Artificial intelligence could easily become “word of the year” in 2023. It’s simply everywhere, and it affects all spheres of life and business. One of the spheres that is impacted the most is definitely customer service: many companies want to be at the forefront of technological advances and introduce AI to their customer communication. And if done right, it can be a true game-changer both for businesses and their customers.
However, there are many questions that need answers: what particular benefits can AI bring to customer support? What tools are available and what can they do for your business? Is human customer support dead?
This guide provides the answers and all the necessary information regarding artificial intelligence for customer support. Read on to find out.
How AI can improve customer support
Let’s start from the most exciting part: the benefits. There are so many talks about what AI can do for customer service that it’s easy to get lost in all of them. Below we will try to help connect the dots and list the most impactful things AI can do for your customer service.
- AI can drastically cut your support costs
Starting with probably the most important factor for many companies: AI can indeed help you save money you spend on customer support. The truth is, employing numerous support agents is immensely costlier compared to implementing an AI customer service tool. So, AI solutions not only generate substantial revenue for your business but also result in considerable savings. In fact, in 2022, the total cost savings from deploying AI chatbots reached around $11 billion.
Usually, you don't need to spend a lot of money upfront to add AI to your website. Many AI tools have free versions to try out, let you choose only the features you need, and come with ready-made conversation setups. This means you spend much less on customer support and can accomplish more.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that you suddenly don’t need human support agents. On the contrary, it can help increase the efficiency of your support team without underlying costs. Speaking of efficiency, read more about it in the next point.
- AI greatly improves the efficiency of your support team
Customer service powered by artificial intelligence keeps getting better. There are lots of incredibly smart tools, and many of these AI systems can learn from every interaction they have with customers.
In fact, artificial intelligence software can become a true virtual shopping buddy, working alongside human support agents to make sure customers are happy with their shopping experience. By combining the intelligence and soft skills of humans with AI's efficiency and ability to learn, customer support gets better. This means things are more organized, and customers don't have to wait as long for help, which makes their shopping experience much better. It improves your overall business workflow and enhances customer satisfaction, which, ultimately, brings you extra revenue.
- AI in customer support is available all the time and everywhere
Your support team, no matter how good they are, are not superhumans. They need breaks and time to learn new things. That's where artificial intelligence can be really helpful.
AI tools for customer service work 24/7, all the time, everywhere. They can also speak many languages, which is great for companies that work internationally or are growing. You won't have to worry about language problems with your customers anymore because the AI tools can handle it.
This is also fantastic news for your customers. They can get help quickly and efficiently, no matter when, where, or how urgently they need it. According to recent statistics, about 53% of respondents find waiting too long for replies the most frustrating part of interacting with businesses.This will not happen with chatbots: speedy assistance and efficiency, combined with the skills of your human support team, can make your website visitors become loyal customers.
- AI tools for customer support collect data and give you useful insights
The capacity of AI to accumulate and analyze data is impressive. AI-driven customer support tools have streamlined the process of gathering substantial data, enabling insights into customer behavioral patterns, creation of a comprehensive customer profile, and the pursuit of hyper-personalization. Additionally, integrating product information management (PIM) systems can further enhance the efficiency of AI tools, ensuring accurate and consistent product information is available across all customer interaction points, thereby improving the overall customer experience.
In the past, businesses had to manually input data for AI to function effectively. Although this enhanced data analysis efficiency, it was a time-consuming and monotonous task. In contrast, modern AI customer service tools are autonomous in their ability to learn from customer interactions. They proficiently scrutinize customer data and patterns, and then utilize these insights to enhance their interactions with clients.
Of course, there are more benefits to using AI in customer service, but these fundamental ones should already be convincing.
Let’s now move on to chatbots and virtual assistants - one of the most common and efficient ways to enrich customer service and AI.
What are chatbots and virtual assistants?
Essentially, chatbots and AI-powered virtual assistants are tools designed to recognize common speech patterns and triggers in order to provide a helpful and relevant response based on the datasets they are fed. And they are doing so better and better: gone are the days of chatbots offering a frustrating experience - now, you might not even realize you are talking to a robot.
