Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

AI for Customer Service: 5 Easy Ways to Help Your Customers

Replacing humans with robots? Not too long ago this concept struck fear in the hearts of the general public who believed humans would soon be redundant. Luckily, the human species has warmed up to the idea of living side-by-side with cold machines. Compared to antiquated customer service teams staffed by real people, consumers have realized that AI for customer service and voice intelligence (VI) can make their lives far more convenient.

READ: Exploring the Potential of AI Bots in HR — Tips for Leveraging Technology in Employee Communications

AI and VI have, for a while now, been at the epicenter of customer service operations — especially in call center quality assurance. Customers can now enjoy a seamless customer experience, which does not involve being on hold for an hour (or more), thanks to processes such as machine learning, natural language processing, and speech recognition.

These are cost-effective solutions, but, most importantly, AI is seen as a key driver in improving customer satisfaction. If the customer is happy, then your business will be successful. Here are five ways AI and VI can help your business.

24/7 Service

The traditional working routine of 9:00-5:00 is dead. The days of a customer only being able to contact customer support through VoIP phone apps within normal working hours are long gone. One of the problems with humans is that we need to sleep, and paying staff to answer phones 24/7 is expensive. Full online service means that a customer can contact your company whenever they need to.

Also, messaging is now the customer support method of choice. Implementing a system such as a chatbot that can answer a customer’s query at 2 am will help your customer and your brand. 

If yours is a global company operating across different time zones and in different languages, then an AI chat is an essential business communication tool. You can help a Spanish speaker in Seattle at seven in the morning and a Tamil speaker in Texas at ten at night, for example.


One of the simplest ways to please someone is to call them by their name — the personal touch. A virtual assistant can call customers by their names and do so much more. They learn from every interaction with the customer and make use of their history to ensure every interaction is customized and personalized. It’s as if you personally know every customer, and you can achieve more in less time. 

In the past, customer service was reactive; it waited until there was a problem and then tried to address the issue. AI has revolutionized the idea of what customer service can be. What about those great series Netflix recommends or that Weekly Mix that Spotify compiles just for you? These are just two excellent examples of AI-powered recommendations facilitating better-continued user experiences.

READ: Improving Your Customer Experience and Boosting Satisfaction — 3 Easy Tips

The more music we listen to on Spotify, the better the recommended music becomes, and our experience of listening to music changes. AI is like the friend we used to have who knew all the great music, except Spotify really knows all the great music. Spotify knows us, and this creates a personal connection between the consumer and the brand. This translates to the customer being happier and more likely to continue consuming the product. 

AI also works for companies selling products other than just entertainment services. With tools such as conversational data analytics, you can extract the necessary data to deliver a personalized service. Travel companies can use AI to learn from their customers’ search histories and then offer specifically targeted packages. One customer might prefer trains over planes, so using this contact center analysis can give the customer travel ideas they never knew existed. 

Personally sending customers content based on their interests also captivates them. The result: an increase in revenue and a happy traveler. 


The call centers of old are clunky, potentially accident-prone and inefficient. It is expensive to pay people to work in them, and they are a waste of time for both your business and your customer.

Call center software, however, such as virtual assistants and chatbots don’t have to put anyone on hold. They can also simultaneously assist a large number of customers and quickly provide them with answers in real-time. Interactions using these methods of AI for customer service reduce the time customers have to spend interacting with the company and solutions are far more long-term, which reduces the need for second contacts.

AI platforms have unlimited memory capacity and use super-fast processors to speedily locate answers without the need for a human to manually search in several different areas before successfully finding a response. This means that machine-learned answers are faster and more accurate than would be possible with a traditional customer service team. 

Predicting Customer Needs

The best way to address a problem is to prevent it from ever becoming a problem — recent developments in collaboration software have helped us with this. Traditional customer service has no way of doing this; however, AI tools are trained to predict a customer’s needs. If, for example, a customer has not moved from a particular webpage in a longer-than-normal time, this may indicate that they are stuck. 

A well-programmed chatbot can appear and both amicably and objectively lend a hand to the confused customer — possibly offering solutions for some of the most common issues that it has identified. The problem will seamlessly be resolved before it has escalated, and your company has provided a solution to a customer who has exerted less effort.


Can you tell me your date of birth and your mother’s maiden name? This is not the first-class security we demand in 2023 — it is susceptible to fraud. However, AI recognition systems on smartphones can automatically identify a customer using face recognition software, making banking and other transactions far more secure. What previously might have taken a customer hours can now be done in seconds.

