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How AI Is Changing Customer Service & What You Can Do to Keep Up

10 min read

With the rise of AI technology, customer service has transformed at an exceptional rate. Nowadays, AI can automate mundane customer service tasks, deliver personalized experiences, and provide quicker, more accurate responses.

Any business should prioritize outstanding customer service, from small local shops to large multinational corporations. Business owners must stay up-to-date with useful tools, like AI, to provide excellent customer service.

But is it possible for AI-powered services to replace your Customer Care team?

In this blog post, we’ll look at what AI can and can’t do, how it changes customer service, and what you can do to keep up.

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What Does AI Mean?

Before we jump into the trends of using AI in customer service, let’s break down what AI means.

When we mention AI, aka artificial intelligence, we usually refer to machine learning. These software algorithms can learn and improve their ability to perform tasks as they complete assignments and process data.

You use tools powered by AI every day, even though you might not realize it. For example, search engines, online marketplaces, and movie streaming services all use machine learning to improve their customers’ experiences.

AI can collect customer data and create powerful insights, deliver personalized experiences, and improve productivity. That’s why using AI is so beneficial for businesses. AI also:

  • Saves time. By automating simple, repetitive tasks (e.g., answering questions like “What’s my tracking number?”), customer support personnel can spend more time on complex issues.
  • Helps retain customers. AI enables faster resolution times which improves overall customer experience. That, in turn, is crucial to encourage customers to order from you again.

What customer service professionals think about AI based on the survey by Dialpad

An excellent customer experience helps attract new customers, too: 59% of consumers say they would recommend a brand to a friend because of its customer service.

Now that we understand what AI means in customer assistance, let’s look at some of the most popular trends.

Streamline the Shopping Experience with Self-Service Solutions

More often than not, shoppers contact customer service with simple questions. Most people want to know about shipping updates or return policies. These questions don’t necessarily need to be handled by a human—self-service solutions like chatbots on websites can handle basic queries.

Chatbots are computer programs designed to simulate conversation. AI chatbots can help customers track orders and get answers to basic questions right away. They can also help people find what they want in an online store.

Using chatbots saves time both for customer service agents and customers. Moreover, 60% of customers prefer to resolve issues without talking to a service agent when shopping online.

Chatbots are mostly helpful when:

  • A customer needs an answer to simple questions as quickly as possible;
  • A customer doesn’t want to talk to a real person.

Although chatbots can direct shoppers with complex questions to the appropriate customer service channels, businesses should not exclusively rely on chatbots for customer service. To ensure good customer service, provide both automated and human-based solutions. The latter should be easily accessible to customers—no one likes to jump through hoops to reach a human representative.

Provide Personalized Interaction and Recommendations

Personalization in customer service means providing product recommendations and tailored offers based on a customer’s preferences.

According to Zendesk’s consumer trend report, while personalization is in demand, many brands underestimate its importance. In fact:

  • 76% of customers expect personalization from brands;
  • 62% of consumers think companies could be better at personalization.

That’s where AI-powered technologies come in. AI-driven chatbots or virtual agents can analyze customers’ past purchases, interests, demographics, and behavior to deliver tailored recommendations in real time.

For example, Amazon’s recommendation system is AI-based. It analyzes customers’ purchase history, search records, and behavioral data to predict and suggest products they might be interested in. Their personalized approach has significantly boosted customer engagement and sales for Amazon.

Improve Speed of Customer Service Tasks

AI can help businesses analyze the nature of customer requests before assigning them to a customer service agent. AI tools can analyze the customer’s problem, urgency, and emotions. Then they automatically sort customer requests and assign them to the appropriate agent.

For example, you can automatically assign your most experienced agents to handle complex cases and let your newer representatives address more straightforward tickets.

Many tools, such as ad platforms, automatically identify a comment’s sentiment

Additionally, it may be helpful to have representatives who are solely responsible for urgent and time-sensitive requests. Resolving unfavorable requests fast is crucial for retaining customers. 42% of consumers say they would stop buying from a brand after two negative service experiences.

Process Customer Feedback More Efficiently

Natural language processing is a central component of AI-powered customer service. Customer interactions are collected, analyzed, and classified using algorithms and machine learning. Businesses can use AI to understand what customers say about products, how they react, and what they need. Such tools can help process customer feedback.

AI copywriting can be helpful in particular. It can speed up the process of responding to reviews. For example, Jasper uses a Review Responder tool that analyzes customers’ feedback and generates replies depending on its content.

An example of a reply to negative feedback generated with AI

Responding to feedback quickly, especially negative feedback, is vital to keep customers satisfied. Nowadays, consumers often share complaints or ask questions on social media, requiring brands to react faster than ever. According to Statista, 28% of global consumers expect to receive a response in an hour, while 37% want a response within the same day.

Results of the survey “What is your expected response time for social media questions or complaints?” (Source: Statista)

What You Can Do to Keep Up with Customer Service Trends

Using AI to augment customer service provides benefits to businesses and their customers. As such, companies that leverage AI in customer service are more likely to stay competitive.

While larger companies may invest more in AI-powered product recommendation systems, small businesses should keep up with the trends. Conveniently, business owners can stay up-to-date without breaking the bank.

Here are some quick ways to stay relevant and provide stellar customer service, even with a small team of reps:

  • Use chatbots to handle commonly asked questions about products, refunds, shipping, and other topics. If you run an Ecwid store, you can choose from several customer support chatbots, like Tidio, Chaport, Desku, and more.
  • Analyze customer data to provide personalized recommendations tailored to individual shoppers. For example, you can use Marsello to create loyalty, SMS, and email campaigns based on customers’ shopping behavior.
  • Use customer communication platforms to understand your customers’ purchase behavior and personalize communication. You can integrate your Ecwid store with various platforms.
  • Be open to trying out new tools to help improve your customer service. For example, test a tool developed to reduce wait time or automate repetitive tasks.
  • Monitor customer reviews and feedback. Identify areas that need improvement. There are many ways to collect and moderate reviews for your Ecwid store.
  • Set up an effective customer support system. Use Ecwid’s built-in Facebook live chat or integrate a third-party platform like Zendesk.

Businesses of all sizes should use AI-powered tools to provide better customer service. AI helps businesses stay competitive by optimizing mundane tasks, among other benefits.

For more tips on how to use AI for your business, check out the following article:

Wrap Up

AI technology gives customers the convenience and speed they desire in customer service. As business owners, we must start using these to our advantage. Effective customer service is essential for businesses to keep their customers happy. AI can provide that quickly and on a massive scale.

We recommend taking small steps toward integrating AI into your store, such as:

  • Exploring self-service solutions that best fit your customers’ needs;
  • Providing personalized experiences to shoppers;
  • Investing in tools to increase the speed of customer service tasks.

Change can seem daunting, but there’s no time like the present! Take charge of your business’s success by using AI. Check out what tools are available and find one that works for you.

 

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About the author

Anastasia Prokofieva is a content writer at Ecwid. She writes about online marketing and promotion to make entrepreneurs’ daily routine easier and more rewarding. She also has a soft spot for cats, chocolate, and making kombucha at home.

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