Embracing the Age of Machine Learning in Customer Service

There is no question that the topic of artificial intelligence and machine learning has been strongly debated in recent studies and industry opinion, especially around the command of the workforce. While it’s true that automation has the tendency take over the more repetitive tasks of day to day business operations, let’s not forget that this isn’t the first time technology has challenged humans in their comfort zones. The industrial revolution of the late 1700s to mid 1800s, for example, presented similar obstacles in which we have overcome with much success.

In the world of customer service, the fear of machines taking over and limiting jobs can definitely been seen as an unfortunate reality. This is one segment that needs to evolve quickly in order to stay ahead of the technological curve. It reminds me of the recent film, Hidden Figures, in the sense that customer service professionals require a shift from the task-oriented work to the operators of technology.

Here are 3 areas to keep in mind if you’re interested in evolving your customer service and customer experience skill-sets.

Focus on personalizing a tailored customer experience

Customer’s are more savvy than ever and understand the need for world-class support. Not only do they understand this, they depend and take part in a variety of service interactions every day depending on the product they have purchased. Scalability is important in providing a consistent experience but don’t be afraid to study the varying personas of your customer-base. This will help you begin to tailor personalized experiences not by specific user but rather, by the type of user engaging with your service team.

Smart Insights has a great customer persona toolkit to get you started found here.

Use AI and IA to your advantage — Let technology help the helper

There is a common and somewhat valid perception floating around that AI and other forms of machine learning are beginning to substitute customer service roles, especially for growing enterprises. While this may be true, there are ways to embrace the change. Artificial intelligence is something that can be managed. While there are a plethora of tasks that machines can do through automation, it almost always requires the intellectual and emotional intelligence of a human being acting as the operator.

Challenge your organization and team to utilize AI to your advantage by offsetting the tedious and easy to do tasks to machines, while ensuring there are escalation paths in place that allow service reps to take over a warm handoff from machine to human. You’ll be surprised at the level of productivity and efficiency your service team begins to deliver as you unify both forms of capital, human and technological.

Chatbots are getting better — Embrace them!

This is somewhat up for opinion at the moment but it is no question that chatbots are improving in their natural language processing (NLP). There is currently no perfect solution but as AI and machine learning improves and becomes more embraced, chatbots will continue to make stride in both mobile and web applications. It’s important to get started at the forefront and have a plan of attack for future chatbot integrations. Always be open to improving your process and customer experience.

Don’t be afraid to embrace new technology. Understand it, master it, and drive its future.