Using AI to Bring Humanity Back to Customer Service

Date : 31-Jan-2019
Location: APAC Region

Key Take-Aways:
  • As consumers start to get on board on AI adoption, what’s the impact on businesses? According to an Accenture report published in 2017, businesses that successfully apply AI can create up to US$215 billion in gross value added across 11 industries in Singapore by 2035, taking only 13 years for the economy to double in size. Without AI, it would take 22 years to achieve the same growth.
  • AI is undoubtedly opening a huge opportunity for businesses. But amidst a slowing global economy, tightening labour supply and a competitive business environment, how can businesses turn to AI to better engage with customers and drive growth in 2019 and beyond?
  • Case studies of A.I in customer service : Google Assistant, Bus Uncle (nearly 40,000 active users monthly).
  • A recent global study by LogMeIn found that over 1/3 of consumers were not impressed with their customer journey, citing an average or poor experience.
  • Broadly, 83% of consumers mentioned they faced at least one issue while interacting with a brand. Brands, on the other hand, believe that their customers would give them a favourable rating despite reporting that only 49 percent of customer problems are solved on the first interaction.
  • There is a clear disconnect in how companies and customers are defining good customer service. This perception gap could have a significant business impact as customer experience becomes even more vital in the buying decision of consumers.
  • This is where AI is making a big impact today. Across the world, more than half (54 percent) of all consumers and three quarters (76 percent) of businesses agree that AI is changing customer experience for the better. Internal-facing AI can help businesses better understand their customer journey, pinpoint areas that need to be optimised and help agents provide personalised service faster than ever before. On the other hand, customer-facing chatbots help service teams scale by eliminating hold times, offering customers 24/7 support, and providing quick resolutions.
  • Zooming in on the Asia Pacific region, the study shows that traditional channels of customer engagement – email and telephone – remain widely popular, but do not often provide the quickest path to resolution. While 2/3 of respondents from Singapore believe that speaking to someone over the phone or online is the quickest way to have their queries dealt with, 80% believe brands should use technologies such as chatbots to improve customer experience (this was higher than any other market surveyed in the study).
  • Businesses looking at AI today, need to think of the bot as another employee – working hand in hand with the rest of their team. Deploying a chatbot on the frontlines helps empower customers to self-serve and take the redundant, mundane requests off the plate of the human agent – leaving them open for more complex, strategic work.

  • Ryan Lester, Director, Customer Engagement Technologies, said that AI cannot replace human touch - even the most mature chatbot implementation cannot deliver the creativity, empathy and flexibility that humans pride themselves on.
    According to the study, 79 percent of organisations in Singapore (the highest across all markets) reported that if chatbots could reduce inquiries into call centres, they would train agents to handle different or additional tasks.
Editor's comments:
  • Chatbot must not totally replace human customer service although customer-facing chatbots can help to bring customer service experience to the next level.
  • Chatbot must be programmed to escalate to human counterpart seamlessly.
  • Human should be left to handle the complex and strategy work - in particular, where creativity, empathy and flexibility are required.
  • Whilst chatbot may be a near future deployment, AI deployment for automation of internal tasks such as issues management and analytics is a must NOW !!!
  • Whilst humanity embarks on the journey towards mainstream AI adoption, any chatbot offering would be seen as exciting, interesting and promising.
  • Anyone who implements a chatbot would definitely raise the bar ! Do it soon !