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Artificial intelligence and customer service

Digital transformation has taken a huge leap forward over the last couple of years. This is, in part, due to the Covid pandemic forcing businesses to come up with new and innovative ways to stay buoyant. It has never been more important to keep up with the latest technological trends, particularly when it comes to finding ways in which to seamlessly deal with clients and customers. One area that has seen a huge uplift is Artificial Intelligence – AI. Once a phenomenon that was reserved for the likes of huge corporations and world-leading manufacturers, it’s now becoming more affordable and accessible, with new products being created specifically for smaller businesses. 

What is Artificial Intelligence?

‘Artificial Intelligence’ is basically the handing over of certain tasks to computers and robots, that we would otherwise use our ‘human intelligence’ to solve. Computers have long been able to automate processes and systems that we have traditionally had to do manually, be it adding up amounts of money or tracking interactions with clients and customers.    

With clever technology, we can programme computers to complete a whole range of different tasks, using software that has been created specifically to complete projects or solve problems using the same type of reasoning that a person would. AI has historically been very expensive to use, so considered suitable mainly for larger companies able to put a considerable investment into their IT systems and strategies. AI technology, however, is becoming a more cost-effective solution, meaning it is becoming more accessible for smaller businesses.   

How can AI benefit customer service?

Artificial Intelligence has become popular in a range of areas in which an automated system can produce results quickly and easily. It can obviously help to reduce the amount of manual labour required for specific tasks. Carefully created algorithms can be used for a range of useful actions that can help to automate marketing activities, business processes and data management. In terms of a smaller business this could include: 

Using AI for customer service
Chatbots are a highly useful and effective way of using AI to deal with customer queries. The good news for small businesses is that they can be easily created and programmed to deal with a wide range of different questions. Whereas a person may struggle to deal with lots of different questions, from lots of different customers, at all times of the day, a chatbot powered by AI is able to assist and engage with each query as it comes in. A good chatbot will be able to initiate a proper conversation with each customer, identify the most important or pressing queries and offer a range of answers and solutions for whatever is required.

Using AI for organising customer data
Each and every business has ways in which to track their dealings with their customers and clients. This could be in the form of a log collecting data about each client conversation, through to a sophisticated customer relationship management (CRM) system. Using AI will enable you to combine all this information together, recording each customer’s interaction. But it will also be able to use this data in an ‘intelligent manner’ to give you further insight into new strategies that you can use going forward when it comes to marketing initiatives, sales calls or business development.      

Using AI for better security
As the business world becomes more digitalised, cybersecurity is just as paramount to small companies as it is to large corporations. Most businesses will have various levels of protection including firewalls and network security to detect threats as and when they happen. A system that uses AI is able to take this a step further by identifying dangers before they happen and respond in a quicker and more effective way than with a manual response. They can also monitor systems round the clock, so that your system is secure all day, every day.     

As well as all of these benefits, the obvious advantage of AI is that it frees up more time for staff to concentrate on other tasks. Once you identify the jobs that can easily be automated – for example those that would take a human much more effort to complete – you can programme the AI-based tools and automate many tasks, whilst you concentrate your team’s effort into other strategic or more critical areas of the business.  

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