Can AI resolve customer service disputes?
A phone call with a customer service (CS) representative can devolve into a nightmare for any number of reasons. But to the extent that problems are caused by a particular customer and CS representative just not getting along, one startup aims to ease the tension with artificial intelligence (AI).
The startup, called Afiniti International Holdings, has created an AI-based system that builds a profile of a customer service caller based on aggregated information. When routing a call, it uses the profile to determine which customer service associate will most likely achieve a successful interaction, according to Engadget.
The system pulls from a customer’s purchasing information and customer service contact history as well as external for-purchase informational databases and from whatever publicly available information there is about them on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. It also examines census data. The company has implemented its AI in 150 call centers.
Retailers and tech companies have recently been experimenting a great deal with AI on both sides of the customer experience. On the customer-facing end, for instance, companies like 1-800-Flowers have enhanced their search capabilities with IBM’s Watson. On the back end, Google has introduced an AI-based product that can understand and rank how angry callers and emailers are so that companies can handle their calls appropriately.
The Afiniti AI has raised concerns from privacy advocates, as reported in Engadget. While Afiniti claims associates can’t see the data the AI processes, some worry it opens the door to subtle discrimination. And while a positive customer service experience for a customer may mean getting a problem solved, from the company’s perspective it may mean a successful upsell.
Whatever constitutes an ideal customer interaction, many of the complaints people have about their call center experiences might not be solved by assuring they get the right rep. A 2015 survey by Nexogy cited being stuck on hold, boring hold music, multiple transfers and having to repeat information when transferred as the top four call center customer complaints.
And no amount of data can lead to a positive customer service experience if a business isn’t empowering its reps to solve customer problems.
- AI might handpick your customer service rep – Engadget
- New Google AI Brings Automation to Customer Service – Bloomberg
- 1-800-Flowers introduces AI concierge – RetailWire
- What’s up with call centers? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think personality-matching AI can be used effectively to reduce negative customer service experiences? What do you see as the pros and cons to retailers implementing such a solution?