How ChatGPT Will Affect Customer Service

There’s been a lot of discussion and content written about ChatGPT artificial intelligence (AI) systems, and how they are being used by industries, workers, and everyday people. It reminds me of when search engines started to pop up on the internet (like Google, Yahoo, AOL) many years ago and you could get links and information about questions or subjects you wanted to know about. It was an exciting time and most people jumped on the bandwagon to find out more, while others predicted the dangers of search engines.

We are looking at a new frontier of technology that can greatly affect the way people do work, especially in the customer service industry. In this story we’ll explore what ChatGPT means for customer service by covering the following topics:

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an AI-powered language model developed by OpenAI. It is designed to generate human-like text responses in conversations. You can think of it as a chatbot that can engage in natural language conversations and provide relevant and contextually appropriate answers, explanations, suggestions, and more. If you haven’t checked it out, these AI tools are worth a look.

How ChatGPT helps with customer service

AI systems can enhance customer service efforts by providing quick and accurate responses. Its ability to understand and generate responses allows it to assist with customer concerns, provide information about products and services, assist with troubleshooting, and offer guidance on various issues. It is also a good option for customer self service as it operates around the clock, ensuring that customers receive timely support even outside of regular business hours.

Some ways AI systems may help improve customer service delivery include:

  1. Improved efficiency: AI can handle a high volume of customer inquiries simultaneously, reducing the need for human agents to handle repetitive or routine queries. This frees up customer service representatives to focus on more complex or specialized tasks.
  2. Faster response times: AI can provide immediate responses, eliminating the need for customers to wait in queues or for businesses to hire additional staff during peak times. This leads to faster issue resolution and a more positive customer experience.
  3. Consistency in service: AI delivers consistent service by adhering to predefined guidelines and protocols. It ensures that customers receive accurate and standardized information, reducing inconsistencies that may occur due to variations in human responses.
  4. Multilingual support: AI systems can be trained in multiple languages, enabling businesses to provide support in various languages without the need for language-specific customer service representatives. This expands the reach of customer service and enhances the customer experience for a diverse customer base.
  5. Augmented support for human agents: AI can assist human agents by providing suggested responses, relevant information, and guidance. This helps enhance agent productivity, reduces training time, and improves overall customer service quality.

How ChatGPT hinders customer service

As much as ChatGPT can help improve customer service there are other ways it can cause issues. Its responses may lack the nuanced understanding that human agents possess, leading to misinterpretations or incomplete answers to customer queries. Complex or emotionally sensitive issues may require empathy and personalized support that AI currently doesn’t provide.

Relying solely on AI systems could result in frustrated customers who feel their concerns are not adequately addressed. Over-reliance on automation might also hinder building genuine customer relationships and understanding unique needs.

AI systems may challenge customer service teams with delivery in the following areas:

  1. Lack of emotional intelligence: An AI system may lack the soft skills to fully understand and empathize with human emotions. In emotionally sensitive situations, customers may prefer interacting with a human agent who can provide empathy and personalized support.
  2. Misinterpretation of queries: ChatGPT may sometimes misinterpret or misunderstand customer queries, leading to inaccurate or irrelevant responses. This can result in frustration for customers who are seeking specific and accurate assistance.
  3. Inability to handle complex issues: While AI can handle basic and routine queries effectively, it may struggle to address complex or unique customer issues that require critical thinking, problem-solving, or in-depth knowledge. Human agents may be better suited to handle such situations.
  4. Lack of context awareness: AI does not have real-time contextual awareness of previous interactions or the customer's history with the business. This can result in repetitive or redundant responses, causing frustration for customers who expect personalized and contextually relevant support.
  5. Ethical considerations: AI systems are language models trained on large amounts of internet text, which means AI can potentially generate biased or inappropriate responses. Care must be taken to ensure that ChatGPT's outputs align with ethical standards and do not perpetuate harmful biases or misinformation.

