Why AI Will Revolutionize, Not Kill, Customer Service

Reflecting on 2023, it’s evident that AI has made monumental strides from both a consumer and brand perspective. Punctuated by the arrival of apps like ChatGPT and Midjourney, the technology faced both early successes — seen in the rapid expansion of business automation — and massive missteps — like sloppily edited and published digital content. But across the undulating positives and negatives, there remains no question that AI will play a significant role in the future of businesses everywhere.

But what does that look like? Every department, from marketing to customer service, wants to know how AI will affect their role in a business. The more we learn about its capabilities, the more we realize that AI has the power to be a critical supporter of human employees and creativity rather than the replacement that many fear it will be. That’s also true for customer service agents, who — thanks to AI AI — will become empowered to do their jobs more efficiently than ever thought possible.

So, will AI be our new superpower or our substitute? CX gives us a glimpse into a positive future, one that uses AI to bring new levels of service to life and generate more possibilities for customers.

AI Grows in the CX Space

Modern customer expectations are expanding rapidly and becoming more complex, as more sophisticated shoppers embrace brands that know them intimately and can go beyond meeting their needs to anticipate and exceed them. These shoppers want world-class, personalized experiences that make them feel known and valued. In return, they’re happy to provide their ongoing loyalty.

Loyalty is the single biggest metric to predict a company’s long-term success for sales growth, customer behavior, and profitability. The equation is simple — exceptional experiences build loyalty with shoppers and keep them coming back to repeatedly shop with their favorite brands.

AI can play an integral role in fostering positive customer experiences, feeding information more rapidly to agents and customers to help them reach their commerce goals in record times with optimal results.

Customer Service Will Always Be a Human Enterprise

The potential of this “loyalty economy” described above is palpable, and AI will help build the bridge necessary to get there. But AI cannot completely replace humans in CX. Shoppers don’t like feeling trapped in the chatbot or IVR loop, searching angrily for human assistance.

Instead, customers want to feel engaged and taken care of. While you can train AI to respond intelligently, a recording or pre-written answer will never feel like a personal touch from a human, and customers can tell the difference.

Humans possess the irreplaceable ability to forge connections, and they can leverage AI to make their lives easier while serving more customers in a shorter amount of time.

AI in CX — a Complement, Not a Replacement

In practice, AI is the ultimate assistant to support agents. Using the following practices, AI can transform the daily work life of these employees while giving customers delightful experiences that earn their loyalty.

AI Turns Agents Into Heroes

At Gladly, we call customer service agents “customer service heroes.” When empowered with AI tools, agents can become superheroes with the ability to do more, serve customers better, and build your brand in the process.

Using AI, heroes have powerful authoring and editing capabilities to populate the right responses and perfect the tone of every response. AI makes personalized service easier and more effective to deliver.

AI Automates the Easy Stuff for Customers

When AI is easy to use and immediately accessible, heroes are freed up from repetitive, manual tasks to focus on providing customers with personalized and efficient service experiences.

What’s more, AI doesn’t rest, so it can help customers solve simple issues around the clock. AI understands and can direct customers through automated threads based on preset policies, so you never have to worry about going off-script.

AI Makes It Easier to Build Long-Term Relationships

When AI is applied in an intelligent, conversation-first way, the technology is more effective at delivering personalized service to drive loyalty. Every customer conversation — whether through voice, email, SMS, or AI-powered self-service — can be unified in a single conversation.

AI can draw on the information provided over the unified conversation to deliver quick-response answers directly to a customer. Or, a human agent can use that information to drive more consistent communication while sprinkling in personal touches. Over time, these acts of personalization form powerful, long-term relationships with customers who become loyal and valuable.

Building an AI-driven CX Platform That Works

Customer service organizations don’t need to fear AI. In fact, it’ll only make the future of the industry even brighter. The task on every CX leader’s plate shouldn’t be fending off AI in the short term, but rather recognizing how to leverage it sustainably — now and into the future.

AI in CX could be the edge your business needs to stand out in a crowded ecommerce space. If you’re interested in delving into the realm of AI-powered customer experiences, explore the insights available on the Gladly blog.

Guest post written by Gladly.