Bot on the landscape: evolving to provide AI-driven customer service

Written by Michael Smith on the 26th of April, 2019

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Accenture describe AI as the ‘new era of disruption and productivity, where human ingenuity is enhanced by speed and precision’. Quite correctly, they position it as complementary to human interaction. Part of an evolution, driven by technology.

In the case of customer service, using AI to sweep up, rationalise and automate the process of problem solving for consumers is possible only with the application of machine learning and the generation of content capable of deflecting the predictable.

A recent IBM report stated that 85% of all customer issues would be handled without a human agent by 2020. However, this can only become a reality if organisations and their contact centres have fundamentally transformed to be able to deliver this level of automation.

Consider the fact that in a 6 minute call, 75% of that time is devoted to agents doing manual research, with valued customer interaction at a 25%. This suggests that there is still some way to go!

With 72% of millennials no longer wishing to make a call to resolve an issue, the challenge for many organisations is not simply one of rolling out a chatbot. The deployment of an agile technology platform capable of providing a consolidated, single view of every customer interaction, is key to acquiring the deep analysis and insights required.  Only then can you build a framework that can accurately predict, preempt and provide AI-driven service.

Chatbots are the front-end of a new inbound hierarchy of channels. There to deflect and skim-off enquiries that can be quickly, easily and simply dealt. This in turn elevates human interaction to an added-value service, where CX can be maximised through the provision of higher levels of advocacy or resolution.

That is not to say that AI cannot play a more strategic role. For brands that have seen growth slow or are suffering from inertia, chatbots can also provide the pace and agility to support or drive into new markets. Where interactions can be safely predicted, they come into their own insofar as they are free of the limitations of employing and training staff in relation to specific products or local language.

What is clear is that AI-driven customer support is part of an evolutionary process that blends technology with human interaction. Neither is at this stage mutually exclusive, if your organisation is to provide the best possible experience.

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