Published On: Mon, Jan 8th, 2024

AI won’t replace people, but people who use AI will replace people who don’t

Artificial Intelligence:AI won’t replace people, but people who use AI will replace people who don’t.” Is it relevant to the glazing sector? asks editor John Cowie

Like it or not, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere. Individuals understanding of the impact of AI can be very different. You could ask ten people for a definition of AI, and they would all be very different. What we can be certain of is that AI is going to make a huge difference in all of our working lives. You can decide to ignore it, but as a recent report by IBM stated, ‘AI won’t replace people, but people who use AI will replace people who don’t.’

Within our own sector, questions are being asked about the relevance of AI. At a recent industry roundtable event, AI was discussed, and one business leader revealed how she was using AI. It was transforming her small business and enabling it to compete with larger organizations. AI had become part of the team and had greatly enhanced the office-based operation. In many customer service-oriented businesses, AI has been instrumental in streamlining customer and technical support. AI is able to triage inquiries. John Cowie, Editor of Windows Active Magazine, recently visited a building products supplier who has been using AI within its technical department: ‘This company received a huge number of telephone inquiries from installers. 80% of these inquiries were common problems with simple solutions. However, they took up a massive amount of man-hours in the customer service department. The company introduced an AI-driven bot that was able to answer the majority of technical queries, drawing on its extensive knowledge bank. This enabled the customer services team to dedicate more time to dealing with more complicated problems. Response times were almost halved.’

Taking this example as a starting point, there is no doubt AI can improve customer service. But it just doesn’t stop there. The question is, how can AI transform customer service in the window industry?”

In the fast-paced world of manufacturing, the technical department plays a critical role in ensuring product quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. For companies producing windows and doors, serving installation companies and retail firms in the UK’s booming home improvement market, the stakes are high. With increasing competition and evolving customer expectations, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) has become essential to enhance customer service and stay ahead in the game. How can AI revolutionize customer service in the technical department of such companies?

Streamlining Communication – One of the primary advantages of incorporating AI in customer service is its ability to streamline communication. Traditional methods of customer interaction often involve time-consuming phone calls and emails, leading to delays and potential miscommunications. AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can instantly respond to customer queries, providing accurate information and guidance on product specifications, installation procedures, and troubleshooting issues. These intelligent systems learn from past interactions, ensuring they become more effective over time.

Enhancing Response Times – In the home improvement market, time is of the essence. Installation companies and retail firms need quick responses to their technical queries to maintain project timelines and ensure customer satisfaction. AI can dramatically reduce response times, providing instant answers to frequently asked questions and even diagnosing issues based on the information provided. This efficiency not only enhances customer experience but also frees up the technical department’s human resources to focus on more complex and value-added tasks.

Improving Accuracy and Consistency – Accuracy and consistency in responses are crucial in the technical domain, where misinformation can lead to installation errors, product damage, or safety issues. AI systems, once properly trained and configured, provide accurate and consistent information, ensuring that all customers receive the same level of guidance and support. This reliability builds trust with installation companies and retail partners, reinforcing the company’s reputation for excellence.

Proactive Problem-Solving – AI can transform customer service from a reactive to a proactive function. By analyzing customer interactions and feedback, AI systems can identify common issues and trends, enabling the technical department to address them proactively. For example, if a particular product receives multiple queries regarding installation, the AI system can flag this for review, leading to potential design modifications or improved installation guides. This proactive approach not only resolves issues more quickly but also contributes to continuous product improvement.

Training and Knowledge Sharing – The technical department of a window and door fabrication company houses a wealth of knowledge and expertise. AI can play a vital role in capturing this knowledge and making it accessible to customer service representatives and customers alike. Through AI-powered knowledge bases and training modules, new employees can quickly come up to speed, while experienced staff can easily access the information they need. This ensures that the entire customer service team is equipped to handle technical queries effectively, regardless of their individual experience levels.

Personalizing Customer Interactions – AI excels at handling large volumes of data, making it possible to personalize customer interactions on an unprecedented scale. By analysing past interactions, purchase history, and preferences, AI can tailor its responses to meet the specific needs of each installation company or retail firm. This personalized approach not only enhances customer satisfaction but also fosters loyalty and long-term partnerships.

Monitoring and Reporting – Finally, AI enables robust monitoring and reporting capabilities, providing invaluable insights into customer service performance. By tracking response times, resolution rates, and customer feedback, the technical department can identify areas for improvement and measure the impact of changes made. This data-driven approach ensures continuous optimization of customer service processes, leading to higher efficiency, better customer experiences, and a stronger competitive position in the market.

Incorporating AI into the customer service function of a technical department offers numerous benefits, from improved efficiency and accuracy to personalized interactions and proactive problem-solving. As the fenestration industry continues to evolve, embracing AI is not just an option—it is a necessity for companies looking to thrive in the UK’s dynamic home improvement market. By harnessing the power of AI, companies can transform their customer service, enhance their reputation, and pave the way for long-term success.