How AI is Transforming Sales & Online Customer Service Jobs
6min read - Guy Elensky
In today's fast-paced world, AI is rapidly transforming the way we work, from spelling and grammar corrections to decision-making. Thanks to advances in generative AI, technologies from companies like OpenAI, Google, and Anthropic are revolutionizing sales and online customer service jobs, opening up new opportunities for businesses to deliver exceptional customer experiences across their entire online buying journey.
Reactivity and productivity are key factors in sales and customer support, especially with the rapid growth of e-commerce. Quick responses to customer inquiries and concerns are essential to successfully handling a high volume of customer interactions Providing timely and effective support can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to repeat business and positive referrals. Having responsive and productive associates helps you convert sales faster and increase revenue potential. Investing in tools and processes that streamline these types of jobs is vital for businesses looking to deliver better online customer experiences across the entire sales funnel. In this article, we’ll explore how AI is revolutionizing the roles of sales associates and online customer service representatives, and what opportunities it presents to provide exceptional customer support and drive revenue.
The Perfect Co-Pilot to CX Success
There’s a reason rally drivers have a co-pilot next to them during a race. They provide information on the course ahead, steer the driver away from hazards and obstacles, and direct them through upcoming turns, so the driver can focus and make split-second decisions without worrying about navigation.
Customer service can sometimes feel like rally driving. It's a fast-paced environment that involves handling multiple chat conversations and tasks simultaneously. Representatives must quickly understand customer inquiries, find the right information, and respond accurately. This is where AI can help. Similar to a rally co-pilot, AI tools can help customer support representatives steer clear of time-consuming tasks, manage more conversations at once, and reply efficiently. Ultimately, this provides better customer support to customers. Let's explore this in more detail:
One of the biggest benefits of AI in sales and customer service is the ability to automate tedious, repetitive tasks that take up valuable time. Representatives currently spend around 20% of their time searching for the right information to answer client questions. The more complex the organization, the more difficult it becomes to know the details of each product or service, and all this research takes up increasing energy and mental space. For example, it’s impossible for a customer service rep that works for an e-commerce platform with thousands of products to know the specifications of each one. And yet, client questions often require that level of detail.
AI can quickly retrieve and store vast amounts of information, then cross-reference with past customer interactions allowing it to formulate highly personalized responses in seconds. This makes agents’ jobs much easier. Instead of having to search for information, the answers are brought to them, and their focus becomes evaluating whether the answer is a good fit or needs refining. This frees up representatives to solve more complex customer problems and provide a higher level of attention and care. Incorporating automated tools to your sales and customer support teams will greatly increase their productivity and the quality of your service.
We all use spell checkers and know how time-saving they can be when writing and proofreading important documents and emails. For your customer service agents, writing is essentially the entirety of their day. Providing exceptional customer service across every message they send is demanding, and forming consistently well-written and complete answers is extremely difficult. Most errors occur when agents are tired or burnt out, which leads to spelling and grammar mistakes that create confusion, breed dissatisfaction, and hurt your brand image.
New AI tools are going to revolutionize writing for agents. With generative AI, you’re able to offer intuitive, instant grammar correction to help agents ensure that all their messages are spelling and grammar-error free, and on-brand. These tools also help agents write more compelling messages and infuse more empathy in sales and customer support responses. Agents can input text in their natural writing style using short, concise bullet points of information, and with the click of a button get their text formatted into a comprehensive and well-written answer. Say goodbye to writing and rewriting until you get it just right, and hello to high-quality answers with lightning speed and ease. Your agents will love these features, and your customers will too.
Having an AI co-pilot also means that onboarding new agents becomes much easier. Companies spend a significant amount of time and resources training new hires, and it takes several months for them to become proficient in answering questions with the level of service expected from agents. AI shortens this learning curve and the resources required to train new hires decreases. New hires with access to automated responses start off providing a higher level of service than a new agent without this capability. They can also receive writing assistance that matches the brand's voice, corrects their grammar and spelling, and helps them write more complete and compelling messages.
