By Ivan Moore, Apps Associates
The conversation around AI has seemingly inched its way into every sector. It is no longer only a concern for high-tech businesses; with the launch of free AI tools like Chat GPT, the power of AI is now available to businesses of all sizes in all industries. But just because you have access to artificial intelligence or automation capabilities, does not mean you are using them efficiently or effectively. In this post, I'll outline some ways we can use AI in field service to make a real impact on our employees, customers, and business.
Practical Uses Of AI In Field Service
Early examples of AI have been prevalent in the field service industry for some time now. For example, many advanced companies use automation for scheduling. With new advancements in intelligence, including chat, there are even more opportunities to use AI in field service. We have seen lots of time-saving initiatives implemented and solved via AI, like call routing, scheduling, and best route planning. But, how about the customer experience? We know that customer experience is paramount to business success and retaining repeat business.
We can use AI to increase customer satisfaction with their support requests. We do this by harnessing the power of bots and AI to gather information and research quickly and seamlessly, so the agents on the phone with the customer do not need to spend time tracking it down. An agent on the phone or chatting with a customer can utilize an interconnected AI tool that can access and transmit data from all their business systems, arming the agent with the most up-to-date, accurate information about this client. In this scenario, the partnership of human capital and AI helps the agent correctly solve the customers’ issue the first time, leaving the customer delighted and eager to do business with you again.
What AI Should Not Do
Seeing how fast and efficient a tool like Chat GPT is can really get your gears turning. It’s easy to let your imagination roam and picture a day when bots completely run your service center. This is anything but the ideal scenario. Yes, bot and chat technology are advancing at a rapid pace. But human capital and decision making will not be replaced any time soon. Many customers still prefer one-on-one assistance, and get frustrated when a bot is their only option.
Remember, keeping the customer experience as our top priority is how we maintain excellence in the field. Offer solutions that are mutually beneficial to your business and your customers.
Using AI Responsibly
It is important to understand the power of AI and what role we as technologists play in its advancement. As I've mentioned above, it is an incredibly powerful tool that has many practical applications. That said, the output is only as good as the input. When we use bots to help manage our customer service interactions, we must take the time to build out a strong foundation to arm the bot with as much information as possible. If the data model the bots are relying on to answer customers’ questions becomes outdated or inaccurate, the bot will be passing on that information to customers at an accelerated rate, creating the possibility of major headaches for your workforce down the line.
We have to build integrity and trust in these engines so that customers feel comfortable using them. A strong data and process model helps build the foundation, and that means ensuring that your general data structure and process are sound. Ensure that your tech stack is set up for success by evaluating all the locations where important data lives (customer demographic info, sales info, financials, etc.) and how that information is shared across your organization. You might consider evaluating your middleware platform to ensure you are moving data most efficiently.
Ai is not going anywhere; if anything, its influence, and contribution will increase rapidly in the coming months. Take the time now to evaluate how this might fit into your business model. You can start by identifying some ‘quick wins’ that could benefit from automation or bot integration. From there, think about how you’ll arm your workforce with the data they need to make an impact on your customers.
About The Author
Ivan Moore is Practice Director of Apps Associates, a premier enterprise application advisory services leader with a customer-first focus. For more than two decades decision makers have turned to Apps Associates for end-to-end strategic counsel, system integration, and the services required to solve their most complex business and digital transformation challenges — applying expansive expertise in data and analytics, application modernization, automation, digital systems, operations, and change management.