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
FintechOS announces results beyond expectations in 2018

FintechOS announces revenues of 6 million Eur from selling FintechOS technology in just one year from inception. This amount combines 1 million Eur from annual recurring revenue for licenses and 5 million Eur

 Read Full article »
Tremend joins Mellanox in powering the majority of Top 500 supercomputers

Tremend - one of the fastest growing software companies in Romania - has signed an agreement with Mellanox Technologies, a leading supplier of end-to-end connectivity solutions for servers and storage, with hea

 Read Full article »
Almost 19,000 entrepreneurs have already applied for Start-up Nation

The Start-up Nation 2018-2019 program has been accepting business projects for almost a month now, even though the state budget for this year has not yet been passed.

 Read Full article »
Webhelp Romania aiming for EUR 10 million turnover growth, 500 new employees in 2019

Romania's outsourcing market, which recorded two-figure growth in a year, will attract new investments and generate new jobs in 2019, a year full of challenges. After a 2018 that repositioned Romania on the map

 Read Full article »
Manpower: Robots will be your colleagues not your replacement

Fears that robots will eliminate your job are unfounded with a growing number of employers planning to increase or maintain headcount as a result of automation, staffing company ManpowerGroup said in a survey

 Read Full article »
Study: Five out of 10 employers eye lay-offs

Almost 5 out of 10 employers would proceed to lay-offs, according to a survey conducted by the National Council for Small and Medium Sized Companies (CNIPMMR).

 Read Full article »
US company Visteon looks for software developers at Timisoara

Visteon, automotive supplier focused exclusively on cockpit electronics, it is setting up a new product development center in Timisoara, Romania. The company plans to build a team of 400 employees in Romania,

 Read Full article »
Gabriela Mechea takes over the helm of ANIS

The Software and Services Industry Employers Association ANIS appointed Gabriela Mechea as the organizations' executive director, replacing Valerica Dragomir who left the association after 17 years.

 Read Full article »
Poll: 2018 was hard for recruiting – 29 Interviews to one hire

Nearly nine out of ten companies had a tougher time finding suitable employees in 2018 compared with previous years, interviewing an average 29 candidates before hiring one person, a poll by HappyRecruiter show

 Read Full article »
CBRE maintains its market leader ranking with 24 per cent market share on the Bucharest-based office segment

In 2018, CBRE, the real estate consultant managed 24 per cent of the Bucharest-based office market, according to a release of the company.

 Read Full article »
 
 
MOST READ ARTICLES
» The most appreciated companies from th...
» Webhelp Romania aiming for EUR 10 mill...
» The Outsourcing industry announces its...
» Deloitte's Tech Trends 2019 report: B...
» Tremend joins Mellanox in powering the...
» Manpower: Romania's labor market, more...
» Bucharest, in the top of cities in Eur...
» Genpact's COO: Staying ahead of the cu...
» SocGen's EBS division to grow 60%, exp...
» Oracle reaches 4,200 employees and pla...
 
EDITOR CHOICE
Nomination are now open for Romanian Business Services Forum and Awards

Nominations have opened for the prestigious Romanian Business Services Forum & Awards. The 2019 awards will continue to recognize and reinforce the important contribution made by business services professionals

 Read Full article »
Study: 89 per cent of finance teams yet to embrace Artificial Intelligence

Report by Association of International Certified Professional Accountants and Oracle shows that almost 90 per cent of finance teams do not have the skills to support digital transformation.

 Read Full article »
Bucharest, in the top of cities in Europe with the largest number of experts in high-tech industry

Bucharest is among the top cities boasting the most experts in the high-tech innovative industry, with over 70,000 current employees, next to London, Dublin, Madrid or Budapest, reads a study conducted by CBRE

 Read Full article »
CBRE study: Post-millennials, the happiest about their offices

During 2018, real estate consultancy company CBRE conducted the first study dedicated to work environment in office buildings in Bucharest. The respondents have been structured in four age segments, such as Z g

 Read Full article »
Deloitte's Tech Trends 2019 report: Beyond the digital frontier

The recently released Deloitte's Tech Trends 2019: Beyond the digital frontier, as each Tech Trends report in the series conducted by the consultancy company, lobbies for embracing the increasing, often mind-b

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