With the arrival of ChatGPT, businesses have begun to understand the potential benefits of Generative AI in customer service.
What is Generative AI?
Many of us have started to learn about Generative AI thanks to ChatGPT. Generative AI is an artificial intelligence technology that can generate text, images and audio (amongst other formats), typically in response to a prompt or enquiry. While it has, er, generated great interest, experts don’t recommend using ChatGPT itself in customer service applications, at least in its current form. Primarily, because Chat GPT doesn’t have access to the proprietary information that your CX operation serves up to your customers. And secondly, because you don’t want it to. It’s about security and control. Chat GPT is an external engine, and it is not recommended for any business to share their own information with an external source without very strict controls. At the very least, who gets access to ChatGPT data? What happens when it gets out of date, or you need to make changes to it?
However, all that said, there’s no doubt that ChatGPT has well and truly opened the door for a greater understanding of the capabilities of AI, and Generative AI in particular. Already there are fantastic applications for AI and automation, and increasingly, for Generative AI, in Customer Service. Here are some great fundamental examples…
- Call arrival, recognition and delivery
- Agent assistance
- Self-service with enhanced automation
Different forms of automation have long been applied to these processes, from simple caller line ID matching with names, to integration with a customer relationship management (CRM) system…
1. Handling new customer service calls using AI
When a customer contacts customer service the most basic expectations they have will be these:
- If they have engaged with you before, that you will have an accurate record of all their previous engagements readily available.
- If they ask for information, that you will have the correct answers readily available.
Over and above these, you can generally surpass their expectations by being fully prepared for their enquiry and timely in your response. This is where AI and Generative AI can contribute so much in customer service.
AI sets this up by:
- Identifying the calling line number, account ID or email address that accompanies the phone call or web chat or other interaction (telco information permitting).
- Associating this with the relevant CRM or database record.
- Identifying the most suitable destination for handling, and then routing the interaction accordingly. For example the agent who last spoke to this customer, or the agent most qualified to engage with them. Or, do they have payments outstanding, and need to be routed to the specialist creditors team?
- Screen-popping the customer record on the agent’s screen with relevant recent and longer term history displayed.
2. Assisting Agents using AI
The next part of the journey is about empowering the agent to provide a premium customer experience:
- Displaying a script on screen for the agent to follow when greeting the customer, based on previous engagement, case history, purchases etc. The agent enters relevant information during the call into a template; a bot writes away notes to your records database.
- Highlighting previous webpage visits, with a list of products or services recently reviewed AND relevant special offers.
- “Listening” to the conversation and using key words to detect further areas to assist. For example, alerting the agent to negative sentiment, increased volume, agitated speech patterns etc and offering suggestions to help diffuse the situation, or alerting a supervisor. Generative AI can also proactively prompt agents with product or services suggestions.
- Responding to the agent’s search questions in the background, worded so agent can seamlessly relay.
- Generating or scheduling potential follow-up response options that the agent can activate, including a follow-up call, SMS or email. Or these could be automated and entirely ‘handsfree’. Generative AI can ensure the format and content is accessible and digestible.
— And so on, both predicting and responding to the turns of the conversation, and above all, personalising the engagement.
Which customer will not feel impressed, and that they are in good hands? I hasten to add: this need not in any way be an intrusive service that oversteps boundaries of privacy. The AI is simply responding to information provided. Also, the final approval and execution can be human-activated where needed. Either way, the AI is responding rapidly, accurately, consistently and independently to enhance the experience for both customer and agent, as well as increasing the standing of your brand in the customer’s eyes.
3. Enhancing Self-Service with AI
Increasingly, customers are willing – and indeed many prefer – to engage with businesses via self-service. Salesforce reported that 74% of B2B customers (and 56% of consumers) said their relationship with technology had changed since the pandemic. Moreover, 82% of all customers were interested in using self-service.
Self-service has multiple benefits. Accelerating an interaction not only makes that customer happy – it also speeds up customer engagement for every other customer by keeping queues shorter. As a result, callers are less frustrated and kinder to agents. Agents are happier in their jobs and provide an even higher standard of service. If you aren’t increasingly needing to hire agents then your business costs are also reduced.
There are different ways to help customers self-serve, based on your business and customer demographics. And with Generative AI, self-service got smarter. For example, when customers engage via your website, via IVR (Interactive Voice Recognition) using the phone, or via a smart mobile app:
- Generative AI reads or listens to enquiries and answers them in conversational language, either online or using text to speech, depending on the engagement.
- If data is unavailable or the query is not understood, it will offer to escalate the interaction to a live agent.
- AI will also highlight difficulties so that administrators can resolve and assist learning to improve the engagement for the future.
- AI can review 100% of recorded or captured interactions and provide golden insights while saving supervisors hundreds of hours. For example:
- Search key words for overall sentiment and customer satisfaction level.
- Ensure that the agent adhered to the script, and followed mandatory guidelines.
- Highlight logistics issues in delivery, product or process.
- Identify upsell or cross-sell opportunities.
- Find “coachable” moments that supervisors can follow up with agents.
Is there a downside to the current surge of Artificial Intelligence and Generative AI?
It may sound simplistic, but there is certainly one notable downside for some organisations with regard to this huge movement to AI and Generative AI in customer service. It’s one we’ve all seen before, during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. As a result of moving out of offices and in-person shopping, thousands of providers invested heavily in online enhancement and advancement, raising the bar for every business worldwide, especially those in similar industry sectors. The more outstanding service that’s available from other businesses, even outside your sector, the more your own customers start to expect it from you. And consequently, the lower their tolerance is if they don’t get it. This rebounds directly onto both your staff and your brand, and can result in agent attrition in search of better working conditions as well as customer attrition in search of a better experience.
Stay ahead of the game and your finger on the pulse by monitoring and surveying your customers. If you would like to find out more, talk to the team at Enghouse, or your Enghouse trusted Partner.
Find out more about how to ensure happy customers, more engaged agents and cost-effective engagement from our new eBook Ultimate Guide to AI-Enabled Contact Centre.
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- We recommend this infographic: The Future of Customer Service
- Check out our AI Insights web page for more information: here
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