AI and Customer Success — How Technology and People Skills Go Hand-in-Hand

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Cassie Wilson
Cassie Wilson

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If Sales and Marketing are your business’s vehicle, AI and customer success are the drivers. Without your customers succeeding with your product or services, your sales and marketing efforts will eventually fall flat— or worse, you’ll lose your loyal customer base.

ai and customer success

Recently, I needed help troubleshooting my spotty internet connection. My internet service provider uses an AI chatbot to guide customers through the most obvious fixes. If those solutions fail to fix the issue, a live agent picks up the conversation to continue providing in-depth support.

I liked the addition of the AI chatbot. Sometimes, fixing my internet connection is as simple as resetting my modem. The AI chatbot saved me and a live agent time, which I appreciate.

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So, how can you improve your customer experience and keep your customers happy? By creating a dedicated customer success team and giving them a secret weapon for success: AI.

In this post, we’ll discuss how AI can improve your customer success efforts, plus give you a list of AI tools to try today.

Table of Contents:

The State of AI in Customer Success

Generative AI is a useful technology for customer success teams. AI works by parsing large data sets through an algorithm and then making predictions and decisions based on patterns within the data set.

AI has many applications, from content marketing to sales forecasting to fraud detection. Customer success managers can use AI to help gather data and improve the quality support of support their teams provide to their clients. That’s why 62% of business leaders have already invested in AI and automation tools. They know that AI can help their teams be more productive.

For customer success teams, AI can make all the difference in ensuring the success of their strategy. AI tools can help provide customer self-service and act as the first point of contact for clients with service-related issues.

In fact, 42% of customer service pros who use AI and automation tools say that AI chatbots that respond to customer service-related issues are very effective. And 33% of customer service professionals say that AI tools that monitor social media for customer service-related issues are very effective, too.

Moreover, 94% of customer service professionals say AI improves the customer self-service experience. Also, 57% of customers prefer to engage digitally with companies regarding customer service.

Given those stats, it makes sense to incorporate AI into your customer success strategy. Let’s look at the benefits of using AI in customer success.

The Benefits of Using AI in Customer Success

61% of customer service professionals expect to use some form of AI in their job in 2024. For those customer service pros who are ready to embrace AI, they’ll quickly discover some of the benefits of using AI in their customer success strategy.

Here are three major benefits you can expect when you pair AI and customer success together.

Better Data Analysis

AI is helpful for quickly parsing and analyzing data. In fact, 45% of marketers use AI for data analysis. Customer service professionals can do the same using the same techniques and tools. And that’s why 62% of customer support representatives say that AI tools help them understand their customers better.

Using AI tools to complete data analysis, which usually takes several hours, will save your customer service reps significant time. Plus, they’ll gain valuable insights into how their customers feel about your products or services.

Better Customer Experience

42% of customer service pros think AI tools that help them collect and analyze customer feedback significantly improve the customer experience. But that’s not all. 66% of customer support specialists agree that AI and automation tools can help personalize the experience customers get with their company.

A personalized customer experience is vital to customer success and gaining a loyal customer. AI tools can help provide custom recommendations based on past interactions and provide proactive solutions to problems a customer may experience.

Save Your Reps Time

One of AI’s most significant benefits is that it’s a major time saver. 78% of customer support specialists agree that AI tools and automation can help them be more efficient. Aside from saving your customer service reps time in data analysis, it can also save time in other job duties.

For example, reps using chatbots to respond to customer service inquiries can save up to 2 hours daily. Instead of spending time on individual requests, customer service reps can use chatbots to help filter easy-to-handle inquiries from those that might need more time to solve.

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How to Use AI for Customer Success

Although those were just three benefits of using AI in customer success, there’s a solid guarantee you’ll find more benefits as you incorporate AI into your customer service strategy.

Wondering how to use it in your strategy to make the most of these benefits? Here’s how to use AI for customer success.

Customer Support Automation

If your customers experience an issue, they’ll likely head straight to your company website. Incorporating an AI-powered chatbot into your website is a great way to catch customer inquiries and solve minor issues that might get overlooked or pushed to the side.

AI chatbots can solve certain customer problems, greatly reducing your customer support response time. They can also collect follow-up information, schedule follow-up requests, and escalate higher-order issues to your customer service representatives.

Predict Customer Behavior

Whether customers realize it or not, their behavior is predictable. Using AI tools that analyze customer behavior can help catch customers who are close to leaving your company. This can help decrease your churn rates and increase your customer fan base.

And because AI tools are predictive, they can help identify customers who might benefit from a higher-tiered product, making upselling a breeze.

Sentiment Analysis

We’ve already mentioned the benefits of AI because of its ability to conduct sentiment analysis. But it’s worth mentioning again.

