Customer service professionals are embracing AI and saying AI/automation tools are important to their strategies.
Despite this, support reps are still nervous about adopting AI, and what the future of customer service looks like with more automated processes.
If you’re a service pro feeling a bit weary of AI, it’s understandable. Below we’ll outline some popular misconceptions about AI in customer service, and explain an alternative perspective to consider.
9 AI Misconceptions in Customer Service
1. Consumers have no interest in AI-powered or involved support.
The main reason customer service people who don’t use AI/automation haven’t taken the plunge is because they believe customers prefer to interact with a human agent, which can lead to the misconception that automation will be rejected.
Misconception: Customers will resist AI-powered customer service experiences and aren’t interested in non-human support.
Reality: Customers haven’t rejected AI/automation in customer service and have actually been using it (happily) for some time now. For example, many people seeking support visit a company’s website and ask a chatbot for help answering simple questions or asking for links to relevant knowledge base articles or other helpful content that helps them solve their issue.
2. AI makes getting customer support impersonal.
Customer service reps who don’t use AI told us they shy away because they think AI-powered customer service isn’t as personal as human-offered service. Since AI isn’t sentient and can’t convey human emotions, people might think that businesses leveraging AI will build an impersonal service experience.
Misconception: Using AI in customer service makes an impersonal experience because it can’t be empathetic or build a personal connection.
Reality: AI can take over routine tasks and make it easier for support reps to be more attentive and focused on building meaningful customer relationships. It is true, though, that becoming overly reliant on AI in customer service might create a more impersonal experience that pushes customers away, so it’s always important to be mindful of how you incorporate AI into your processes.
3. AI can’t provide a personalized customer experience.
54% of consumers crave a personalized customer service experience tailored to their specific needs, which leads people to worry about whether AI will make it harder for businesses to meet this need.
Misconception: Greater use of AI in customer service can lead to less personalized customer support that doesn’t directly address individual customer needs.
Reality: Service pros responding to our State of AI survey said that personalization is one of the biggest benefits of using AI in their roles. It helps teams prioritize personalization with things like behavior analysis and record keeping, where it can analyze customer behavior and add information about buyers and their interests to customer profiles that agents can easily access to get the context they need to personalize any interactions.
4. AI is complicated and expensive.
Artificial intelligence and everything under its umbrella can be hard to understand, and businesses with smaller budgets don't have the luxury of experimenting with expensive tools. This is one of the top barriers reported by service reps that don’t already use AI.
Misconception: Adopting AI in customer service requires significant up-front costs and technological expertise.
Reality: It’s true that artificial intelligence and its branches are complicated and that tools come with a cost. But, many AI-powered customer service tools are user-friendly and easy to implement without deep technological expertise. And, as AI has advanced, many tools are available at a low monthly cost, making them affordable to businesses of all sizes (check out this list of affordable AI tools for businesses)
5. AI is taking jobs from human agents.
41% of business professionals are concerned about AI taking their jobs in the next few years, and 35% of customer support specialists echo this concern, leading to a growing worry about job security.
Misconception: If AI becomes more involved in customer service, it’s only a matter of time before human agents become obsolete.
Reality: The consensus among business professionals is that AI won’t be taking jobs. Instead, it will make people more efficient in their work and open up new opportunities and career paths. In customer service, AI can help support reps become more effective with automated processes, like ticket routing, writing email copy, and analyzing customer data. An agent that supplements their process with AI can focus on more pressing issues and have genuine interactions that satisfy customers.
6. Reps struggle with queue handling and time management, but AI isn’t the solution.
Customers want fast service, and service teams struggle to provide it. Teams might see this as an internal strategy error that needs fixing rather than adding a new tool.
Misconception: While AI can be a helpful sidekick, internal processes must change to meet consumer demand.
Reality: AI shines when it comes to helping services people provide the quick service customers want. Reps back this up, saying a top benefit of using AI is that it helps respond to customer requests faster. Tools can use natural language understanding to automatically classify tickets by context and level of priority and route a customer to an agent ready to help. When reps don’t have to do the sorting themselves, they’re available as soon as a customer is assigned to them, lowering wait times and speeding up time to resolution.
7. Humans have a deeper knowledge of customers needs than AI ever will.
A business knows its customer base because the products and services it offers are for the customer. People might believe that AI will harm the customer experience because it doesn’t have the knowledge human agents do.
Misconception: AI doesn’t have the in-depth business and customer knowledge it needs to make accurate decisions or helpful and recommendations for agents.
Reality: Most AI tools can be trained on your business’ data, including all customer information, business processes, and internal documents, so it can build the context and knowledge it needs to produce results tailored to your own business and customers.
8. AI is always right.
AI has advanced significantly in the past year, so its current capabilities are greater than many can imagine.
Misconception: AI’s advanced stage in development and self-learning abilities make it highly effective in making accurate decisions.
Reality: AI is continuously improving and can self-correct, but it’s not perfect. It’s very capable of making errors when analyzing data and understanding human queries, which causes it to produce factually incorrect information and predictions called hallucinations. Human oversight is always important because you can quickly identify errors and take immediate action to lessen any impact on customer satisfaction.
Over to You
AI can be helpful in customer service and help solve many of the issues that teams report facing. But, becoming overly reliant on it will genuinely impact the support you offer, likely for the worst. Businesses that take a hybrid approach and use AI as a supplement to their processes will likely see that their misconceptions are proven wrong and AI is a genuinely helpful sidekick in their day-to-day.