Zendesk Webinar Recap: How AI Creates Better, Proactive Customer Experiences

Last verified May 27, 2021

Guru Co-Founder and CEO Rick Nucci joined leaders from Zendesk, Ada, and DigitalGenius in a webinar focused on how artificial intelligence (AI) improves the customer experience. Zendesk, an industry-leading ticketing and chat solution, works in conjunction with products like Guru, Ada, and DigitalGenius to provide better experiences for support reps and end users alike. The roundtable centered around how each company leverages AI to empower their teams to deliver better customer experiences.


Billy Robbins, Director of Technology Alliances at Zendesk, led the conversation between Guru’s Rick Nucci, Ada CEO Mike Murchison, and Co-Founder of DigitalGenius, Mikhail Naumov.

If you weren’t able to catch the webinar live, check out our 6 key takeaways from the session:

1. Customer service has become a competitive advantage. Support has traditionally been viewed as a necessary cost rather than a point of differentiation, but that’s starting to change. The mindset of “let’s solve the ticket and move on” has become outdated, and the way people think about support will soon be completely transformed. Many successful companies have realized that good service can differentiate you from competitors, and AI augments your ability to provide quality service. We’ve seen AI-enhanced customer service being used by many of our mutual Guru and Zendesk customers as a key differentiator.

"Every company in the world will have some form of machine learning or AI in their customer support organization within the next few years" - Mikhail Naumov, Digital Genius

2. Effective knowledge management is the fundamental building block for successful AI. All AI is predicated off of the data that trains it to do its job. In the case of customer experience, one of the most important buckets of information used to train AI is the company’s knowledge base. The first requirement of using AI in a customer experience situation is ensuring that a complete and accurate foundation of knowledge management exists. You need a way to capture knowledge, validate its accuracy, prevent staleness, measure its effectiveness, and ensure that your internal experts are contributing to it. If the knowledge informing your AI is inaccurate, it has a degrading effect that frustrates both agents and end customers alike.

“The most important and fundamental requirement when thinking about applying AI is ensuring that a solid foundation of knowledge management exists.” - Rick Nucci, Co-Founder and CEO of Guru

3. Tying customer service interactions to revenue outcomes will transform support from a cost center to a revenue center. Connecting positive support experiences to ensuing customer behavior gives you valuable insight into how important support is as a customer touchpoint. Do positive support interactions increase the likelihood of repeat purchases? Do customers ever upgrade from a free to a paid subscription plan following a successful support experience? Emphasizing data and analytics can help you make the case for prioritizing customer support within your organization. If you can prove that bad experiences are driving customers away and good experiences are causing customers to spend more, you can transform the way your company thinks about support.

4. Customer service is in a unique position to drive revenue. DigitalGenius has found that companies with high customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores often have bigger shopping carts and more repeat business from customers. Since CSAT comes directly from the customer support team, it’s important for that team to understand the overall value they can drive. One mutual DigitalGenius-Zendesk customer reduced handle time so significantly that they were able to use that unlocked time to teach their best-performing support agents how to up-sell and cross-sell. That training effectively turned their contact center into a profitable area of their business.

5. The human component is the most important part of the customer support experience. AI lays the groundwork for agents to provide meaningful customer interactions. The tech is meant to empower customer service professionals to create amazing, white glove customer experiences that can only be delivered by a human touch. So you can’t think about AI in isolation; the human element will always be key. In a couple of years, we’re going to look back and say, “Wow, the way customer service agents spend their days is fundamentally different than it was five years ago." And that will be because AI has given support reps the ability to focus on the complex problems that require personal attention.

“AI enables humans to do what they do best, which is the more complex things like empathy, hard decision making, and white glove service.” - Rick Nucci, Guru

6. AI will not make support reps obsolete. A common concern we hear at Guru is “Is AI going to cost me my job?” And while there will be a ton of automation innovation to come, that automation will not replace human support representatives. The key to successful AI is optimizing the relationship between the technology and the people using it. AI enables humans to do what they do best, which is the more complex things like empathy, hard decision making, and white glove service. You can’t think about AI in isolation. It’s less about AI taking away jobs and more about it helping companies perform better as businesses.

Many thanks to Zendesk, Ada, and DigitalGenius for a great conversation about how AI makes for better customer experiences! For more information about how Guru’s AI capabilities empower people with the knowledge they need to do their jobs, read up on our Revenue Empowerment Network.