AI tools can quickly conduct sentiment analysis of voice files and text-based files. This can help your customer service reps quickly identify common complaints, understand why customers feel that way and adapt a better customer success strategy.

Ticket Routing

If your customer support representatives struggle with organizing their support tickets by department, AI tools can help. AI tools can identify which departments should receive which tickets and send them to the appropriate inboxes.

Customer Journey Mapping

You might already understand your customer’s journey and have a customer journey map that you use to help your customers experience your company through their eyes.

However, using AI tools can provide you with a more detailed customer journey map and allow you to understand pain points you might have missed at various touchpoints.

Testing It Out

I tested how to use ChatGPT to troubleshoot technical issues with a customer.

Here’s how it went.

First, I needed ChatGPT to understand the customer success exercise. So, I entered this prompt into the textbox.

“Pretend you are an AI-powered chatbot for my internet service provider. I am going to ask you some questions about troubleshooting why my Internet connection is down, and I need you to be an AI rep and give me suggestions on how to fix it.”

With ChatGPT ready to assist, I explained that my internet connection had been spotty and that actionable steps needed to be taken to fix the issue.

Here’s how it went:

Based on my experience contacting my internet service provider about my dropped connection a few weeks ago, ChatGPT’s suggestions to restart the modem, check the status lights, and test the connections with multiple devices are on par with my service provider’s AI chatbot’s instructions.

I also like that ChatGPT gave me multiple suggestions upfront without taking me through a step-by-step process.

AI Tools for Customer Success

ChatGPT is a generative AI application, meaning it works best with queries and continues to update responses as it gets new data. Most AI tools function in the same way. These kinds of tools can be beneficial for your customer success team.

Here are 8 AI tools to consider adding to your tech stack for customer success.

Gather a list of 8+ AI tools for customer success. Describe the core features of each and how they work. Add “What I like” for each.

1. ChatSpot

ChatSpot is an AI-powered tool for marketing and sales, and it’s also great for your customer support teams. You gain access to unique insights and personalized responses when you connect ChatSpot straight to your HubSpot CRM.

ChatSpot analyzes your data in real time and can provide usable data in various formats, such as bar graphs or pie charts.

What I Like: I like that ChatSpot can be used across departments. Each team has access to the same functionalities and analysis, making cross-department collaboration more accessible and efficient.

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2. Customer Success AI

Does decreasing customer churn feel like a never-ending issue? Try ChurnZero’s Customer Success AI.

Customer Success AI is an AI tool designed specifically for customer success. Use it to generate ideas, strategies, inquiry responses, and content your customer success team can use. You can also use it to forecast data, automate workflows, or send email or in-app follow-ups.

The best part? Customer Success AI easily integrates with your existing CRM.

What I like: I appreciate that Customer Success AI has preloaded prompt options for content or strategy. The preloaded options make it easy to generate content quickly.

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3. Totango

Teaming up with Catalyst, Totango works to provide you with a comprehensive overview of your customer accounts. Integrate your customer accounts to get a detailed description of the customer account health, collaborate with your team members to manage customer portfolios, and engage with your customers wherever they are– online, by email, or by chat.

What I like best: I like that Totango easily integrates with your existing CRM. So, if you’re using the HubSpot CRM, you can utilize Totango, too, to service your customers like a pro.

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4. ClientSuccess

ClientSuccess promises to help you reduce churn and increase your customer revenue. With this CRM-integrated app, you can quickly gain valuable insights and analytics to reveal data like customer health and net promoter scores, all with real-time reporting.

Or, use ClientSuccess to automate your customer-facing communications or map and manage your customer journey.

What I like best: I like that ClientSuccess focuses on customer onboarding. The onboarding process can start customer churn, so making it easier and more manageable for the customer can help reduce it.

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5. Vitally

If productivity is your customer success team’s weak spot, consider adding Vitally to your tech stack. Vitally aims to help customer success teams automate specific tasks while encouraging collaboration across the team.

Vitally also provides your team with real-time data so you and your team can monitor customer interactions as they occur.

What I like best: Customer success isn’t a one-person show. I like that Vitally encourages and streamlines collaborative communication across the team.

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6. Drift

If you want AI to support your chat features, consider Drift. Drift is an AI-powered engagement platform designed to help your customer success team listen, understand, and learn from your buyers.

Drift’s AI-powered chatbots allow for personalized 24/7 customer support and recommendations. Not only can they offer customer support, but they can also streamline your sales funnel so that you or your chatbots engage with prospective customers at just the right time.

What I like: I like that Drift encompasses the entire sales from– from start to finish. This chatbot offers personalized support for every stage of the customer.

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7. Freshdesk

If your team’s goal is to decrease the time it takes to respond to customer support tickets, you should try Freshdesk.

