support Manager at Dental Intelligence, shares his thoughts on AI for customer service and human support:

“Combining automation and human support, blending those two together, allows our teammates to do what they do best – be creative, be empathetic, and do the things that only humans can do, and that's find unique solutions to difficult problems.”

How to get started with AI for customer service?

1. Identify the business outcomes you're trying to achieve

Clearly defining the results your business seeks through AI for customer service is key. Start by identifying goals like improving customer satisfaction, reducing costs from automation, or boosting teams’ productivity.

Once you've identified these outcomes, it's time to craft a well-thought-out strategy. This plan should lay the groundwork for applying AI where it makes sense.

Now, you should also address the return of investment (ROI) projections to help build a compelling business case for investing in AI. Try calculating: 

  • The volume of queries currently handled by your team that could be done by AI.

  • The total number of conversation handovers done each week. 

  • The average time spent on drafting replies for customers.

  • The amount of time required for training and onboarding.

It’s also important to engage support reps early in crafting your vision. Their insights and commitment are priceless for ensuring responsible technology integration that prioritizes customers.

How to get your support team ready for AI? Watch our webinar to learn how CS leaders are preparing teams – and customers – for AI.

2. Consider your technology stack integration with AI

Take a moment to assess your technology stack. With a range of AI options at your disposal, prioritize solutions that strike a balance between innovation and security. By that, we mean AI platforms that not only push boundaries but also emphasize control and safeguards – as any pioneering tech should.

Moreover, think long-term. Even if an AI in customer service solution can stand alone, envision its place within your larger customer support ecosystem. Can it seamlessly integrate with your existing tools and systems?

Our platform, for instance, allows you to integrate the tools you use every day with over 400 pre-built apps.

3. Validate AI technology quickly 

In this fast-paced digital landscape, swift action is your ally. Promptly prove the potential of AI, securing those early victories to support the foundation of your strategy.

The latest generative AI solutions can be up and running in minutes if you have the proper AI customer service software. For instance, start by automating straightforward yet high-volume tasks to relieve your reps’ workload.

Follow the impact of AI on your CS metrics, and start keeping tabs on your successes, allowing you to measure what's effective and spot opportunities for improving your strategy for even more wins.

4. Optimize your knowledge for the AI solution

One crucial aspect is how you curate and maintain the knowledge that the AI relies on to automate your workflow. Start by reviewing your existing support articles and FAQs, making sure the information is correct before using it. 

You can also look at other public sources, but be careful about including anything you didn't create yourself; accuracy and trustworthiness should never be left behind. 

When optimizing your knowledge base for AI, fill the gaps for common queries – AI chatbots require accurate and up-to-date information regarding your products or services.

Do you need help to get your support content ready for an AI chatbot? Read about the best practices to optimize your knowledge base.

Will AI replace customer service roles?

While some debate whether AI will replace customer service roles, we believe AI will instead transform and indeed improve support roles. According to our The State of AI in Customer Service 2023 Report, 78% of leaders expect AI to drive new career opportunities and forge entirely new positions over the next five years.

We’re in the face of a customer service revolution, where humans will leverage the power of AI and automation to meet – and exceed – customers’ expectations. With this winning combination, businesses can step up their game, enhance customer experiences, and gain a real edge over the competition.

The AI future is now: start a free trial today and see for yourself the real power of AI in customer service.

¹ Intercom. State of AI in Customer Service Report 2023. We surveyed 1,013 global customer service leaders and practitioners.

² Intercom. Customer Service Trends Report 2023. We surveyed 1,700 global support leaders and decision makers.