READ: How to Minimize Cybersecurity Risks and Balance Customer Friction for your Online Business

This technology also gives your customer far more confidence when purchasing your product as there is less chance of error. Choosing the right software will also put customers at ease as they know their personal information will be protected and their privacy safeguarded. 

The Bottom Line

Customers want seamless experiences when contacting your company’s customer service team. They need answers quickly, want interactions to be secure and desire that the time spent talking to your company is kept to a minimum. Using AI and VI, combined with solid QA testing, will ensure that customers are always satisfied. 

Why not take it one step further and use technology to your advantage? Harbor the power of AI to learn more about your customer: their likes, their personality, and their history. Give them more of what they want and then sit back and watch your customer smile and your profits grow.


Grace Lau 1Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Here is her LinkedIn.

5 Tips for Overcoming Customer Service Obstacles as a Small Business

If people love small businesses for one thing, it’s their customer service. Small companies tend to take customer issues to heart and do everything they can to resolve them. That said, small businesses face quite a few challenges to overcoming customer service obstacles, whether due to a lack of financial resources, employees, or general bandwidth. Fortunately, there’s always a way to get through obstacles. Here’s how to overcome five common customer service obstacles as a small business.

READ — The Top 5 Ways You Can Support Mental Health in the Workplace

Keep Track of Customer Data and Use It Appropriately

Personalization is vital in business. Customers mainly want an experience tailored to who they are and what they need. They want to feel like a company knows them and genuinely cares.

Personalization is critical in customer service too. You don’t want your customers to have to repeat the same dialogue to your chatbot, to a general customer service person, and then again to the manager all to get one issue solved.

A personalized customer experience isn’t possible without keeping track of customer data. The problem lies, however, in collecting and using data ethically for personalization without crossing any customer privacy boundaries.

Find the sweet spot in the ethical collection of customer data to ensure customer service interactions and the overall customer experience are personalized but not intrusive to customers’ sense of privacy. Be transparent about what you’re doing and give your customers control over how their data is collected and used. Customer data is critical for cohesive, trustworthy customer service exchanges and the best experience with your brand.

Have a Plan for Ending a Customer Relationship

Unfortunately, there will come a time when you have to refuse service to a customer or end a relationship entirely. In this regard, a small business owner’s misstep is moving forward in an unprofessional manner or even an illegal one.

First, it’s essential to know the legality of refusing service to a customer. There are laws that protect customers from unlawful discrimination. For example, you can refuse service to a disruptive, racist customer, but you cannot refuse service based on someone’s race or ethnic group.

Second, if you’re going to end a customer relationship, do so in a professional manner. For instance, don’t just stop responding to a customer and let that signify the end of the relationship. Instead, send a detailed email to your customer explaining why you’re ending the relationship and give them the option to call you if they have questions. At the very least, give them an opportunity to respond to the email and get clarification.

If you have to end a customer relationship, that’s okay. Just be sure you’re doing it with professionalism at the forefront of the interaction.

READ — Independent Investigations and Decision-making Can Help Employers Avoid Liability

Extend Your Customer Service to Social Media

The landscape of customer service has changed along with societal norms, moving customer interactions over to more digital, text-based platforms. In fact, 64% of consumers would rather use social media messaging to solicit customer service from a company than call them.

Businesses still overlook customer service on social media even with a statistic like this. They fail to respond to customers. For example, 45% of businesses take longer than five days to respond to customer inquiries over Facebook Messenger. Some might even make the more significant mistake of deleting negative comments and direct messages.

Don’t ignore the complaints, questions, and issues your customers bring forth on social media. Instead, answer every direct message and comment related to customer service right there on your platforms. If you need to take the conversation to a private channel to get a resolution, do so.

Don’t limit your use of social media to marketing-related activities. Use it to boost your customer service as well.

READ — How To Organically Grow Your Company’s Social Media Presence

Rely on Technology

One of the biggest customer service hurdles for small businesses is getting away from doing everything manually. From answering every email to handling the phones to managing returns and exchanges to answering every question a customer has, doing it all on your own can be exhausting and challenging to sustain.

That’s why it’s essential to lean on technology to optimize processes. Introducing the right tech tools to help you with customer service tasks can free your team up to focus on customer service interactions that need that human touch.

Consider using chatbots on your website to handle customer service requests when you’re team is off for the day. Create a knowledge base for your customers. Use automation tools to manage repetitive tasks like email responses or printing return labels. Lean on a solid customer relationship management (CRM) system too. Rely on technology so that your customers can fully rely on you.

