Machine Learning (ML) in customer services is viewed by directors, decision-makers, and by employees as a blessing to both the customer and employee experience. While technology is not yet able to perform all the tasks a human customer service representative could, machine learning in customer service teams is expected to increase by 143% over the next 16 months as more teams turn to chatbots, text, voice analytics, and other use cases. Currently, ML models in customer service are being used to both assist and replace human agents. This is primarily to improve customer service experiences and reduce the service costs of having employees handle simple requests and tasks.
Let’s explore how ML can be used to assist customer service agents; rather than completely replace them.
We already know (and have probably experienced) chat bots are being used to communicate with customers online. However, many customers and companies feel that bots cannot handle all tasks that human agents can. Whilst still using ML technology – but avoiding frustration – “assistant” bots are being deployed to increase employee efficiency. This system allows the bots to deal with the simple questions up until the conversation becomes too complicated: then the chat is handed over to a human. Once the complex task is finished, the bot can continue with the simple details. The results of this system increase efficiency up to a point where human agents have been able to handle up to 6 co-existing chats at once.
Reading emails to decipher and respond to customer needs is a time-consuming task. Luckily, ML systems can speed up the process. ML technology is able to scan and tag emails to direct them to the right person along with suggested responses to the respective emails. Companies needing to respond to a large amount of emails in a short period of time have been able to halve the time customers wait to receive a response.
Enhanced Customer Phone Calls
When it comes to getting answers about financial questions, customers prefer to do so via phone call than online by a rate of 3 to 1. However, from a technical perspective, it is significantly more challenging to deploy ML voice-based communication systems. Background noise, unusual speech patterns, accents, and poor pronunciation make it hard for an ML model to translate voices into text. Yet even with these difficulties, companies are using machine learning to assist phone-call customer service agents. Conversations can be analysed in real-time with deep learning. These ML models listen to changes in volume, pitch, and can detect mimicking for classifying how customers are feelings and how calls are going. Customer service agents are given suggestions simultaneously to improve their calls based on their performance. A trial of this technology showed a 30% improvement in customer survey scores, a 6% improvement in issue resolution, and a significant decrease in requests to speak to a manager.
The Future of Machine Learning and Customer Support
New interesting uses for ML in customer service have only recently been deployed. This is why it is hard to tell how much ML will impact customer service and employment. Call centre employment is only one of many areas where this ML technology is being used (there are many retail salespeople, cashiers, and service hosts that will become freed up because up to 30% of what customer service agents do has automation potential).
Thanks to ML advances, companies are now able to make quicker and cheaper responses to low-level customer interactions and improve more complex customer engagement experiences with human agents. This may lead to a significant increase in demand and standard of service. Millennials now have a 68% higher expectation of customer service than they had one year ago. Almost 80% of young customers expect the contacted customer service agent to already know their contact and product information.
In the nearby future, ML in customer service will not cause an overall decrease in customer service jobs; companies may increase the number of ML assisted employees to deal with the new demand due to ML system-related efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Machine Learning in customer service is being used to improve the quality of service and reduce the cost of employees across industries such as finance, food, retail, and insurance. Companies now trust chatbots and ML speech-analysis systems to handle simple tasks – leading to a current significant investment in these systems. The benefits of ML in customer service is being felt directly by regular customers in a very clear and immediate sense. Customer service is a space where exciting ML applications are being deployed in across industries at a significant rate. While ML systems are being used to fully take on monotonous tasks – making it easier for human agents to deal with the more difficult issues – as they learn, these systems should soon be able to deal with more requests without human involvement. This means the current level of customer service being provided will be provided in the future at a much lower cost. This is not to say that companies will be able to spend less on this part of their business. As customers expect better service as a result of ML technology, more employees may be necessary.