Verizon using generative AI to do customer service better

US operator Verizon has launched some new ‘human-assisted’ generative AI apps designed to improve customer service and reduce churn.

Andrew Wooden

May 15, 2024

2 Min Read

The tools are designed to ‘help make every interaction a positive one’ – which sounds like an unrealistic ambition – as well as to ‘help reduce the cognitive load on store and customer service partners’. Cognitive load seems to be a needlessly euphemistic way of saying it helps staff come up with on the spot answers to queries.

The ‘Personal Research Assistant’ is designed to help customer-facing staff review resources to provide relevant information to customers. ‘The improvements are already evident,’ boasts the release – apparently employees are now able to answer 95% of customer inquiries.

It’s also using AI to intelligently pair customers with the best available customer care representative - meaning that if a caller has a specific question/moan related to their international service, for example, they will be paired with an expert international travel options rather than a generalist.

There’s also a personal shopper tool, which analyses a customer’s profile and serves up info on why they might be calling. With this Verizon claims it has already cut customer transaction time down by two to four minutes.

Meanwhile the alarmingly named ‘Segment of Me’ uses AI to provide customers with new plans, product offers, and service upgrades that are tailored for them, which it says has improved engagement and lowered churn.

“We’re on a journey to provide a premium experience during every interaction because we know it matters to our customers,” said Brian Higgins, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Verizon Consumer. “We connect roughly 99% of the population and they count on us to handle everything from making calls and sending texts, to purchasing new tech, billing questions or checking out new products in our stores. We understand that every interaction is an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives. AI is helping us not just meet expectations, but exceed them by showing our customers we’ve got their back at every turn.”

It might not sound like the most revolutionary manifestation of AI as described by the sector’s biggest cheerleaders and doom mongers alike, but it is the sort of practical application that could provide operators with an edge, especially when it comes to customer churn. But Verizon sees the future impact of AI on telco operations as more significant than just streamlined customer service.  

The operator’s Consumer Chief Executive Officer Sowmyanarayan Sampath said in an interview with Bloomberg this week that AI “is the next growth machine for us”, and that demand tied to AI tools is set to more than double the company’s network over the next five years.

“We are getting to the edge of how much people can consume video at any given time. You’re gonna see a massive growth in traffic over the next, I don’t think a decade — less than that — which will be driven by AI,” he said.

About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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