High-Quality Customer Service
AI will improve the main metrics that customer representative leaders care about. If you’re part of a pre-sales team, and the most important indicator for you is how many sales you generate, then AI can help you streamline your performance. For example, if a prospective client comes to you with a specific product question, AI can automatically pull up the product with all its relevant characteristics. This makes it easy for an agent to quickly gather context and answer the question appropriately. In certain cases, AI can also provide these answers automatically, allowing agents to focus on understanding the customer’s needs, making sure the product is a good fit, and suggesting alternative products that may be a better match to drive a higher conversion probability.
With proper instruction and training, AI can:
- Suggest follow-up questions to clarify the customer’s needs and automatically pull up the best-matched products based on the discussion
- Suggest which product benefits to emphasize or write a short message on the fly to help explain why the product is a good match for the customer
Customer support agents aren’t just the bridge between shopper and company data, they’re also there to provide an extra layer of human touch that consumers expect when contacting support centers. AI can help agents include more details in their answers with auto-complete features or show more empathy in tense conversations with features that rephrase response messages. Representatives can also handle many more conversations at once, without sacrificing quality, meaning that they can serve more customers while shortening wait times.
Customer Service Roles are Shifting
The incorporation of AI tools in different industries is going to bring about a significant shift in workers’ roles. While AI technology continues to advance, it still requires human direction, input, and maintenance. This means that workers will not only be responsible for their traditional tasks, like providing customer support, but also for improving these new automated systems. One of the key responsibilities that customer service agents will acquire is helping to enrich the data that AI models are trained on. This includes giving feedback, reviewing automated responses, and reporting anomalies in the behavior of the system.
Agents will also get the opportunity to build new automations that can help them perform their jobs more efficiently. As automated systems become more complex, agents will become an integral part of the AI maintenance, monitoring, and training process. They’ll need to work closely with the technology to ensure that it continues to deliver the best possible results and meets the evolving needs of the business and its customers. Ultimately, this combination of AI technology and human expertise has the potential to transform customer support and sales, creating a more efficient and effective system that benefits everyone involved.
Getting Started With AI Tools for Your Business: Challenges & Limitations
Integrating AI tools into a sales or customer support team can be challenging and complex. It's important to ensure that the right partner is selected to generate as much value as possible. Using AI tools in the wrong way can have the opposite effect, meaning that understanding your businesses’ specific needs and the problems that AI will help solve is a critical first step.
One important aspect to consider is the use of generative AI, which generates content, like automated responses. It must be well-configured and fine-tuned to your business, so that it doesn’t provide false or useless information, or get responses wrong. It's essential to test and validate the AI models you choose before they’re fully implemented to ensure they meet company requirements and standards. On a related note, it can also prove difficult to connect your data to your AI, like product information, help center articles, and customer information. Your AI tools must be able to access all of this to provide the best possible customer experience.
There are also legal aspects to keep in mind when it comes to personal data, specific mechanisms must be put in place to control the quality of AI-generated suggestions. Your business must ensure that your AI tools comply with data protection regulations, and consider how they’ll store, manage, and process data. Reporting and optimization tools are also crucial to ensure that the AI is continuously providing value to customer service agents, meaning that your company must have the ability to track performance and make adjustments as necessary.
In today's fast-paced world, businesses need to provide better customer service to stay ahead of their competition. AI is changing the way we work, which creates a unique opportunity for companies to adapt and improve their operations accordingly. By investing in the right AI technology, businesses can help their agents increase their work speed and quality, provide better responses to their customers, and streamline their onboarding process for new hires.
To ensure that the implementation of AI tools is a successful and smooth process, it's crucial to choose the right software partner for your brand’s goals. With AI as their co-pilot, sales and customer support representatives can focus on what they do best—driving revenue and providing exceptional customer service.
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