Automation and AI. 

Cold, inhuman, and artificial – such tech has no place in customer service, right? Wrong. Chances are the last great customer service experience you had involved automation, maybe even AI-assisted conversational intelligence

Automation and AI are changing the way service teams approach their customers, resulting in some of the smartest, most personalised customer experiences around. 

In our State of Service 2017 report, we found 77% of top service teams excel at using AI compared to 36% of underperformers, and are 3.3 times more likely to use real-time conversational intelligence. 

But these aren’t the only ways service teams are harnessing AI and automation – here are 5 ways cutting-edge technology is make customer service more human than ever before.


1. Automation with Macros

Many service agents still face repetitive multi-step processes. But what if we could ease the daily grind, and help them focus on what matters most – delighting customers and closing cases? 

By automating everyday, manual tasks – such as setting email templates, triaging new cases, and addressing common requests (like password resets) – macros can massively speed up agent productivity.

No more repetitious faff – set a macro, and free your agents to tackle the cases that deserve their undivided attention. The result? Less time tapping and clicking, more time talking, understanding and resolving. Or to put it another way, more natural, human customer service.


2. Intelligent Omni-channel Routing

Regardless of your vocation, there are few things more annoying than being assigned a job that you’re not trained – or authorised – to deal with. When it comes to customer service, not only can this harm productivity for the agent, but it almost guarantees a less than satisfactory experience for the customer. Omni-channel routing resolves this, automatically assigning the right case, to the right agent, every time. 

By doing away with mismatched cases and manual reassignment, you’re helping your agents to close cases faster and smarter.


3. Automated Social Listening

Social listening has consistently proven an efficient tool for personalised marketing and service. Just look at how global retailer Fanatics personalises customer interactions using social image recognition to identify brand-related posts on social media. 

In customer service, social listening can help flag and open service cases based on brand feedback, complaints and mentions on social media. For example, say a customer tweets ‘My *brand* amplifier is spitting noise after only two days. Not happy’. With the right social listening tools connected to your service platform, a case can be opened and allocated automatically, allowing a service agent to come in with a proactive, informed response, even through this most personal of channels.


4. Conversational Intelligence

As mentioned earlier, the evidence suggests high-performing service teams are making smart use of this new technology to outperform their competitors. But how does it work?

AI can help service agents recognise behavioural signals during a conversation – the kind of signals they might instantly pick up on face to face, but that are all too easily missed over the telephone. This helps agents build empathy and rapport, anticipate questions, and deliver more human service than they could without AI’s assistance.

This is no niche technology, either – 67% of high-performing service teams already use real-time conversational intelligence to improve agent-to-customer interactions.

If you anticipate what the customer’s going to ask before they ask, that’s a moment they’re going to remember.” – Vadim Polikov, Co-Founder, Direct Energy Solar


5. Predictive Automation

Knowing what your customers want before they know it themselves doesn’t require telepathy, it requires smarts. At Finnish elevator and escalator manufacturer KONE, predictive intelligence is revolutionising how KONE monitors and maintains customer’s equipment. In future, that equipment data will be routed to Salesforce Service Cloud, to create work orders for service and possible repair, making systems more proactive, not reactive.

AI can anticipate faults before they even happen, automatically flagging to a customer service agent or service engineer to resolve the issue. Again, the technology used here isn’t making service impersonal – quite the reverse. It’s supporting faster, better informed, customer interactions.



Automated doesn’t mean impersonal

For today’s service teams, automation and AI are vital assets in delivering smarter, more effective customer interactions. By eliminating menial tasks, boosting productivity, and better informing agents, these fast-emerging technologies are helping to make sure agents can always give customers the attention and care they need, the moment they need it. Impersonal? Not even close.


Check out our Second Annual State of Service report to discover how service teams across the globe are leveraging technology to make customer service more personal and more memorable than ever before.