Latest News  

A look ahead: How artificial intelligence (AI) will affect customer service

For most of its 60-year history, the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) has been limited to science fiction movies.

2017-02-27 23:15:14





Grégoire Vigroux
Marketing Director for Europe at TELUS International

But with funding increasing by a compound annual growth rate of more than 40 percent over the last five years, AI technology has begun moving out of fiction and into reality.

Computers like IBM's Watson have become Jeopardy! masters, Google's AlphaGo is dominating a 2,000-year-old Chinese board game, and the Associated Press even has an AI that writes finance articles. The applications for AI are expanding rapidly and customer support is one field that will see significant change with the growth of AI.

The future is machine learning


Artificial intelligence and customer support have already become partially acquainted. As options like Facebook Messenger and online chat take off as a means to communicate with customers, so have chatbots.

But speak to those looking towards the future and they'll say bots — at least in their current state — pale in comparison to what's possible with better AI. "The current generation of chatbots never work as well as they're sort of touted as doing," says Luke Dormehl, a tech writer and author of Thinking Machines. That's largely because many bots are driven by what's called rule-based AI, in which behavior is guided by rigid "if a customer says X, then respond Y" programming.

That may be effective for basic inquiries (i.e. "Do you have this printer in stock?"), but customer behavior is rarely predictable. Adaptability and improvisation is required, and that's where rule-based artificial intelligence can hit a wall. "In most complex tasks, the number of possibilities that you have to deal with are so huge that you just cannot write rules," says Pyry Takala, CEO of London-based artificial intelligence company True AI.

Enter machine learning, which currently accounts for 44 percent of venture funding in AI and arguably represents the future of artificial intelligence-driven customer support.

"Machine learning is something where you feed a lot of data into a system and it learns to perform a task in a similar way as a human operator does," explains Takala. Put simply, if the AI is given the conversation logs from thousands of customer interactions, it will study them and learn how to be an effective and analytical customer service agent.

The goal with machine learning is that AI — applied to chatbots, voice calls and even emails — will become advanced enough to not only fully understand a range of customer behaviors, but know how to respond in a way that the customer won't even be able to tell they're talking to a computer.

Computers will not be our overlords


If the thought of not being able to tell the difference between human and software causes you concern about the replacement of humans entirely, you can relax. AI technology is a long way off for that. What's more, the immediate future of AI customer service will be focused more on collaboration. "Some of the most exciting job categories that are going to exist in the coming years are going to be ones where humans work with machines," says Dormehl.

The work Takala's company, True AI, is a good example, with 70 percent of the current customer inquires being handled with assistance from a human operator. While the AI may be learning how to respond to customers, it's not always sure of the best and most human-like way to respond. Thus, when a customer asks a question, the AI provides the operator with the three responses most likely to succeed, but leaves the final choice to the agent.

Shep Hyken, customer service expert and author of The Cult of the Customer, believes collaboration between human and machine can provide an opportunity for more efficient customer service. For example, AI software can search through thousands of documents with lightning-fast speed and pass on any relevant information to the agent helping the customer. "You can do incredible work for your customers when AI supplements the human experience," he says.

AI will solve customer concerns


Machine-learning systems won't just respond to customer concerns — it will be able to anticipate them. For example, if there is an influx of customers calling in about the same product defect, AI can help to analyze and identify the larger issue at hand.

There are also signs that AI can be used to create better overall customer experience, which can cut down on the number of interactions with customer service. The popular online game League of Legends, for example, decided to tackle the notorious harassment found in the gaming world by allowing players to teach an AI what constituted racist, homophobic or misogynistic language. In time, the AI was able to recognize when abusive terms were used, and then sent feedback to offenders. According to Riot Games' lead game designer Jeffrey Lin, the result was a decrease in verbal abuse by 40 percent.

The human touch will still have a place


Moving ahead into a more automated future can create the impression that the human touch — whether in everyday life or customer service — won't be as valuable as it has been in the past.

Surprisingly, even those involved in the future of AI don't necessarily see it that way. "There's a whole 30–40 percent [of tasks] that machines can't actually do as well as humans, and maybe that's more important than we perhaps realized," says Dormehl. He compares it to a study that found when ATM machines became more prevalent, the role of human bank tellers didn't diminish. While some jobs may have been lost, the way customers valued human interactions with bank employees actually increased, pushing banks to adapt. "Rather than just handing out money, they [emphasized] building relationships with customers," he adds.

In that way, the coming AI revolution represents an opportunity not just to streamline certain customer service processes, but to take stock of the human touch and consider in what ways it may become more important.

That's certainly what Takala hopes for in the future of AI. "There are so many boring conversations," he says. "I would really love to see a world where we can automate a lot of those away, and just leave the interesting conversations for humans."

