Alan Dix explores AI and Social Justice
Author of Introduction to Artificial Intelligence
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by Omer Khan
NEW YORK - Customer service is a massive industry that has created jobs for millions of people. Itís only a matter of time until we wonít be able to tell apart a human customer support agent from an AI one.
Companies like Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Google have been investing heavily into this field, and have created astonishingly lifelike AI assistants that talk and react almost exactly as you would expect a real person to.
Today, customer service has become so reliant on AI that most companies use this medium for their entire first point of contact, to the point where they donít even hire people for the job. Weíll be going over some aspects of customer service that have been affected deeply by artificial intelligence in detail.
When a user contacts customer service, they want their problem to be rectified almost immediately. But when a customer agent constantly asks them to hold or gives them a waiting period for the query to be completed, it can certainly be annoying.
AI customer service handles this in a far more reliable and dynamic way. Most AI customer service agents are referred to as bots. These bots are equipped with various tools they can dynamically use while assisting a user.
You are given various options during your conversation with the bot, allowing you to solve your problem dynamically. Itís a fairly useful technique that leaves the user satisfied without wasting their time.
While itís true that many companies that still offer 24/7 customer service off the back of a human workforce, this isnít always as helpful as advertised. The cost of creating an AI that is responsive to user queries is significantly lower than training, hiring, and then paying a human employee.
That isnít to say that AIs are perfectly adequate agents for this job, but their availability is guaranteed due to the fact they are fundamentally a series of code that will respond, react, and adapt to situations required by the user.
Even if a user wants to contact customer service at 3 a.m. in the morning, they wonít be greeted by a half-asleep employee who doesnít want to work so late. You will be greeted by an AI agent that is ready to process your request and, with the tools and information it is equipped, solve your problems.
Conversational process automation is a technique used by AI developers that has allowed these bots to understand conversations. This means that when you converse with an AI, it uses deep learning artificial intelligence algorithms to judge the tone and structure of your sentences to make sense of what youíre trying to convey. The benefit of this in the field of customer service is that an AI can be programmed to react appropriately to every situation and response by a customer.
Instead of getting a generic and unhelpful response from a human customer support agent, an AI, if programmed efficiently, will always have a ready answer for the problem or query of the user.
According to a study, 70% of companies will adopt some form of artificial intelligence by 2030. Most companies are already implementing digital customer service in their customer relations. This means that with time, almost all online services will have some form of AI agent available at all times for its users.
The prospect of constant availability is highly beneficial for both the company and the user. It allows for both sides to retain a healthy relationship. Smartphones now come equipped with powerful AIs that can be used by the user for whatever needs they may have.† AI assistants like Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri are all capable of solving many problems much more efficiently than a regular human employee would.
These are all integrated in your phones, your computers, and thus you donít have to use a specific platform for help. All you need is an internet connection, and sometimes not even that as some of these work offline as well.
Modern customer care services are already
embedded into your personalized accounts and keep track of your previous
queries and experience with the service you are using. Modern AIs are capable
enough to constantly learn their user and evolve according to the userís needs.
This is a very useful feature and it allows
AIs to cater to each user differently by keeping track of their habits, needs,
and requirements. So, every time you contact the AI-based customer support,
itíll be more advanced from last time as it now has more information about your
If we compare this with a human customer
support agent, weíll see that the user has to walk them through everything and
they constantly transfer you to different agents. Itís tiresome and highly
inefficient for any user that has contacted help previously as well.
With AIs, your needs are taken care of
based on your needs alone, with consistency.
While AI-based customer service is definitely something that has its benefits, it will take some time to perfect the system and for users to understand its significance. Not everyone is equipped with enough computer knowledge to easily navigate these services. They rely more on a phone call and feel it more human than talking to a machine.
With the heavy investment in AI, times are changing. The use of AI customer service is becoming increasingly common, and while its benefits obviously outweigh its shortcomings, it will still lead to a massive shift in career structures, as millions of people are working in the industry already.
Omer Khan, CEO/ Co Founder†VividTech, Inc.†has over 15 years of experience in contact center engineering and have consulted for fortune 100 companies including Apple, Barclays and AT&T. Omer Khan has also been through Google and Microsoftís acceleration in London and San Francisco. He has also spoken on many conferences and actively contributes in the industry.
Author of Introduction to Artificial Intelligence