AI in customer service, and augmenting humans is the opportunity

“The real opportunity for businesses is to blend AI with human effort,” says Mark Turner, Executive Vice President of Genesys.

He was speaking as Genesys released a survey looking at AI in customer service and other aspects of customer service. It turns out that a combination of bots, voice recognition and online, with human based customer service is the key to keeping customers. In short, AI in customer service has to run alongside more traditional areas.

Turner said: “That combination is a game changer for organisations that want to give consumers the fast, efficient, informed service they want. But businesses must find the right mix of digital channels, automation, AI and human involvement — or they risk making their customers unhappy. We do not believe AI will replace the need for live support, rather, it is the catalyst for positive change in the way humans work and how consumers get service.”

Chatbots and human customer services; does artificial intelligence replace or complement humans? imageChatbots and human customer services; does artificial intelligence replace or complement humans?

Gemma Baker, from Click4Assistance looks at chatbots in human customer services and asks whether they compete or complement each other?

The survey

Customer service matters a lot, finds the Genesys survey. In fact, half of the respondents said that they have switched providers because of poor customer service and 42% say they stopped doing business with the brand. Just as pertinent, the vast majority of respondents have told others of bad customer service whether it be over social media, email, in-person, or otherwise.

So what can companies do and how does AI in customer service weave itself into the story?

The answer is that some tech, some use of bots, some AI in customer service, does not seem to put many customers off — when asked about the most irritating issue in customer service, only 8.6% of consumers cited speaking with a bot.

Wimbledon 2018: How AI and chatbots are serving innovation imageWimbledon 2018: How AI and chatbots are serving innovation

Information Age visited the All England Lawn Tennis Club to see how IBM technology is revolutionising the fan experience at Wimbledon 2018.

But that does not mean tech and bots in particular can replace humans altogether. Roughly twice that number said “not being able to talk to a live agent when they choose” is a bigger annoyance.

No less than 93% of respondents said that it’s important for companies to quickly route queries to a customer service agent who has background information and understands the customer’s needs.

So it seems bots is not the problem, AI in customer service is not so bad, but getting the AI to pass you to the correct human is essential.

Precisely a half cited being put on hold as a major annoyance, 35% cited being given wrong information and 36% Being passed to multiple advisors.

Online opportunity

Nearly three quarters of the survey respondents indicated they get the best and most effective customer service when a human is involved, but it’s not the only path to positive experiences. In fact, findings show consumers also value online methods for service with 76% citing digital support channels as important. However, only 4% of respondents said that they are fond of interacting with companies using social media. Respondents cite discomfort, impersonality, unlikelihood of success and lack of speedy response as barriers. While 84.2%feel phone engagement is still vital, yet 53.9% admit to contacting a company via phone less than once a month.

AI in customer service requires flexibility

Mark Turner, said, “Brands now have more flexibility than ever to connect with their customers in meaningful ways. When it comes to getting good customer service, the survey shows consumers want to be in the driver’s seat. They want the option to choose how they get the help they need when they need it – whether via digital channels, the human touch, or even from an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered bot.”

The chatbots are here: are you prepared? imageThe chatbots are here: are you prepared?

In 2016, more than 30,000 branded chatbots were launched, and the growth is still accelerating as businesses deploy them across major consumer-facing sectors

Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice consists of the best articles written by third parties and selected by our editors. You can contact us at timothy.adler at

Related Topics