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Is AI The Future Of Customer Service?

David Burgundy | 23 Apr 2018

AI in customer supportThe term artificial intelligence is being thrown around a great deal these days. Elon Musk is, after all, quoted as saying that artificial intelligence is the single greatest threat to mankind. These words may have been taken out of context in order to sound threatening, but there really is no question that artificial intelligence is playing a bigger and bigger role in our daily lives.

Artificial intelligence is the basis of the voice activated Google search engine, will soon be driving our cars for us, and is now also largely responsible for customer support centres. In fact, a number of customer support centres, including those found at online casinos, are already artificial intelligence based, and, astonishingly, many aren’t even aware of it.

Sophisticated And Powerful

Robert Weideman is the Executive Vice President and Manager of Nuance Enterprise, a company that specialises in artificial intelligence based customer support services. In a recent interview he spoke at length about how artificial intelligence is revolutionising customer support, and detailed how far artificial intelligence has come. He was quick to point out that many see movie computers such as the much loved Jarvis, in the Iron Man movies, as far fetched. But, Weideman declared, such computers were not far off at all.

Weideman went on to talk about how customer support artificial intelligence was developed at Nuance, and how the 6,500 clients Nuance Enterprises has expect their customer support software to behave. The ultimate goal was, Weideman concluded, to make artificial intelligence that not only helps customers, but also seems distinctly human in its interactions.

Can AI replace human support?AI Customer Support Benefits

There are many benefits to customer support centres being artificial intelligence based, not in the least the costs saved by companies. Developing sophisticated artificial intelligence software may be a long, expensive process, but implementing it is far more cost effective than many assume. Companies save a small fortune, and customers, for the most part, are happy with the results.

A recent survey showed that an enormous 90% of people preferred communicating with customer support via text based messaging, as opposed to making a phone call. And, furthermore, customer satisfaction with help received from artificial intelligence software is likewise overwhelmingly positive.

A helping hand from both sidesAI Negatives

But artificial intelligence software isn’t all rainbows and glitter. There are downsides to artificial intelligence based systems, as anyone who has had a finicky voice operate smartphone will know. Computer software of this kind, although far advanced from where it was just a few years ago, can be difficult to communicate with in certain circumstances.

There are, for example, virtually infinite ways in which a person can approach an artificial intelligence system, and this can, and often still will, result in confused communication. Given that companies such as Nuance are attempting to create and artificial intelligence system that seems human, problems can still arise.

Plus, it need not be pointed out that as artificial intelligence claims jobs, humans lose jobs. And the problems with this situation are plain for anyone to see. If a technology revolution is on the horizon, many hard working humans may quickly find themselves out of a job. Weideman was quick to point out, however, that the goal is not to take jobs from human assistants, but rather to screen less demanding customer queries. If the artificial intelligence is unable to solve the problem, it will always still be passed on to a human assistant. The goal is, therefore, to ease the workload of human operators.

Is AI The Future?

A prediction states that by 2020 about 85% of customer interactions will be handled first by an artificial intelligence. This is a stunning statistic, given that this prediction is set to occur in just a few years time. It makes absolute sense, given the cost effectiveness, and immense improvements artificial intelligence would make at most customer support centres. So, in terms of customer support, artificial intelligence certainly seems to be the future.

As to how far artificial intelligence goes in other industries remains to be seen. But needless to say, if costs can be reduced, and services improved, it only makes logical sense that such technology will be implemented.

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