Working at pace and under pressure is something support teams are very familiar with. Whether it’s driving up customer satisfaction, improving response rates, or resolving a variety of issues that can crop up in their day—all are ingredients that make it one of the most engaging and rewarding roles around. But that doesn’t mean it’s not tough at times.
Teamwork makes the support-shaped dream work, with a melting pot of individual skills, drive, relationship management, and passion. But to perform in today’s fast-paced environment, tools are also needed. This is why support teams are increasingly looking into how AI can supercharge their efforts, simplify tasks, and help develop some seriously strong connections.
But as tempting as it is to dive right in, this is one journey worth starting slowly. With AI technologies evolving at lightspeed, teams naturally have a few questions they want to be answered before they hop aboard. This is where Aircall comes in—with our new AI Index that explores the opinions and insights from 3,500 employees at small to medium businesses (SMBs) worldwide.
Whether it’s the barriers companies are facing in their deployment, the anxieties among employees, or the business values that are too good to pass up—here are the top questions we uncovered around support teams and AI.
The Four Biggest Questions About AI for Support Teams
1. Does AI spell the end of human impact for support teams?
For those support reps who are a little more skeptical about the dawn of AI, one key concern is what exactly happens to customer support when AI is doing the supporting. In fact, almost two-thirds (62%) of support reps are concerned that a lack of human input could hamper the quality of their work.
This is natural, of course. Even switching to a new type of support software can cause quality concerns. But for support reps who thrive on forming personal connections to drive customer satisfaction, don’t worry—AI implementation should be designed in partnership with humans, and not brought in to replace them.
Aircall champions the power of voice—the human voice—and when it comes to our vision for how businesses can succeed with AI, the stock of human-to-human connection is even greater. By using AI to easily identify and store customer insights, call notes, or even check in on customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) and net promoter scores (NPS), it can liberate support reps from the time-intensive tasks of their day and make more time for connection.
2. How do support teams feel about AI?
In short—good, but not great. 64% of employees feel optimistic about AI overall, falling slightly to 63% for support teams. If this is the case, then for those teams keen on its implementation—why the delay?
There are a few reasons that could be causing implementation lag. Some good—e.g. strategy planning, market research, surveying internal sentiment. And some bad—e.g. misconceptions, lack of understanding, or not enough preparation.
For instance, 56% of employees at SMBs say they lack the proper technology infrastructure to implement AI. For some, AI might be a byword for “overly complicated” or “tech heavy”, but AI has never been more accessible and doesn’t require specialist skills, or eye-watering investment. Take Aircall’s very own AI call and voicemail transcription features for instance. Or even our buddies at Salesforce who have AI baked into their CRM with Einstein GPT—your mustachioed smart assistant who helps support teams build richer relationships in less time.
3. Is AI coming for my job?
It might sound like something out of science fiction, but just under half (49%) of all support reps at SMBs are concerned about AI’s potential to replace them. But just as the calculator didn’t replace the bookkeeper, and delivery drones haven’t replaced bike couriers—AI isn’t set to replace support teams either.
Human connection is something customers want more of, not less, which sets the scene for AI to augment the human experience, not replace it. Yet the worries of the 49% should encourage business leaders to think long and hard about how they implement AI into their teams. It’s not an instant fix, and however intuitive AI is becoming, it’ll still need a human to pull on those strategy reins now and again.
Education is needed around AI—especially when 74% of all employees are keen to learn more about how it could be used to improve their work and/or business. When implementing AI, be sure to put some thought into the problems you want it to solve, and where you see it fitting into your business. AI won’t replace you—but with some pre-planning, it could partner with you.
4. What positive impact can AI have on customer support?
Sure, AI sounds great, but what difference does it make to the day-to-day? For AI implementation to take off, you want your support reps to feel the benefit every single day. When it comes to customer support this means taking the hassle out of creating crucial support assets—whether it’s customer information, accurate call records, team performance metrics, or playbooks for coaching, onboarding, and upskilling.
For a job function that thrives on conversation, customer support reps spend just five hours a week having meaningful customer interactions. A low amount, this is where businesses should be driving their time savings to. And that means implementing AI to speed up all those time-intensive support tasks.
For instance, the average support rep spends 2.3 hours per week on transcription and writing notes, and 1.9 hours listening back to calls. This is almost the sum total of the time spent on the eventual conversations. While when it comes to manually transferring or inputting data, such as updating customer and call records, support reps are spending 3.8 hours doing this every week—the highest across roles.
Fortunately, there are AI solutions out there capable of bringing down these hours in one fell swoop. For instance, with in-built machine learning (a form of AI) automatically transcribing calls and voicemails with an accuracy of 85%, and even automatically syncing with your CRM or help desk, Aircall’s new call and voicemail transcription can make a real difference.
This is just one example of how your team can potentially get hours back in their working week—boosting the time they can spend on meaningful customer interactions.
Getting Support Started With AI
AI isn’t showing any sign of slowing down. And as new solutions hit the market (and workplace), support teams should make sure they retain focus on what makes their teams great. This means stepping up to the plate with strategy, first-hand examples, and a thorough understanding of what AI can do.
It could also mean putting time in to talk to the Aircall team about our new AI-supported call and voicemail transcription feature. This is the first step on our AI journey and it could be yours too.
Don’t forget to dig into our Guide to AI in Customer-Facing Teams, packed with new data, advice, and insights that provide you with everything you need to get to grips with AI. Today could be the day you start using AI to give a little support back to your support team.
Published on January 2, 2024.