Students of history and economics recall the impact of the industrial revolution on our society and work environments.
The fear was that transitioning from a rural, agricultural society to an urban, production-based economy would result in rampant poverty and chaos.
While innovations implemented during this time did change the nature of work and eliminate some jobs, it opened up other opportunities and created new industries.
The Fear of Digital Transformation
The same fears and potential for upheaval are present in the digital age, but it also affords many of the same opportunities.
Forrester predicts that about 7% of American workers will be displaced by technology by 2025.
One of the sectors that will be most affected by the digital transformation is customer support services.
“Bridging the digital divide through AI, machine learning, and other emerging technologies will help all Americans benefit from the digital revolution, regardless of who they are or where they live. That is something every citizen can appreciate.” — FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, at the FCC Forum On Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning
The focus of this article is to highlight how AI and other advanced technologies can eliminate the need for human intervention in tech support and help your business become more efficient.
How Technology Improves Customer Support and Service
Automation tools like artificial intelligence (AI), data analysis, and machine learning (ML) can be used to improve calls for technical assistance by performing a type of troubleshooting triage.
You see, most help desk requests handled by agents cover the same questions and problems time and again. Any of these repetitive issues can be handled faster and more efficiently by deploying AI.
This is accomplished through tech-driven interfaces like chatbots that ask increasingly more incisive questions.
The goal is to resolve the easy or repetitive requests and pass the more challenging or unique problems on to a customer support representative.
“Our intelligence is what makes us human, and AI is an extension of that quality.” – Yann LeCun
Among the other benefits of artificial intelligence is the ability to run data through diagnostics and perform predictive analysis.
The results obtained via machine learning are produced faster and with more accuracy than a human can accomplish, and any data gathered can then be used to offer hardware and service upgrades.
How to Use AI to Resolve Your Most Common Tech Support Calls
Among the most common problems with technology are installing new hardware, resolving software glitches, and fixing issues with network connections.
AI can quickly run through troubleshooting protocols and provide customers with actionable guidance.
If the problem can’t be resolved through the chatbot, the customer is given the choice of issuing a help desk ticket or speaking with a live agent.
When you’re evaluating the benefits of machine learning and AI tech, there are questions you can ask to see whether an AI tool can help save your team time.
- Which tech support issues are most common?
- Which issues are taking up most of your time?
- Are there occasions when members of your support staff are asking customers the same questions and offering the same responses that settle the problem quickly?
- How often does this occur?
Assessing the nature of your help desk calls can identify patterns in the types of support requests that are tying up your team.
Common occurrences like responding to initial support requests, running through standard troubleshooting procedures, and filling in error logs can be turned over to automation.
You can also use tech to quickly identify larger issues that need a more hands-on resolution.
There are several ways to implement automation that will increase productivity without breaking your budget or sacrificing the quality of your customer service.
If anything, taking care of common issues through technology will save time and money while freeing your tech support team to provide truly personalized service.
“It no longer requires a multi-million dollar budget to get AI going in your company. It represents an opportunity to level the playing field for smaller companies.” — Nichole Jordan, managing partner of Grant Thornton LLP, at the MIT Summit, AI and the Future of Work
In addition to providing answers and solutions automatically, here are some ways you can deploy machine learning to help your company operate more efficiently.
Unlocking Accounts and Password Resetting
One of the most common problems is someone forgetting a password and locking themselves out of their account. This probably happens several dozen times a day.
While most companies don’t have access to customer passwords for security reasons, automation can walk the customer through the process of resetting their password and regaining access without diverting your team from more important matters.
Obtaining Customer Feedback
Marketers and service representatives are constantly looking for ways to improve service.
You could use reporting and analysis to increase efficiency by providing detailed information on the cost-per-ticket or average response and turnaround times.
But, does that really tell you anything about the quality of the service?
Automated customer surveys, call monitoring, and direct customer feedback provides a more meaningful way of evaluating customer satisfaction.
Applications like Cogito can even walk service representatives through support requests in real-time while the call is in progress.
Routing Support Tickets to the Proper Personnel
Chances are, your company has different departments or personnel to handle different issues, such as fielding billing questions and resolving technical problems.
Most automated help desk support has built-in features that can evaluate requests and route the call to the right person.
This reduces response times and improves the customer experience.
Transmitting Onboarding and Status Updates
Automation can be configured to send status updates when certain triggers are activated.
This is a good way to preserve customer confidence and reduce anxiety when complicated or lengthy issues are being addressed.
Technology is also useful for automating the onboarding process with new account holders.
Programs like ActiveCampaign allow you to create automated emails that walk customers through setting up accounts or new systems and software installation.
Automating Asset Management
A lot of productive time is halted dealing with system maintenance, upgrades, and asset management.
Automation allows companies to turn over tasks like inventory tracking, initializing push notifications, and device or software management to machines.
Providing Assistance During Off Hours
Not all companies have the budget or manpower to take care of business around the clock.
Deploying automation allows customers to access tech support during off-hours.
You can also use an automated triage to escalate critical issues or route serious matters to the right person when a problem can’t wait for business hours.
Workers around the world fear technology because they think they’ll be replaced by robots and other automated innovations.
While it’s true that some jobs will disappear, technology will change the nature of the work, not eliminate it completely.
Automation should be looked at as an enhancement that makes the work environment more efficient and productive.
When we turn over routine matters to technology, we allow the human side of our business to shine.
Relegating repetitive tasks to technology frees us to focus on more important aspects of business like branding, managing growth, and improving customer service.
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate techie. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie devours the news on the latest gadgets and binge-watches his favourite TV shows. Follow him on @bmorepeters