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2018 Service Prediction #2: AI-powered service calls to double in 2018

8th January, 2018

With an explosive growth in new technologies to gather and use data to optimise service delivery this will be at the heart of driving the service industry in 2018. IoT in combination with digital twins, AI-powered service organisations and equipping users to service their own assets are key trends impacting the service industry, predicts Mark Brewer, IFS Global Industry Director for Service Management.

Prediction # 2: Alexa gets a job: AI-powered service calls to double in 2018  

AI-powered voice assistants represent a second major opportunity for service organizations in 2018. Many calls into a service helpdesk are uncomplicated queries, like establishing opening hours, or determining when an engineer is due to arrive, which means they are simple enough to be answered by a bot. This drives significant potential for companies to connect AI-powered voice assistants behind the scenes to enterprise software with capabilities such as self-service diagnostics or scheduling optimization engines, to automatically offer appointment slots. This can both make businesses more effective and lighten the load for a stretched contact center agent workforce.

One company that is addressing this market is Amazon, who recently launched Alexa for Business to employ Alexa in organizations across the world. We can expect this to be a catalyst for the deployment of voice-activated service calls the coming years. This AI-powered approach is going to get increasingly important not just in terms of the quality of service you can deliver, but in the context of growing skills shortages in the industry. Looking further forward, not only will Alexa provide services to the end user, but think of how a voice activated step-by-step maintenance procedure could be of tremendous value to a service engineer – “Alexa, what is the next step after removing the motor assembly”?

The latter is not to be underestimated. In the recent global IFS Digital Change Survey, surveying 150 decision makers in the service industry, “recruiting/training/retaining skilled technicians” was rated as the greatest inhibitor to growing service revenue, with over a quarter (28%) of organisations claiming to feel either slightly or totally unprepared to deal with the skills deficit.

Author: Mark Brewer

Global Industry Director for Service Management at IFS

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