How To Use Generative AI in Customer Support

Customer support has undergone significant transformation over the years, evolving from basic call centers to multi-channel contact centers incorporating email, chat, and social media platforms. This evolution has been driven by technological advancements and a deepening understanding of customer needs and expectations.

Generative AI, one of the cutting-edge technologies making waves in customer support, is, at its core, a collection of algorithms that can generate content — whether it's text, images, or even code — based on the input received. Its relevance to customer support lies in its ability to understand and process natural language, making it an ideal tool for automating responses to customer inquiries, personalizing communication, and even predicting and addressing potential issues before they arise.

As we take a deeper dive into this subject, we'll uncover the benefits of integrating generative AI into your customer support strategy, not just for operational efficiency but also for elevating the customer and agent experience.

Understanding generative AI

When it comes to the technology used in customer service, generative AI stands out as an important innovation. Let's break down what generative AI is, how it differs from other AI technologies, and the impact it's having on customer support.

Generative AI, in essence, is a type of artificial intelligence that can create content. This could range from writing text that mimics human writing, generating realistic images from descriptions, or even composing music. It learns from a vast pool of data — identifying patterns, styles, or trends — and uses this understanding to produce new, original content that hasn't been explicitly programmed into it. Think of this as having a conversation with a very knowledgeable friend who can offer new ideas or solutions based on what they've learned over the years.

What sets generative AI apart from other AI technologies is its ability to produce new content rather than just analyzing or categorizing existing information. While traditional AI might help you find the quickest route home by analyzing traffic data (both reactive and analytical processes), generative AI could write a story about your journey home, filled with imagined obstacles and characters (showing both creative and proactive capabilities). This creative capacity is the primary differentiator, making generative AI an incredibly powerful tool for innovation in many fields, including customer support.

By leveraging generative AI, your business can automate certain customer inquiries that traditionally required human intervention. For instance, it can generate responses to customer queries that are both contextually relevant and personalized, providing customers with human-like support.

Moreover, generative AI can make it a lot easier to analyze customer behavior and feedback, helping your team predict potential issues and offer solutions before they escalate. Imagine a customer expressing frustration over a delayed shipment in an email. Generative AI can help your team understand the sentiment, access the customer's order history, and draft an empathetic and informative response all in a matter of seconds.

But this technology is not just about efficiency; it's about enriching the customer support experience by being highly responsive and sometimes eerily insightful. Generative AI doesn't just solve problems — it turns them into opportunities for positive engagement and satisfaction.

How to use generative AI in customer support

Staying ahead of the curve means not just keeping up with technological advancements but also implementing them in ways that tangibly improve your operational and customer experiences. Let’s explore how generative AI is being used and the benefits it brings to customers and support teams alike.

Automated customer responses

One of the most immediate applications of generative AI is in providing automated (yet remarkably human-like) responses to common customer requests. Generative AI tools can understand and process customer queries in real-time, providing accurate and contextually appropriate responses instantly. This not only improves efficiency but ensures that your customers receive the help they need when they need it, without waiting for business hours or human intervention.

Personalization at scale

We all know that feeling valued and understood makes a world of difference in any interaction. Generative AI takes customer support a step further by enabling your team to tailor interactions based on a customer's history and preferences. By analyzing past interactions, preferences, and even the tone of the customer’s question, generative AI can adapt its responses to match the customer’s profile, making each interaction feel personal and thoughtful. This level of personalization at scale was once a daunting task for customer support teams but is now achievable with generative AI.

Feedback analysis and insights

Feedback is gold for any business. However, sifting through it to find actionable insights can take a lot of time and effort. Here’s where generative AI can play a pivotal role. It can enable your team to quickly process vast amounts of feedback, identifying trends, sentiments, and even specific issues that need attention. This empowers your business to make informed decisions, improve products and services, and refine your support strategies based on real customer input.

Benefits of using generative AI in customer support

Integrating generative AI into your customer support operations can transform the way you interact with your customers, making every interaction more efficient, personalized, and insightful. However, AI adoption is not just about keeping up with competitors or lowering your bottom line. Rather, it’s about leveraging technology to help your team build stronger connections with your customers and provide them with the best experience possible.