How is that so?
Modern-day AI chatbots use natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning to continuously improve their interactions with customers, provide exceptional customer support, and assist website visitors round-the-clock. It feels like entering a physical store and being guided by a helpful assistant, but fully online.
Not all chatbots work the same: some are activated in one-click, some offer ready-made templates, and some need you to design conversational flows yourself. AI customer support chatbots are based on large language models (LLMs), which allows them to be autonomous and learn from their own conversations with customers in real time.
Such bots might sound like quite complicated tools. Well, they are, but usually, it doesn’t mean they are hard to set up. Many chatbots don’t require any coding skills and can be activated in a matter of seconds. You just need to choose the chatbot provider, design some conversation flows and/or upload your knowledge bases, activate the tool, and pre-test it. What’s left is just collecting customer feedback, analyzing the performance of the tool, and enjoying your AI-powered customer support.
However, with so many tools on the market, it might be quite hard to choose your perfect AI chatbot. Companies have different needs, and bots have different functionalities.
We’ve got you covered. Read further for our overview of some of the tools worthy of your attention.
Top AI chatbots for customer support
How do you know if the tool is a good option? Of course, trying it out is the best way, but before that, a detailed overview will do. Below we compare some of the most interesting tools on the market, highlighting their functionality, pricing options, and key pros and cons.
Lyro by Tidio
Lyro is an AI-powered conversational chatbot by Tidio. It’s quite unique as it’s the first bot of its kind and with such functionality created with small and medium businesses in mind. Of course, large enterprises can also use it, but it’s still affordable even to 1-person businesses.
Lyro’s key features include One click activation, FAQ scraping, Intent analysis, Scalable learning, and Identification of popular topics. It’s a fully autonomous chatbot that learns from each customer interaction. It’s also quite safe for customer data: Lyro is powered by Claude - the most secure large language model on the market. It ensures Lyro doesn’t suffer from ‘AI hallucinations’ and remains a safe and ethical tool.
- Everyone who is looking to automate customer service with AI.
- Scalable and self-learning solution with cool AI features
- Affordable for micro-businesses
- Safe and secure for business and customer data
- Your website should have detailed FAQs so Lyro can instantly scrape them
- Freemium version available with 50 conversations included
- Customized pricing options available starting from $349 monthly
Ada is an AI chatbot specifically crafted for proactive customer assistance. Its primary function is to assist customer support representatives in delivering tailored support on a big scale, reducing wait times and catering to clients in more than 100 languages via a translation interface.
Ada boasts plenty of valuable integrations, offers easy installation and setup, and is simple and straightforward to use.
- Companies struggling to cater for an influx of support requests while still willing to prioritize personalization
- Communication in 100 languages
- The interface is simple and user-friendly
- Personalization on a larger scale
- Poor reporting
- Customizable pricing plans according to individual business needs
Drift chatbots can be a valuable tool for B2B enterprises, initiating dialogues with fellow businesses and addressing their inquiries. These automated bots offer a customized user journey and smooth interaction with prospective buyers.
In addition, Drift enables the collection of customer data, enhancing insights into their behavior and facilitating more effective business-client connections. Drift chatbots also have the capability to schedule appointments with potential customers, making access to key decision-makers easier.
- Those in need of scheduling options
- Plenty of integrations
- Quality customer support
- Meeting scheduling feature
- Complicated reporting features
- Low quality of videos sent through the tool
- Freemium plan available
- Premium starts from $2,500 per month
- Customizable pricing for Advanced and Enterprise plans
Netomi's AI chatbot excels at voice search. It's really good at understanding what customers say and can help with questions through chat, voice, email, and social media.
This chatbot can talk in over 100 languages and works with 150+ different platforms. It's great at having a natural conversation, even when customers are not very clear in their questions. The chatbot keeps asking for more details and helps customers find solutions to their problems.
- Those looking for great voice search options
- Optimized for both text and voice communication
- Plenty of languages supported
- 150+ integrations
- The bot can be quite slow in its interactions
- No free trial available
- Customizable pricing options
Kommunicate is a platform that blends human and AI chatbot functionalities to offer small and growing businesses immediate, proactive, and customized assistance.
