When it comes to imagining the future, customer service often gets painted in a dystopian light. Take the 2002 sci-fi film Minority Report. Tom Cruise’s John Anderton walks into the Gap, an identity recognition system scans him, and a hologram asks about a recent purchase.

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There’s something unsettling in this vignette—an unsolicited non-human seems to know everything about you (or, as in the movie, mistakes you for someone else). But the truth is, customers today expect this kind of sleek, personalized service. Their relationships with retailers, banks, health-care facilities—and virtually every organization they have business with—are changing. In an always-on, digital economy, they want to connect when they want, how they want. Customers want their product questions answered, account issues addressed, and health appointments rescheduled quickly and without hassle.

They’re starting to get it. Today, when customers call a company for details on its products, the conversation is guided by a chatbot. They answer a few simple questions, and the chatbot steers them in the right direction. If it can’t answer a query, a human agent steps in to help. The customer experience is fast and personalized, and customers are happier. On the flip side, agents are more effective and productive. Behold the real future of customer service.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and customer relationship management (CRM) software are paving the path to that future. Together, the technologies can automate routine tasks, freeing up human agents and providing them with data-driven insights to help swiftly resolve customer problems. They’re helping retailers, banks, government agencies, and more rethink the goals of their customer service centers, allowing their teams to evolve from a support function to a growth engine.

Today, advancements in AI and machine learning are enabling deeper levels of customer engagement and service than ever before.

But stiff challenges remain. The goal for organizations is to offer the same customer service across all channels—phone, chat, email, social media—but

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By: Jason Sparapani
Title: From support function to growth engine: The future of AI and customer service
Sourced From: www.technologyreview.com/2020/09/17/1008148/from-support-function-to-growth-engine-the-future-of-ai-and-customer-service/
Published Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2020 18:30:30 +0000




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