Can AI Bring Customer Service Into the 21st Century? Thankful Thinks So

Why is it that customer service never seems to get any innovation attention? For decades, providing great customer service has been a constant challenge and expense, yet relatively few technologies exist to ease the difficulty or cost. Sales and marketing see new software arrive every year, yet customer support has scarcely changed in the last half-century, save for better issue-tracking tools.

Technology has brought an expectation of immediacy from the consumer — an expectation impossible to fulfill in customer service. According to LivePerson, 34 percent of consumers wouldn’t rate a customer experience as excellent if it took the company more than a minute to respond. The average customer service response times? Almost three minutes for chat and 17 hours for email. SuperOffice reports that one in five companies fail to regularly respond to chat requests entirely.

Over a decade ago, chatbots promised to solve these problems with 24/7 support. But, as we can see from the dearth of chatbot deployments in the industry, that promise hasn’t been fulfilled. Theories as to why vary, but most agree that chatbot interactions are unintelligent, frustrating, and obviously not human; at the end of the day, they didn’t resolve the customer’s need.