AI means different things to different people, and many see it as something that will replace human
beings. I see AI as an enabler, something that can contribute to our current working practices and make us more efficient, but with AI we also lose the control, emotion and context.
When it comes to customer service, nothing can replace the importance of personal touch or human interactions. This is especially the case in our industry where we are supporting huge purchases, investments and infrastructure projects.
At Groundsure, we typically deal with some 5,000 customer queries a month across different channels including phone, live chat, email, placing and querying orders. We have a clear commitment to a 24-hour turnaround time on queries, no matter how complex and have held onto our service level for many years. And whilst none of this would be possible without a great team, it also wouldn’t be possible without technology.
In 2021, I was tasked with implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to all of our customer facing teams. This meant moving circa 50+ team members away from traditional email inboxes to a single source of truth platform. The net result was that all our client communications were streamlined and in one place, enabling a swift resolution to customer queries.
We invested in AI-assisted workflows, allowing for huge efficiencies when dealing with client queries, ensuring they are directed to the correct team as effectively as possible. But these also help with managing our clients
expectations and keeping them informed of their query’s journey. We have implemented automated emails which are triggered when a client’s query reaches a new stage in its journey. For example, it has been acknowledged by our Customer Support team, but it needs to be handed over to our Consultants for further input. The client is made aware of every step involved and the expected turnaround time for this next stage investigation.
This also allowed us to start asking customers what they really thought of our service, something that before was a very laborious process and relied heavily on manual work. Now, we can quickly see how effectively we dealt with a customer query, and monitor our Customer Effort Score – more on that on Wednesday.
So, yes, AI is the inevitable next step for many, but it is only as intelligent as the human inputs. We would struggle without it, but that human interaction we give to our clients will never be replaced.