Train Your Staff

Assuming that your staff knows what customer service is and looks like is a huge mistake. People have different perceptions of customer service. In addition, your business and its customers are unique. So, you may need to do things to serve them well that other companies may not have to.

Hiring quality candidates is crucial, but it’s even more important to train them. This is so everyone is on the same page when it comes to customer service.

Show them what an exceptional customer service experience looks like. Train them on how to best handle unruly customers. And ingrain your company culture, policies, and customer service processes in them.

Your customers can enjoy a consistent experience when your staff is adequately trained on what overcoming customer service obstacles look like in your business.

The Bottom Line

Nurturing your customer relationships is integral to your small business’s success. And a massive part of ensuring those relationships are top-tier is providing exceptional customer service.

Whether through small business books, courses, mentors, or another source, continue to educate yourself on overcoming customer service obstacles and common hurdles in order to to provide the best experience for your customers.


Indiana Lee Bio PictureIndiana Lee is a writer, reader, and jigsaw puzzle enthusiast from the Pacific Northwest. An expert on business operations, leadership, marketing, and lifestyle, you can connect with her on LinkedIn.

Why frustration is good business


Recently I decided to stop my cable television account – you know, after the one-year “special pricing” expired and the monthly cost shot up – and cut the cable with a new streaming TV service. No big deal, right? Well, not exactly. When I got the shock of the new “regular price” of the cable TV service, I called the company and they were very unapologetic about the price hike and basically just said that’s the deal. But when I called to cancel a few days later they forwarded my call to a “customer retention agent” who was full of deals and offered plenty of suggestions that my streaming service was actually going to cost me more than sticking around. I had to say “no,” “no,” “no” several times before I finally got what I wanted and moved on, and by that time I didn’t care if I wasn’t going to save any money, I just didn’t want to do business with them anymore. 

It was just another in a long line of examples where some company I am doing business with frustrated me no end and left a sour taste.  

Every person I know has had an experience like this, and there are many other universal “customer service” nightmares. Like phone companies, credit card companies and especially insurance companies where they put your phone call on hold for 20 minutes, then the call just ends. So, you try again only to be sent to “please hold” purgatory once more and disconnected a second time. Or third.  

We have all also had the experience that in the sales part of the relationship the company people at the other end of the call are very attentive, answer the phones quickly, and take care of the income side of the equation in a timely, friendly manner. After that, once you’re a customer, is where the obfuscation and delays take place. The sales departments are well staffed; the customer service departments – non-revenue generating areas – are not.     

Why do we consumers put up with this? We know, or at least suspect, that they do this on purpose. There is some algorithm somewhere that shows that a high percentage of frustrated people simply give up and drop their inquiries at a certain time in the experience, so the companies can avoid paying claims or even hearing the complaints. We just go away, and they count on that. Customer frustration is good for business.   

Of course, the Federal Trade Commission, many state agencies , the Consumer Federation of America and BBBs hear consumer complaints and track them, and as you might suspect the usual suspects are credit card companies, telephone and mobile services, automobile dealers, internet companies, debt collectors, utilities, and, of course, insurance firms. And there are a growing number of consumer advocacy platforms – Yelp!, Pissed, et al – that take, post and track consumer reviews, both good and bad, but I know from experience that many of these “reviews,” at least the good ones, are prepared by the offending companies themselves and planted to minimize the negative or at least balance the bad. Like everything else in our internet world, you can find any answer you want online running the gamut from sincere to fake to crazy.   

And yet, in a world where the foibles of every consumer-facing company are subject to scrutiny and even attack, the seeming policy of deliberate frustration persists. To be fair, there are many companies that take complaints seriously and try to rectify them, and also use them to create better, more responsive policies. Unfortunately, there are also many companies, and sadly many business categories, that simply ignore complaints and, as many of us suspect, build the complaint dynamic into their business models. As I said, consumer frustration is often good for business.   

I got to thinking about this lately because I spent some time with my millennial relatives who live on their phones – they order everything and rate every experience. These reviews often, apparently, play a factor in bonus compensation and even termination with the customer service agents involved. However, there is a customer reluctance to go negative for fear of service retaliation.  

Once again, frustration is good for business.   

Which is frustrating.

Rundlesunleadedphoto Jeff Rundles is a former editor of ColoradoBiz and a regular columnist. Read this and Rundles’ blog, Executive Wheels, at or email him at [email protected].