Kommunicate's goal is to deliver speedy, cost-effective, and easily expandable support. By combining the strengths of both human agents and bots, Kommunicate provides a customer support solution that is proactive, real-time, and personalized to cater to individual requirements.
- Businesses that want to use both AI and human support capabilities
- 24/7 customer support
- Unlimited customization options for branding and UI/UX
- Not many integration options
- Free trial available
- Lite version starts at $100 monthly
- Customized pricing for paid plans
As you can see, the options are quite abundant. It’s very important to choose the best tool for your business that will cater to your and your customers’ needs. So, carefully evaluate what features, pricing, and integrations are necessary for your business.
You probably still have some questions hanging. Let’s move to the FAQ section to answer them.
AI customer support FAQs
Integrating AI into your customer service can seem a bit stressful, like all new things. However, if you know the basics, you are already equipped to change your customer support for the better. Let’s tackle the rest of the most burning questions.
What companies use chatbots?
All leading brands do. Most top brands are adopting AI to scale their customer communication, improve support flows, and improve customer experience. Some notable examples of big brands using chatbots include Domino’s, Sephora, Uber, H&M, and more.
Will AI replace customer support workers?
Not really. While AI allows incredible speed, efficiency, and precision of customer service, it can be achieved best only in combination with human support agents. It’s really a win-win situation: while AI can take care of all basic support requests, FAQs, and welcoming new customers, human agents can focus on more complicated cases that require human attention, empathy, and soft skills. This will allow them to develop and grow as professionals while maintaining a high quality of support.
Is AI for customer support expensive?
It really varies. However, there are typically options available for every budget. In addition, there are AI tools that come with free trials and freemium versions so one can play around before making a purchase.
Generally, you have a lot of flexibility to tailor your spending on customer service AI to align with your business requirements.
Are there risks of using AI for customer support?
The potential risks associated with AI depend on different factors unique to your business, the purpose of AI usage, your customer base, and more. Common concerns often center around privacy issues, maintenance, and the limitations of the tools.
It's worth noting that AI technology is continually advancing, and these risks are gradually diminishing. In addition, if you want some extra protection, you can look into the tools that boost AI safety and security.
As you can see, Ai is definitely the future of customer support. Chatbots and virtual assistants in particular are continuously redefining the industry, bringing immense capabilities that were unheard of even a couple years ago.
AI for customer support is not just a buzzword but a must-have. If you don’t already integrate chatbots into your customer service, consider doing it: in the end, it’s becoming a golden standard for all businesses that care about their clients.
- What to pledge
- How to improve
- Which tools will set you up for success
I think the most important thing brands can do in 2023 is to better manage their customer data—both ethically and effectively. There’s an opportunity for brands to know their customers better than ever before—a clear benefit for both the customer and the brand. When you manage your data correctly, you’ll create stronger and more personalized ads, creative, site experiences, and so much more.
This is a classic: Let the data guide you. Go where the buyers for your products are and communicate with them on a personal level (i.e. by persona and funnel position) and nurture those relationships (past, present, and future customers). It’s possible—all through data.
We recommend that Shopify brands analyze and update their websites using data-driven decisions. Using analytics tools such as heatmaps and scrollmaps can help brands better understand how customers are interacting with their store.
Store owners tend to make assumptions about the way customers interact with their website. Most never go back and analyze their design choices to find pain points or areas of opportunity. By using heatmaps and scrollmaps, they can see where real customers are clicking and concentrating their attention. Leveraging this data, brands can start to iterate on design and make their online store experience streamlined and intuitive.
Hotjar provides a simple way to implement heatmaps, scrollmaps, and recorded user sessions on your site, helping you acquire incredibly informative user data. Additionally, it gives you the ability to create on-site surveys, which allows you to obtain direct and often critical feedback from users about their experience.
Test various attribution models and analyze the impact on your business. At Fifty Six, we are always here to help our clients identify and optimize their approach—a critical step in any successful marketing strategy.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times–Customer Lifetime Value. And even more importantly, Future Lifetime Value (FLTV). With the ever-growing importance of first-party data, it is crucial that brands take a good look at their CRM and FLTV metrics.
