Using AI to tackle predictable and unpredictable seasonal effects in customer service

avoiding losses during a crisis

Customer service employees often receive the same standard questions from customers. The information they have to provide usually deals with problems or requests for extra information regarding the usual dealings of the company. Yet, no business operates in a bubble, completely cut off from the rest of the world.

Enterprises are embedded in the wider scheme of things. Not only are they connected to a great variety of other companies in the context of their own economical operations, but they can also be greatly affected by an infinite number of global variables that can't always be foreseen. The more predictable international or local events that influence the kind of questions customers ask, but also those related to acute circumstances, are both examples of so-called seasonal effects.

Predictable seasonal effects

The first kind of seasonal effects can be easily anticipated. Recurring holidays, yearly events, changes in consumption patterns due to the actual meteorological seasons: most companies thoroughly plan ahead in function of these yearly milestones.

A good example, when it comes to customer service, is Black Friday. When running an online retailer or a logistics company specialized in B2C distribution of packages, you can be quite sure that there will be an increase in questions about delivery times. AI-aided customer service tools can easily be of assistance here. Not only can it filter out questions that can easily be answered without human interference, it can also provide custom-made templates in your CRM system, with specific answers that can be used during these periods.

Times of crisis

Unfortunately, a complex and globalized economy can suffer greatly from all kinds of small or greater catastrophes. A seemingly minor factor somewhere in the extended product chain can accumulate in a substantial customer service workload increase whenever customers are affected somehow. This sort of situation is often quite short-lived and manageable.

Unpredictable seasonal effects, on the contrary, usually hit a multitude of companies quite hard. The COVID crisis did so on a scale that was never before seen. Customers started asking related questions that rapidly became standard inquiries for customer services in nearly every business sector. FAQs concerning the coronavirus were set up on company web pages, but AI was able to do more. These new bits of information were easy to integrate into the existing knowledge base of an AI system, which again stopped customer service departments from being flooded with the same questions over and over again. With an AI template system like Orion, that offers template answers to emails, but also accurate pop-up boxes with answers whenever a certain recognizable question is typed into the contact form, companies got to focusing on surviving this crisis.

We can't always predict, but we can be foreseeing

Covid-19 or the energy crisis will not be the last trial that we will have to face. Today, we are on the verge of a geopolitical storm, which will have an impact on all of us. Fortunately, AI, combined with the experience gathered during the pandemic or energy crisis, will keep future-minded companies up and running. 

Artificial intelligence can't change the situation, but it can change business outcomes. Whenever a predictable seasonal event is waiting around the corner, it is able to facilitate the flexibility of customer services to deal with it.

In case of a more disruptive situation that requires an immediate response, automatization is also the quickest and most efficient way to do so. That way, employees can help out where they are most needed and customers do not experience unnecessary stress about everyday practicalities.

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