How to use AI to help your Customer Service team, not replace them

9 Jun 2023

4.5 min read

Happy Customer Service Agent
Happy Customer Service Agent
Happy Customer Service Agent

Like most technological advancements that improve productivity, Generative AI and customer service automation is not best used to take away jobs, but is instead here to take away boring repetitive tasks and make humans more productive.

When it comes to any sort of technology adoption, there are its enthusiasts and its sceptics. The new wave of Generative AI (Artificial Intelligence), typified by ChatGPT is no exception. Enthusiasts need no encouragement to see the potential for Generative AI to transform the way we interact, while sceptics are wary of embracing this technology.

For many customer service leaders, one of the main concerns with AI-driven automation is that it’s here to replace humans. This is a misconceived use of technology in its current state, not helped by stories like this one

The two categories of customer queries

For agents answering customer queries for Ecommerce brands, there exists two broad categories of ticket types. 

The first is: simple, repetitive, often binary questions. These include: “How do I return my items”, “can I have a tracking link?” or “do you deliver to my country?”. Responding to these questions means following a very simple process of looking up an order, or a piece of information, and relaying that back to the customer. 

The second category is: more complex questions that require a bit of thought, or nuance. These could include: “Will this item fit me?” “Does this discount code apply to this item?” “I need this item by a certain date, will it arrive in time?”or “I’ve not received an order confirmation, has my order come through?”. These are questions where an agent can make an impact by looking at an order history, making judgements, or otherwise trying to help a customer and allow them to find the right thing for their needs.

So, let’s be honest. The first category of questions are boring. Whereas the second category is far more interesting. The best customer service agents are great with people, great at solving problems, finding answers etc. If these agents log into the helpdesk portal and see a mountain of simple questions to plough through, it’s not a particularly fulfilling day.

As one of our customers told us: “We want our agents to focus on the tickets that actually matter – in the sense that the agents need to think about it, and provide a thoughtful response. Not just ‘Here’s a tracking link.’”

Increasing the capacity of your team

What’s even worse is that at peak trading around Christmas and Black Friday, these boring questions increase at a faster rate than other, more interesting questions. This isn’t a great employee experience, and it’s not creating a great customer experience if agents aren’t taking the time to care for each customer. 

Imagine you have 10 agents, who are at 90% capacity most weeks. If you face an unforeseen issue – for example, a discount code was sent out that isn’t working, or a warehouse IT system has gone down – then agents are exposed to many more questions. This means average reply time goes up, and customers get more upset because they’re having to wait for a reply to this.

Imagine if instead, when the problem was identified, you could create an automatic response that takes into account these questions. You could deflect the majority of queries away from your agents, and allow them to respond faster to the more important questions. 

This is the potential that Generative AI has right now. To help resolve customer queries almost instantly, round the clock, taking the burden away from your team.

What would you do if you had 20% more time in the day? 

To help customer service to achieve its full potential, it needs to embrace technology. That could include adding more communication channels, or integrating more systems into helpdesks so agents can easily find answers. But it should also include generative AI, and automation. 

In its current state, AI like ChatGPT isn’t going to be able to answer every question a customer asks effectively. For the more complex questions discussed above, it’s no substitute for a human. But, with the right training on your data it could easily answer a percentage of the total questions you and your team receive.

What if it was, let’s say, 20%? Ask yourself: What would you do if 20% of your tasks were taken care of? What could your team do with 20% extra time? How much better could your team serve your customers during peak periods if they had 20% more capacity baked in? 

Elevating the employee experience

Many of our customers use DigitalGenius's AI automation to improve the experience for their customers. By automating some of the repetitive processes agents have to do, such as generating return labels, issuing loyalty points, or processing refunds.

waterdrop is one DigitalGenius customer who uses AI automation to improve the experience for its employees, as well as its customers. You can read more about how they have done this here. 

If thinking about what your team could do with more time in the day has got you excited, get in touch and we can show you the potential impact that generative AI and automation can have on your business.