5 Ways AI Can Improve Your Customer Support

Posted by Alyssa Verzino on Nov 1, 2018 1:05:00 AM


Customer support is one of the most challenging, time-consuming, and costly aspects of any business, but artificial intelligence software can help make your customer support team more efficient. Below are five steps in your tech support workflow that AI can speed up, simplify, or streamline.

A customer support call usually follows a simple process:

  1. Answer the call (or chat)
  2. Identify the problem
  3. Provide the solution
  4. Confirm the solution worked
  5. Document the call

AI can assist with each of these steps. In some cases, it can replace a human support representative; in others, AI can help a human close out a support call faster and with higher customer satisfaction.

Answer the call (or chat)

The best possible customer support call is the one you don't have to answer. An AI bot can field the initial contact with a customer and route an inquiry to the appropriate department. AI can also undertake the rote information-gathering -- collecting a customer's name, preferred contact method, the product or solution version that needs support, etc. -- that begins every support session (and drives support agents crazy).

This cuts down on agent call time and related costs.

Identifying the problem

Just as an AI bot can gather basic customer information, an advanced AI agent can collect deep technical information that may help identify a known product issue. The bot could do so by either directly conversing with the customer, or by prompting a support agent to ask specific questions in response to specific answers. (For example, if a product in known to have an issue in older web browsers, the bot could specifically ask about the browser version the customer is using.)

A top-end AI support bot could even spontaneously generate these questions from support documentation (provided the AI is properly integrated with your support knowledge base). This minimizes the number of questions an agent needs to ask, further shortening call time and improving customer satisfaction.

Providing the solution

Once all the relevant technical information has been gathered, an AI bot can search your knowledge base and technical documentation for a known solution to the issue. The virtual agent can deliver this directly to the customer or simply offer it to human agent, who can either pass on the link to the solution document or walk the customer through the documented troubleshooting process. If your knowledge base can "enforce" robust process documentation and integrates deeply with your AI support agent, you can even trust the bot itself to coach a customer through a troubleshooting workflow (and only pass off to a human support rep if the bot or the customer gets stuck).

Confirming the solution worked

A good troubleshooting document always includes a checklist for confirming a solution works. This is usually a list of product functions that can be tested for accuracy. Unfortunately, human support reps and customers impatient to end a support call often skip this vital step, and that same customer must initiate another support call later when they realize their problem wasn't fully resolved.

An AI support agent can identify the confirmation checklist in your support documents and coach a human support rep or a customer through the confirmation process. That way neither party skips this vital step, the customer always leaves satisfied, and your call-close statistics remain accurate.

Documenting the call

"This call may be monitored for quality purposes" is a known earworm because calls should be monitored for quality, and satisfaction surveys should be part of your support process. Otherwise, how would you know if your support process is actually working? An AI agent can ensure that the customer feedback process is completed and can also undertake the rote work of documenting a call -- remember all that technical and demographic information the bot captured on the front end, when it helped identify the customer's problem -- so that your case management statistics are valid.

And if no valid solution was identified, or the customer left the call unhappy, the bot can prioritize that documentation, so your process improves as quickly as possible.

Bottom line: there is a lot of administrative overhead to customer support that gets in the way of support representatives actually helping customers. An artificially intelligent software support agent can lessen this burden and, in many cases, fully automate your support process. Customers are satisfied faster, and humans can focus on the human element of support.

Talla is building the AI support agent of the future, with a support documentation knowledge designed to empower your AI for maximum effect. If you'd like to learn how artificial intelligence can augment your customer support, contact Talla today.

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Topics: Artificial Intelligence, Bots, Customer Support