Stop allocating budgets to low-hanging fruit that doesn’t move the needle on conversion. Think about what’s really going to improve your CX and the return of undertaking different initiatives—not just on what’s top on your list of bugbears on the site!
One of the best ways to understand your customer behavior is by using HotJar. Their heat-mapping and screen recording tools shine a light on where customers are navigating to and from on your site, where they're rage clicking and experiencing frustration, and where conversion is dropping off within real life customer journeys and flows!
Understanding your customers’ pain points via data and analytics , will allow you to work with your CRO/CX Agency to solve customer frustrations and improve conversion.
Rewind backs up all product, customer, and order data for Shopify sites—essential since Shopify itself doesn’t provide this solution. It's saved so many of our clients time and money from administrative accidents.
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33% of customer service inquiries are pre-sale questions. What does this mean? If you’re not investing in customer service, you’re missing out on revenue-generating opportunities.
The benefits of elevating your customer experience:
- 10% to 25% increase in AOV for customers who engage with live chat pre-purchase
- 21x higher conversion rate for customers who reach out via Live Chat or SMS compared to other site visitors
- 87% of customers who have a great customer experience will make another purchase
- 72% of customers share positive experiences with 6 or more individuals
Gorgias is our favorite Helpdesk platform. They can reduce costs by 35%, primarily by decreasing the average ticket handle time. Their machine learning algorithms are trained on millions of ecommerce-related interactions across Gorgias’ customer base and provide accurate, automated replies for the most common ecommerce inquiries. This helps our agents resolve tickets faster, which provides the customer a seamless experience.
Trust your agency! Agencies do the same things across multiple brands and niches, so we see the trends and have the practice and experience!
Don't be afraid of data and insights. If customers aren't clicking on your emails, try a new CTA. If your ads are driving good metrics at a small spend, start scaling. If your customers are complaining about a product, look into QA! If the data tells you something isn't working, let it go and try something else!
I'm supposed to say Tydo, right? 😉
Double down on differentiation. There will be a lot of headwinds this year and standing out from the crowd will set you apart.
A picture is worth 1,000 words. A video? Probably millions. In ecommerce that value translates into engagement, acquisition, and retention—everything you need to impact your bottom line.
At soona, we've seen the we've seen the impact of creative and the continuous split testing of it yield results. Our resolution is to challenge ourselves and double down on innovation and creative optionality so that each brand we work with can distinguish themselves in a crowded sea of D2C ecomm. We'd love to see our brands share this resolution and keep pushing the creative limits.
Klaviyo. We're using it to power our email and newsletter at soona too!
Optimize your returns strategy! This can lead to valuable customer insights, enhanced user experiences, and increased revenue and customer loyalty.
Brands need to dive deeper into understanding their customers to set themselves up for success. Conduct research to gain insights into customer needs, preferences, and behaviors. By doing so, you can develop targeted strategies that will enhance customer experience and boost overall retention.
Right now I would say Gorgias. Having a good customer service tool is crucial to building strong customer relationships.
Start paying heavy attention to data, specifically around retention. We see a lot of effort put towards acquisition with the assumption that once someone buys, they are your customer forever. Instead, get to know your customer, understand their needs, and analyze their behaviors once they are on-site and judge their sentiment after they have visited. Work with a retention focused and data-driven agency to implement tools that contribute to repeat business and customer delight. It will pay dividends.
When surveyed, about 80% of ecommerce merchants think that they are delivering a great experience to their customers. However, when the same customers are surveyed, only 8% of those customers think that they are getting a great experience from the merchant. Now, more than ever, retaining loyal customers is an essential part of any online business and you should spend time with your customers to judge their experience with your website and products and offer improvements based on that feedback.
Tydo's report cards are an essential tool, along with Klaviyo for email and SMS, Recharge for subscriptions and memberships, Okendo for reviews and surveys, Rebuy for AI driven collections and upsells, Loop for self service returns... each tool is great on their own, but their strength as the ultimate tool comes from when they are used together!
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