Related articles: www.telusinternational-europe.com / www.telusinternational.com


0 COMMENTS ^ Go back to Top
WRITE A COMMENT ^ Go back to Top
 
Your email address will not be published.
Nickname
Email
Comment
Validation Code
   
 
 
NEWS
Cushman & Wakefield Echinox: StreamWIDE joins the new IT hub created in the Timpuri Noi Square project

StreamWIDE, a company specialized in the software and telecommunications industry, realocates its office in Bucharest in the Timpuri Noi Square project, joining the new IT hub created in the business park devel

 Read Full article »
CBRE: Office deliveries expected to bring new stock of 635.00 sqm, Bucharest to reach 3.9 mln sqm modern office spaces

During 2020–2021 to approx. 635,000 sqm of modern office space are expected to be delivered on market, increasing the Bucharest modern stock at approx. 3.9 million sq m, a step closer to a new a threshold and

 Read Full article »
Uber opens at Bucharest the largest support center to drivers and business partners in CEE

Uber company launched this week in Bucharest the largest center in Central and Eastern Europe that offers assistance to drivers and business partners in Romania, a center where they can contact directly Uber re

 Read Full article »
Samsung and Orange Romania activated the 5G VR Live streaming at Untold Music Festival in Romania

Samsung Electronics and Orange Romania have successfully deployed a 5G New Radio (NR) network to demonstrate a series of 5G use cases at Untold Festival 2019, the largest annual dance music festival in Romania,

 Read Full article »
MVP Lab in Sibiu named as one of Europe's best in the "Ones to Watch" list at European Business Awards

Ropardo MVP Lab has been named as ‘One to Watch' in Europe in a list of business excellence published by the European Business Awards, one of world's largest and longest running business competitions.

 Read Full article »
Endava marks one year since IPO

Endava, one of the most important software companies, present on the local market with 7 delivery centers, reaches an almost double capitalization, 2.07 billion USD, on July 26, 2019, one year after listing. Th

 Read Full article »
Infosys opens cyber defence centre in Bucharest

Infosys, a global leader in next-generation digital services and consulting, announced the launch of its Cyber Defence Centre in Bucharest, Romania. The Defence Centre is an expansion of services delivered thro

 Read Full article »
QuEST Global completes integration of IT Six Global Services

QuEST Global, a global product engineering and lifecycle services company, has successfully completed the integration of IT Six Global Services SRL. QuEST Global acquired IT Six, a software engineering services

 Read Full article »
RE MAX Romania opens three more offices

RE/MAX Romania has expanded its network, adding three new offices – RE/MAX Partners in Cluj, RE/MAX Quality in Sibiu and RE/MAX Prestige in Targu Mures.

 Read Full article »
Microsoft and OpenAI form exclusive computing partnership to build new Azure AI supercomputing technologies

Microsoft Corp. and OpenAI have partnered to further extend Microsoft Azure's capabilities in large-scale AI systems, according to a release of Microsoft.

 Read Full article »
 
 
 
MOST READ ARTICLES
» Meet the winners of ROMANIAN BUSINESS ...
» Capgemini to open new office at Suceav...
» Molson Coors started to grow its busin...
» The Outsourcing industry announces its...
» Grégoire Vigroux appointed the new Vi...
» Bombardier: from Bucharest subway to t...
» Genpact's COO: Staying ahead of the cu...
» Leoni to open new SSC in Cluj, cut job...
» Oracle reaches 4,200 employees and pla...
» TELUS International Europe: In the glo...
 
EDITOR CHOICE
Workplace of the Future conference to take place on November 20th at Bucharest

The Diplomat-Bucharest together with Outsourcing Today organize the 3rd Edition of WORKPLACE OF THE FUTURE, on 20th of November 2019, in Bucharest, at Capital Plaza Hotel.

 Read Full article »
Strategic Talent Acquisition at People Empowering Business Forum on October 30 in Bucharest

Latest trends like demographic upheaval, globalization, digital technology, and changing social values and worker expectations, are disrupting business models and radically changing the workplace. These are req

 Read Full article »
Informal IT School and UiPath launch an educational program for RPA development to start in October

Informal IT School announced a partnership with UiPath to launch an RPA development educational program of five months, 100 hours of courses, five days a week. The program will run in Cluj-Napoca.

 Read Full article »
Impact Hub Bucharest joins 3house to manage three coworking spaces in the city

Impact Hub Bucharest, a coworking spaces manager and developer of accelerator programs and events merged with 3house, a new concept of workplace launched in 2018. By this, Impact Hub reaches 3 locations and 6.7

 Read Full article »
JLL: Total office space in Bucharest to reach 3 million sqm

The second quarter of 2019 reconfirmed the increased interest for the office market in Romania. Over 115,000 square meters of office space were leased over this period at the national level, a value similar wit

 Read Full article »
Latest News  
 
about us | newsletter | contact | members area | GDPR policy
Copyright © 2015 by Diplomat Media Events Design by Diplomat Media Events