The tangible benefits of using generative AI in customer support are hard to overlook. Here are just a few of them.

Reduced response times

One of the most immediate benefits of implementing generative AI in customer support is the reduction in response times it offers. With AI-driven systems, customer inquiries can be processed and responded to almost instantly, around the clock. This means no more long wait times for your customers, leading to a significant improvement in their overall experience.

Improved customer satisfaction

When response times go down, customer satisfaction often goes up. Generative AI doesn't just respond quickly — it provides more accurate and relevant solutions than prior support automation offerings, such as rule-based chatbots. The technology can process customer requests with a higher degree of understanding, which can lead to a boost in satisfaction with your service.

Scalability in handling customer requests

As your business grows, so does the volume of customer support inquiries. This can be a challenge for traditional support frameworks, but it’s where generative AI shines. AI systems can handle an increasing number of inquiries without the need for proportional increases in support staff. This scalability ensures your customer support quality doesn't dip during high-traffic periods or as your customer base expands.

Enhanced personalization

Generative AI can tap into the wealth of data available from customer interactions, enabling your team to offer highly personalized support experiences. By analyzing past interactions, purchase history, and preferences, AI systems make it easy for teams to tailor responses to meet individual customer needs more accurately. This level of personalization can make customers feel valued and understood, fostering a sense of loyalty to your brand.

More time for complex problem-solving

The benefits of generative AI also extend beyond customers to support teams directly. AI automation can take over mundane, repetitive tasks, saving support time and allowing teams to focus on more valuable tasks, like troubleshooting complex issues, maintaining support documentation, or developing customer engagement strategies. This shift can lead to higher job satisfaction as agents engage more in tasks that require a high level of expertise and spend less time focusing on busy work.

Real-world examples of generative AI improving customer experience

Generative AI is no longer a futuristic concept but a present-day reality. Most customer service tools offer AI features that operate both behind the scenes and in customer-facing capacities. Considering how to thoughtfully integrate generative AI into your support strategy is an important step to ensuring that your implementation not only makes things faster but also better.

Let’s take a look at a few ways companies are currently using AI to enhance customer experiences.

Using a generative AI chatbot to handle tier one support

Wealthsimple service is a prime example of generative AI in action. By integrating AI-powered chatbots, Wealthsimple takes a proactive approach to engaging customers, addressing their issues right from the start without any delay. These chatbots are designed to handle routine questions, reducing the volume of support tickets that need human intervention. This not only makes the support team's job more manageable but also ensures that customers receive faster assistance.

Using generative AI for feedback analysis to improve products and services

Imagine having the capability to sift through volumes of customer feedback and immediately pinpoint areas for improvement. Retail companies are doing just that with AI-generated reports. By analyzing customer feedback, these reports highlight specific aspects like product placement, staff interactions, and checkout efficiency that could be enhanced. Based on these insights, businesses can implement changes leading to better store layouts, more helpful customer service, and faster checkout times, ultimately boosting customer satisfaction. It moves your business from just collecting feedback to actively utilizing it to make meaningful improvements.

Generative AI’s role in creating personalized customer experiences

Spotify’s use of generative AI showcases how technology can craft deeply personalized experiences. Through features like Discover Weekly and Daily Mix, Spotify uses generative AI to analyze individual users' music listening habits and preferences. It then recommends new songs, tailoring playlists to each user’s unique taste. This not only keeps the user engaged but also makes them feel like Spotify truly understands their musical preferences, enhancing user satisfaction and loyalty.

Embracing the future with generative AI

The power of generative AI lies in its versatility. It has the ability to automate interactions, dissect feedback for actionable insights, offer personalized customer experiences, and create room for your team to work on more meaningful projects that can improve the level of care that your customers receive.

At Help Scout, we recognize the game-changing impact that generative AI can have on support operations, while also understanding that it can only do so much. We design AI features that focus on helping support teams do their best work so that they have more time to focus on what’s important: their customers.

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