ChatGPT best practices for customer service

Having balance with your customer service and any AI system is essential. Utilize ChatGPT or your AI tool  for routine inquiries and basic information, ensuring swift response times. However, for complex, emotionally charged, or personalized concerns, set up a seamless transition to human agents who can offer empathy, critical thinking, and customized solutions.

Regularly review ChatGPT's performance, updating its knowledge base and refining its responses based on customer feedback. This dynamic approach ensures efficiency and maintains the human touch necessary for building strong customer relationships and delivering exceptional service.

Best practices when managing your AI platform with your CX systems and processes include:

  1. Clearly communicate it as an AI tool: Make it clear to customers that they are interacting with an AI-powered chatbot. Set appropriate expectations by informing them that their inquiries are being handled by a language model. This transparency helps manage customer expectations and avoids potential frustrations.
  2. Provide a human fallback option: Include an option for customers to connect with a human agent trained in navigating challenging customer service issues if they prefer or if the chatbot is unable to address their needs. Offering this alternative ensures that customers receive personalized support when necessary.
  3. Train the chatbot extensively: Spend time training the chatbot with relevant and accurate information specific to your industry, products, and services. This will enable the chatbot to provide more accurate and helpful responses to customer inquiries.
  4. Continuously monitor and update: Regularly monitor the chatbot's performance and review customer feedback. Use this data to identify areas for improvement and update the chatbot's training to enhance its accuracy and effectiveness over time.
  5. Implement seamless escalation: If the chatbot is unable to handle a customer's query, ensure a smooth transition to a human agent without requiring the customer to repeat themselves. Implement an easy escalation process to avoid frustration and maintain a positive customer experience.

The future of AI and customer service

As businesses increasingly adopt AI-driven solutions, AI systems will handle a majority of routine inquiries, allowing human agents to focus on complex issues requiring creativity and emotional intelligence. This symbiotic partnership between AI and human agents may redefine customer service, offering seamless, around-the-clock support that is both efficient and human centered.

My predictions as to how AI will affect customer service delivery in the near future include:

  1. Hyper-personalized customer service: AI-powered systems will be able to analyze individual customer behavior, preferences, and history to deliver hyper-personalized customer experiences. This could include personalized product recommendations, targeted solutions, and customized communication.
  2. Real-time support: AI chatbots like ChatGPT will provide real-time customer support, reducing wait times and improving overall customer satisfaction. Customers will be able to get immediate responses to their queries at any time of the day.
  3. Predictive customer service: AI systems will have the capability to predict customer needs before they arise, based on patterns and trends in customer behavior data. This will allow businesses to proactively address issues, potentially solving problems before customers even realize they exist.
  4. Automated follow-ups: AI can automate follow-up communications based on previous customer interactions. This will ensure that customers feel valued and that their issues have been fully resolved.
  5. Emotion recognition: Future AI systems may be able to recognize human emotions through text and voice inputs, allowing them to adapt their responses accordingly. This could lead to more empathetic and effective customer service.

AI systems can enhance the customer experience

Ultimately, the goal of incorporating an AI system within customer service delivery should be to harmoniously blend AI capabilities with human expertise to create a seamless, efficient, and empathetic customer service experience. The use of AI doesn't eliminate the need for humans in customer service, but rather changes the nature of their role, allowing them to focus on more complex and nuanced customer interactions.

I am a customer experience and success strategist who helps businesses streamline, transform, or improve their customer experience programs, operations, workflow systems, and customer journeys. If you’d like some help with your cx program, send an inquiry through my Upwork profile and we can discuss the best options for your needs.

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This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the independent freelancer listed as the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
This article was submitted by and expresses the views and opinions of the author. They do not constitute the views or opinions of Upwork, and Upwork does not explicitly sponsor or endorse any of the views, opinions, tools or services mentioned in this article, all of which are provided as potential options according to the view of the author. Each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situations.
Article Author
Sasheen M.
Top Rated
Customer Experience and Success Consultant
Coral Gables, Florida
Customer service

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