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The future of AI in Customer Service

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There is no doubt the age of the customer is here. Whether B2B or B2C, customers expect to be able to contact businesses, and receive assistance, at the time of their choosing, and via the channel of their choice.

But how does a business adopt an ‘always on’ approach with customers, while savings costs and improving the bottom line?

The answer is artificial intelligence (AI), which is fast becoming a customer service must-have. In fact, according to Gartner, up to 80 per cent of customer service interaction is expected to be handled by AI by 2020.

AI improves customer service and accelerates business outcomes, including improving the bottom line, by automating simple tasks that don’t require human interaction.

It is neither cost-effective nor time-efficient to have human staff answering simple questions for customers, and businesses simply can’t facilitate effective customer retention by transferring time-poor customers to multiple agents within the business just to get a query answered.

AI assists with this in a number of areas: by providing answers to simple customer questions 24/7, sorting messaging, prioritising queries to a human agent quickly where necessary, and by freeing up human agents to facilitate higher value calls.

AI can do this by analysing large amounts of data faster than a human agent ever could, therefore predicting the required response quickly, and with more accuracy, than has been previously available.

AI uses cutting edge voice recognition to understand what someone is asking, identify the consumer, and predict the necessary response.

Natural language processing (NLP) is the latest tool in AI’s arsenal. It analyses human language to understand context and outcomes, so AI can converse with humans, often without the human even realising. NLP works in unison with voice recognition to ensure the customer receives the assistance they need in the fastest possible time, with the minimum amount of frustration. If the AI can’t assist a customer, it ensures the customer is handed off to a human assistant quickly.

All of this achieves a number of benefits, including a better and more efficient user experience, with minimal pain points, for happier customers. It also reduces the amount of human hours required to service simple tasks, meaning budget can be better spent elsewhere.

It is important to know AI is not a replacement for human interaction; rather, it is facilitator that minimises customer frustration.

One company taking advantage of AI and using it for customer service effectively is Huawei.

Huawei opened a Global Service Centre (GSC) powered by an AI based NLP capability to provide a fast and convenient user experience last year. Huawei invested more than 10 million euros in building the GSC, which consists of four units: technical support, remote delivery, network operation, and marketing and channel support, aimed at providing customers with 24/7 support.

“In combination with the backend knowledge-base, it provides an online service that is more accurate and can quickly solve user problems,” Rolland Cheng, Huawei Enterprise GSC Director, said. “We are currently developing cutting-edge big data capabilities to achieve the best interactive experience powered by AI for customers and partners.”

As AI and NLP become more sophisticated, it is expected the amount of assistance AI can offer into the future is limitless, not only further enhancing the customer experience, but also improving the bottom line.

To find out more about cloud enablement, go to: http://e.huawei.com/topic/idc-whitepaper-service2018/en, or to find out more about Huawei’s services: https://e.huawei.com/en/services

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