Artificial intelligence is moving into customer service.
Many service organizations already use AI and even more plan to use it in the future.
The growth of AI use over the next 18 months is projected at 143%, according to a new study.
The third annual “State of Service” study comprised a survey of 3,500 customer service agents and decision makers in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific and Europe conducted by Salesforce Research.
While about a quarter (24%) of service organizations already use AI, more than a third (34%) plan to within 18 months.
There are reasons behind the move to AI. Most (70%) customer service agents believe automating routine tasks would allow them to focus on higher-value work, according to the study.
Customer service agents use AI in a number of ways, including gathering basic information (81%), to automate the handling of routine customer issues (75%), case classification and routing (74%), providing management with operations insights (71%) and pre-fill fields in the agent console (71%).
The majority (51%) of customer service agents without AI spend their time on mundane tasks, compared to 34% of agents with AI.
The use of chatbots -- the AI technology that simulates voice or text-based conversations -- are projected to grow 136% over the next 18 months, from 23% of customer service agents using them now and 31% more within that time period.
The most common use is for simple self-service scenarios (78%), followed by gathering information before handing a case off to a human agent (77%), providing agents with guidance as they handle cases (71%) and greeting customers when they call (67%).
Within 18 months, the majority (53%) of customer service organizations are expected to be using chatbots.
Whether they like them are not, customers are going to be dealing with more chatbots, with the hope that AI will become good enough to know what they want and quickly figure a way to provide it.