It can be challenging to sort through a pile of support tickets and quickly determine which tickets need the most support. But with Freshdesk, that problem is solved for you. Freshdesk can sort through support tickets and deliver them to the appropriate agents, and your team can focus on the correct details without getting distracted by less urgent matters.

Plus, Freshdesk can help your team automate customer self-service, scale your knowledge base, and optimize your workflows.

What I like best: Freshdesk is a solution focused on customer support tickets. I like that it gives team members access to deliver timely, consistent, and personalized support to customers.

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8. Custify

Custify’s focus is on onboarding, customer retention, and revenue maximizing. This AI-powered SaaS technology can help you identify which customer accounts are most likely to grow with your company so you can effectively upsell to them.

Custify also helps make onboarding easier so you can turn your new sign-ups into loyal customers.

What I like: I like that Custify can automate to-do lists. With a to-do list already made and the highest priority tasks at the top, your team can effectively work to ensure your customers’ success.

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AI Customer Success Best Practices

AI tools can help make your customer success team more effective and efficient. However, there is a right and wrong way to use them.

Check out these recommended best practices from experts and us, who use AI tools for customer service.

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1. Align AI to Your Overall Business Goals

It can be tempting to think AI can do the job of providing you with excellent customer service. However, AI is a tool, not a human, and your employees provide the best possible customer service experience.

Ensure that whichever AI tool you choose for your team aligns with your business goals. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can my team use this AI tool effectively to provide excellent support?
  • Which tasks can AI help my team accomplish?
  • Will an AI tool help my team gain time for more important tasks?
  • How does this align with our company’s business goals and mission?

By determining where in your customer success strategy an AI tool is most effective, you can help your team provide better customer support to your clients.

2. Determine What AI Can and Cannot Do

AI tools are fantastic resources, but they shouldn’t be used to replace your employees and their valuable skills. Instead, take some time to determine what AI can and cannot do.

Kaustubh Deo, President of Blooma Tree Experts says this about AI, “We have found it crucial to distinguish between what requires true judgment versus what requires more manual process and work. Over time, AI will do more and more judgment-related tasks. But for now, when it comes to customer success, we err on the side of caution given that clients are the lifeblood of any business.

Given that, AI can start by supporting customer service representatives in creating their task load -- which clients need calls, which open quotes require follow-up, etc. That manual data management task is an ideal starting place to build AI into a small business (or big business) customer success system.

And then the CSRs are able to levy judgment as to how to actually support customers. AI gives them more time to do that well & thoroughly.”

By determining where in your customer success strategy an AI tool is most effective, you can help your team provide better customer support to your clients.

3. Provide Clean Data for the AI Algorithms

Because AI runs best when there is a continuous flow of data available, it’s essential to take time to ensure your data is clean, accurate, and free from errors and biases.

Tony Fernandes, CEO of UEGroup and founder of UserExperience.AI, says the available data determines how effectively AI can help your team.

Fernandes says, “Providing a valuable and robust AI solution has a lot to do with the data available, not the technology. With good access to data related to all the customer touchpoints, including sales experiences, support experiences, and any other type of interaction, software can do a great job of creating a highly personalized experience. The best practices for providing this type of AI solution begins with getting rid of the siloed data within the organization.”

4. Verify AI’s Predictions and Analysis

AI tools can be useful for predicting customer behavior and sentiment analysis. However, there are times when AI can get it wrong, such as if the customer data is flawed.

To make the best use of AI, always verify its predictions and analyses. Using a flawed prediction or analysis might not be good for your customer service team.

5. AI Chatbots Can Be Multi-Purposed

AI chatbots are a widespread use of the technology. You don’t have to use chatbots to field customer complaints. They can be used for various purposes throughout the customer pipeline.

Gary Warner, Marketing and Customer Experience Manager of Joloda, says, “AI can deliver high levels of customer satisfaction and an increase in sales when using a well-designed chatbot system. For example, they can continue to assist the customer even after a sale is made by providing order status and shipping updates. Or they can also recognise customer actions and offer targeted cross-sells or upsells based on their browsing to increase the average order value.

We have also found that having the bot can work as a trigger to get potential customers to agree to a callback is a friendly, easy way for our sales team to get their ‘foot in the door.’”

A Powerful Duo: AI and Customer Success

Appropriate AI tools can elevate your customer experience from mediocre to exceptional, saving your customer service reps time and allowing them to focus on tasks that truly matter.

However, the trick to using AI in customer success is knowing how to implement it properly in your strategies and workflows. The wrong AI tool can slow down your team and derail your efforts to provide excellent customer service.

Take some time to evaluate your customer experience operations before choosing an AI tool. Understanding where AI effectively helps your teams will help your teams provide more effective customer support.

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