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AI: Artificial Intelligence Will Fundamentally Transform Customer Service

Author: Kate Leggett

Artificial Intelligence (AI) improves the economics and capabilities of everything around us. Amazon and Netflix recommend products based on our history, Yahoo and Facebook tag photos, Waze and Google get us to our destination more effectively, Lyft and Uber precisely communicate arrival times of our drivers.

Consumers are starting to expect intelligent experiences – personal, contextual to their immediate situation, and highly relevant – every time they interact with a company. And customer service interactions are no exception.

AI can assist agents in completing repetitive tasks, or even completely take these tasks over. Yet, instead of replacing humans entirely, AI will enhance agents’ skills and allow them to focus their attention beyond routine tasks. Agents instead will handle customer interactions that require deeper insight, and analysis.  These interactions will often take longer to resolve and are opportunities to nurture profitable customer relationships  which are increasingly rare in  a digital-first world.

AI, for customer service will:

  • Deliver Differentiated Customer Experiences. Close to half of consumers already use intelligent assistants like Alexa, Siri and Cortana to sustain automated conversations. Intelligent agents for customer service will power single purpose chatbots such as what KLM uses to communicate booking confirmations to virtual agents that embed deep learning. AI will make these conversations natural, effective and will delight customers. They will anticipate needs based on discerned context, preferences, and prior queries, and will deliver advice, resolutions, alerts, and offers. And they will become better over time.
  • Make Operations Smarter. AI will up-level contact center operations. AI will streamline inquiry capture and resolution. AI will extract useful information from voice and digital conversations, images as well as machine-to-machine communications to quickly surface trends in issues, and customer sentiment that may affect customer retention and loyalty. AI will schedule maintenance appointments, will push fixes to connected devices, will make field operations more efficient, for example restocking parts based on needs, or intelligently optimizing field resources to provide on-demand service.
  • Uncover new revenue streams and reinvent business models. AI can uncover patterns in large data sets that may reveal new insights that companies can use to create entirely new services for customers that can be monetized. Machine-learning algorithms used for business and customer intelligence find answers to questions that humans didn’t even know to ask.

For more information about AI-fueled customer service scenarios, see our Forrester report,”How AI Will Transform Customer Service“.

Kate Leggett is VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research. Read more Forrester blogs here.

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