Prominent networking solutions provider Ericsson took the wraps off of a new Ericsson Consumer & IndustryLab Insight Report on May 14, highlighting consumer service frustrations and exploring the future of customer service interactions. The report predominantly applies to mobile operators and, unsurprisingly, the central focus of the report is on how poor customer service experiences impact consumers. Although customers generally expect providers to predict their needs, interactions with customer service average around 2.2 attempts and 4.1 days before interactions are completed on any given issue. Those interactions take place for a variety of what the companies call "touch points," including setup of new services, cancellation, service discovery, and more. Moreover, those require talking on the phone or typing and swiping to communicate with customer service representatives. However, all of that could be solved, the study shows, via a zero-touch approach to the experience. More directly, the companies say that the use of A.I. automation could lead to an effortless customer service experience.
A smoother experience is always desirable when talking with representatives of a given company and might, in fact, help stabilize churn rates for a given company. With that said, there hasn't really been a clear way to approach it. Ericsson and IndustryLab point to the use of data analytics and machine learning as a possibility on that front. By enabling an A.I. in the customer service sector to learn, providers might be able to utilize data from previous transactions and consumer behavioral patterns to predict what a consumer needs. Beyond that, the report says that may be possible to accomplish before the said consumer even initiates contact, which would cut down on the amount of time wasted talking to support representatives considerably. Best of all, the end result would be that mobile service operators would be able to fulfill the needs of smartphone users – 56-percent of whom expect them to anticipate customer needs before the consumer themselves do.
Whether or not the points covered in the Ericsson and IndustryLab report are taken into consideration by carriers, there are at least a few which are already beginning to look at A.I. for that purpose. T-Mobile, for example, announced the addition of A.I. as an augment for its customer care center employees back in February.