Holiday season is here and this time, I’m actually looking forward to celebrating it with family. Warm drinks, jolly spirits and some time away from the office makes it special. However, the times before, during and after holidays also mean that we have to deal with more customer questions and requests, which can be overwhelming for the agents who stay behind and of course, for us, the higher ups.
Our company has been growing, and last year, after a huge volume of requests the Head of Customer Service advised on getting some extra help and presented the idea of artificial intelligence. With her help and recommendations, I decided to hire some artificial intelligence for assistance. We have tried it before with small holidays, but this is going to be our first big holiday, and most of us are leaving the office to spend time with our families, so the AI will be handling the requests alone.
On the last day of working at the office, we said our goodbyes, wished happy holidays, Happy New Year and left the AI robot in the office working, alone.
It was the first time in a few years I was able to get home to my wife and kids without worrying about the next day nor setting the alarm clock to get to the office. I could just get home, kiss my wife, tuck my kids in bed and hope for a delicious late breakfast and resting days. It had been a long time since I had time for that because I became the general manager.
I was able to enjoy three days without any type of worry or concern, and the office really seemed like a distant memory of work. This, unfortunately, didn’t last much longer because I got nagged by my wife about the kid running around in the kitchen with no adult watching closely. At the end of her lecture she said “you shouldn’t leave a child without supervision”, and for some reason this resonated with me, but not in the way she was hoping for. That night we went to sleep and I had a horrible nightmare.
It all started out-of-nowhere, I was looking down the office, as if I were watching everything from the security cameras. At first, everything was normal: just an empty office, clean hallways, vacant cubicles and then it focused on the robot. The robot was doing just fine at the beginning, answering automatically a couple of requests that were easy to handle, just like in the demo. But then the robot started behaving more erratically, the questions were easy but it couldn’t handle them, why?
I noticed the questions were about the most recent company policies and sales for the holidays. I started sweating, did I make sure to feed that information to the robot before leaving the office? Did anyone make sure? And as the requests were coming, the robot grew more and more frustrated and the backlog just grew bigger. I tried from my view to do something, but it was useless, I was only an observer, I could only watch. Is someone monitoring the progress from home? Can someone do something?
The robot started overheating. It had so many unsolved requests and didn’t know what to do that its system went into emergency mode and the alarm started going off, but nobody was there to update the information, nor to let the system cool off. And then it happened: a short circuit sparked a little fire and the office started burning fast. I could see the Christmas decorations melting and exploding but there was nothing I could do, even the security camera lens broke because of the fire.
I woke up in my bed, covered in sweat, breathing fast and with a horrible feeling at the pit of my stomach. The thought about the most recent updates was lingering in my head, but realized, that just as in the dream I couldn’t check whether the robot had the correct information or not, I didn’t even know if it was possible to do so from home. I stood up quickly from bed, determined to go to the office at that instant, until my half-asleep wife, asked me what I was doing. I explained to her the best I could the situation as I was trying to find clean clothes to change into. She chuckled and just suggested I call the Head of Customer Service first thing in the morning, then she rolled over and started snoring again. I made a full stop to what I was doing. My wife was right, if someone knew about the new system was the Head of Customer Service. I couldn’t really go back to sleep, but at least I was not running to the office.
The morning came, and I was able to get in contact with theHead of Customer Service. She was surprised that I had called, so early, and in the middle of holidays. I asked her some questions about the system we hired, and she pointed out that she had chosen this system because of the easy to used knowledge base, as well as the option it gave to contact a human agent, in case the robot couldn’t handle the request. She also gave me the log-in information I needed to check and update the robot’s knowledge base, and best of all, I could manage the situation from home, remotely.
I was able to have my breakfast at home, and update the information about our holiday policies and sales from the comfort of my own couch. I do have to admit that the head of customer service supervised that first attempt I did, but afterwards I was able to handle the system really fast. Truth be told, I might have blown my nightmare out of proportion, as back in the office everything was fine and there was no chaos caused by missing information: there was no building burning down, I just needed to add the latest updates.
Later that day, after making sure everything was running smoothly, I was able to finally enjoy the Christmas holidays. My wife was also grateful I was paying closer attention to our children.
That night I also dreamt about the office. However, it was lightly illuminated by the fairy lights some employees hung in their cubicles, but it was not a dark scene, more like a cozy and calm one. In the dim light you could notice some movement, and there were tiny helpers, with Santa hats and peppermint screws running around solving requests while humming Rudolf the Red-Nose Reindeer.
One of the great things about holidays is that they are meant to be special, not only for family and friends but also for companies. Most of the companies have a change of policies, new sales and even events promoting the holiday season and encouraging their customers to come around.
This can be a great opportunity to shine with a great customer service, attracting new customers and strengthening customer loyalty. An AI-based system can be really efficient in doing just that: handling and answering a large volume of customers’ inquiries automatically. However, keeping track of all the new information might be hard, and it is really important to be on top of it when it comes to satisfying customer support, as not knowing the most recent information can lead to misinformation and therefore, losing valuable customers.
Hiring an AI-based software is just part of the solution for handling the high volume of requests. The other important part is choosing the right solution, and this must be one even before hiring. You should have a user-friendly and ready to go software at hand, but the solution must also have a way to update the information and have it available in all communication channels right away.
The OMQ software itself can understand questions sent by the customer and answers them accurately with the information it has in the knowledge base. This means that making sure it has the appropriate and up-to-date information is essential. OMQ system’s core element, its knowledge base, is easy to set up without any previous training, even from home.
Information entered into the central knowledge base is automatically learnt and distributed it to all the communication channels. It does not matter whether the customer made the inquiry through the help page, by mail, in the contact form or in the chat, he will get the same answer everywhere. The question will be analysed by the system, as our AI understands intention: no matter how customers phrase their question, they will be able to get the right matching answer. More information about the applications of AI in customer service is available here.
Our OMQ system is here to support you and your team in the holidays too, even if you are out of the office, you have full control over its knowledge base. We support different communication channels such as websites, ticket systems, contact forms, e-mail inbox and Chatbot, each with its specialized products.
If you want to know more about them or request a demo, you can contact us.
Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year from our team to your team. :)