Building An AI-Powered Customer Service Strategy — 4 Tips to Start

Gladly Team

Read Time

8 minute read

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most discussed topics in customer service today, and for good reason. Executives, IT professionals, and CX leaders across the globe are fast-attempting to incorporate the technology into their systems and be a part of the revolution estimated to raise global GDP by as much as 7%.

The allure of AI-powered customer service and its potential game-changing technology for enterprises, however, can’t distract from the importance of having a solid implementation plan in place. Before you embark on purchasing an AI solution, here are a few things to consider to ensure you get the best return on your investment possible.

1. Start With a Plan for AI-Powered Customer Service

When technology promises to reduce costs and improve efficiency, there’s a temptation to rush straight into implementation. But without a clear strategy for incorporating AI in your customer service, you could end up with small, disjointed successes that don’t do justice to your investment.

As you put together your implementation plan, consider your five- to 10-year business goals. How can you incorporate the building blocks of AI-powered customer service to support those initiatives today?

Gladly Pro Tip

As you consider a strategy for implementation, also consider the timeframe and when it’s best suitable to bring a new technology into your infrastructure. It's important to understand the signs that your business is ready for AI so you can onboard the technology at an opportune time for your organization.

2. Prioritize “Good” Data Collection to Power Your AI Customer Service

The hardest part of using AI isn’t writing the algorithms — it’s creating the datasets that train those algorithms. Not only does data need to be accurate, but it also needs to be representative of the problems it’s being used to solve. To ensure your inputted data is serving your AI and your company best, you should:

  • Start early and go long — Collect data for your customer service AI as early as possible, and continue doing it over an extended period of time to account for seasonal changes, temporal anomalies, and as wide a range of customer experiences as possible to ensure your data is truly representative.
  • Leverage domain experts — Accumulating data sets manually is not often feasible — just imagine one person trying to read and annotate 100,000 emails for AI tools to ingest. Instead, take advantage of domain experts to help get as much of the most accurate data as possible, as quickly as possible.
  • Break down data silos for AI-powered customer service — With today’s customers communicating on multiple channels, it’s essential to gather all cross-channel data to get an accurate picture of the full path the customer took, the number of touchpoints needed to resolve an issue, the total time to resolution, and the customer’s overall satisfaction. Your customer service platform should be able to unite all your channels into a singular data infrastructure so that AI can make holistic recommendations to agents.
  • Gladly Pro Tip

    At Gladly, our Hero AI leverages both documented knowledge as well as insights from every agent interaction in our platform. Built on our cross-functional CX infrastructure that removes the friction of siloed channels, we ensure the best and most comprehensive data goes into the machine-learning decision-making that helps agents act and react quickly without a break in the customer experience.

    3. Put Yourself in the Shoes of the User and Measure Their Experience

    AI-powered customer service only works if it’s delivering the white-glove experiences modern shoppers have come to expect. As you plan to implement new technology into your process, be sure to have clear metrics and a follow-up plan to ensure that your AI solutions are improving a user’s experience.

    Beyond focusing on easily quantifiable measurements, like response times and first contact resolution, also keep tabs on other important metrics, such as churn and CSAT. These more nuanced metrics will help you get an understanding of whether your AI is achieving its purpose of making your customer experience better.

    Gladly Pro Tip

    Don’t play guessing games with your customers’ preferences — check out this template for a CSAT survey and get direct feedback on the success or opportunity areas of your AI-powered service to make sure you’re delivering the personalized experiences shoppers crave.

    4. Create Clear Guardrails for AI Customer Service

    After a string of high-publicity missteps in AI implementation and usage, companies should have an obvious directive to put clear and consistent guardrails up around their customer service AI technology. Since AI-powered customer service is not explicitly programmed to conduct specific tasks (rather, using machine learning to improve systems and agents’ lives), it places the onus on CX leaders to regulate the internal use of the technology and prevent any unwanted surprises that could be costly for your brand.

    As a general rule of thumb, you should establish reasonable constraints on what your customer service AI can do automatically while also designating thresholds for when human intervention is necessary. For example, more sensitive issues, like customers discussing a loss in the family, should immediately route to a live service agent.

    Gladly Pro Tip

    With Hero AI from Gladly, your system will only leverage the pool of knowledge that you allocate toward it — ensuring that no information is improperly used or drawn upon. For a better understanding of the best practices with AI, consider these key uses of AI to improve customer experience that promote ethical use of the technology for all occasions.

    Making Sure You’re Ready for AI

    As you inch closer toward the possibility of AI implementation, take a final inventory to assess whether you’re ready with this handy list, and see if now’s the right time to begin your AI journey.

    • I have a plan for implementing AI into my customer service platform.
    • I have long-term goals established for my AI-powered customer service.
    • I’ve established the data set that will feed my AI.
    • I’ve removed siloes so my AI-powered customer service can easily access the necessary data points and serve the best possible recommendations.
    • I’ve established a plan for measuring performance with key internal and external measurements.
    • I’ve established clear guardrails about the best practices for when and when not to rely on AI for customer service situations.

    With astounding breakthroughs in AI-powered customer service, the world of CX has made remarkable advances to accelerate problem-solving and empower agents to deliver better, high-quality service at every turn. The power of AI is revolutionizing brands’ abilities to identify, process, and improve their customer experience — and with careful and strategic implementation, companies can maintain their competitive edge using this impactful technology.


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