In the rapidly evolving landscape of e-commerce technology, AI customer service is often viewed as a silver bullet that’s free (and maybe even easy to implement). But that’s NOT the case.
Implementing AI isn't just a simple matter of replacing humans and cutting costs. Yes, you should use AI. And yes, you will save money. But the path to success and the economics of how it works is nuanced.
In this blog post, we'll share the costs involved in implementing AI in customer service along with specifically how to gauge ROI. At HelpFlow, we have helped over 100 brands harness the power of AI effectively in their customer service operations. You can use this post to better understand how to do the same in your business.
Let’s get into it!
First, let’s dive into the costs associated with bringing AI into your customer service infrastructure. Software is not free, and neither is AI software. You will learn that quickly when implementing AI, but here’s the basics:
This model of building on top of OpenAI and marking up the API costs can sometimes start to feel like old-school outsourcing agencies that hire junior agents and then charge a huge markup on top of that to staff them on your account - it’s not a great model for everyone (except maybe the outsourcing agency for the short time you are paying them).
At HelpFlow, we think the market will eventually consolidate into the HelpDesk having AI capabilities, the AI software providers being the AI engine that runs it, and the brand ultimately paying OpenAI directly via a “bring your own API key” model. But the world isn’t there yet - for now, just make sure you know how to follow the money so you aren’t paying more than you should be.
Apart from the SaaS software costs and API processing costs, there are human costs to implementing AI effectively. Brands that are new to the AI game think that AI software can replace a big chunk of their Agent team, but that’s not the case.
The model that works is to use AI customer service software that integrates deeply with your HelpDesk, and then have a methodical process to initial training and ongoing tuning of the AI. This training and tuning process is driven by a mix of AI and humans.
Here’s how it works:
The AI customer service SaaS companies in the market today ALL have the same problem. Someone needs to train and manage the AI but the brands coming to them don’t realize that. This leads to the SaaS company needing to have a services arm, or the brand needing to manage their own QA process. Both of these are abnormal for each of these business models.
At HelpFlow, we work with brands and AI software providers to implement AI effectively. We essentially become the technical and human expertise that brings all of this together to produce a highly efficient CX operation for brands.
Once you have implemented AI effectively and have a strong AI and human-assisted management process, you will see extremely strong ROI results.
Do you see what just happened there? By laying in AI, even at a higher cost than you anticipated, you can massive increase metrics of performance in customer service AND increase the enterprise value of the business. This is how the AI game is played at the highest levels.
At HelpFlow, we've been the driving force behind integrating AI into the customer service processes of over 100 e-commerce brands. Hopefully, this post shows you a bit of that experience, and how we can guide you through the process in this brave new world of AI.
Are you focused on implementing AI in your customer service operation? Let us help. Book a Free Audit Call with us.
We'll review your current customer service setup and provide a comprehensive roadmap for AI integration. Whether or not you choose to partner with us, this audit will offer invaluable insights into how AI can revolutionize your customer service.