Freshworks SVP of customer experience on generative AI’s impact on customer service and support

Murali Krishnan decodes the future of customer service and reveals the path to enhanced experiences


Whether you’re a fan or a critic, it’s undeniable that generative AI has demonstrated its potential to enhance productivity for professionals. In fact, a recent MIT study into the practical application of generative AI in the workplace revealed that customer service representatives at a Fortune 500 software company saw their productivity surge by 14% when utilizing advanced AI capabilities.
Productivity is key to customer service and support. It fuels a team of supercharged agents, swiftly resolving customer issues and leaving them highly satisfied. This productivity magic translates into real business success: think higher customer experience and satisfaction, improved retention rates, and a boost in revenue.

In conversation with Murali Krishnan, senior vice president of customer experience at Freshworks, we delved into the customer experience landscape and the role of AI in shaping the future of customer service and support.

The buzz surrounding generative AI is undoubtedly significant. Curious if you’ve been using it in your personal life and even at work. What excites you the most about this technology?

Oh, absolutely! Generative AI has been a total game-changer for me, both personally and professionally. Personally, I’ve been trying different generative AI platforms with my daughter, who is an amazing artist. Both of us spend time using these different solutions, trying to develop new art using generative AI.

And at work, generative AI is transforming everything. It’s revolutionizing how we create content, meet customer needs, and run our businesses.

What excites me the most about this technology is its potential to augment human capabilities. It’s all about enhancing what we can do, not replacing us. Generative AI opens up a world of possibilities and enables us to achieve things that were previously unimaginable.

How do you think generative AI will impact the world of customer service? How can businesses leverage the power of AI to create value across different customer service functions?

Generative AI has the potential to greatly enhance customer service and support experiences by providing more contextual and tailored solutions. By training AI models using generative AI techniques, organizations can better understand customer problems within the context of their unique ecosystem, allowing for more personalized and effective resolution paths.

The process of utilizing generative AI in customer service involves training the AI models on extensive datasets that comprise customer interactions, support tickets, and knowledge bases. By analyzing this diverse data, generative AI gains contextual understanding, enabling it to assist customer service representatives in various ways. It can suggest relevant solutions tailored to specific customer inquiries, offer step-by-step guidance for complex issues, and automate repetitive tasks.This can significantly speed up issue resolution, improve accuracy, and enhance the overall customer experience.

Moreover, generative AI can assist in handling complex or niche scenarios where there might not be readily available solutions. By leveraging the knowledge learned from vast datasets, these models can generate customized solutions that are specific to the customer’s ecosystem and requirements.

How does the rise of generative AI impact the customer experience in terms of human-AI collaboration and the differentiation between human agents and virtual agents?

The advancements in technology, especially with generative AI, have addressed many of the concerns associated with early-generation bots and have paved the way for more humanized and personalized automated support conversations.

Generative AI-powered chatbots trained on sophisticated data sets, such as those developed by OpenAI, have greatly improved their ability to understand and mimic human language and behavior. By training on vast amounts of public data, these chatbots can generate responses that are more empathetic, and personalized to each customer’s needs.

Rather than replacing human agents, AI serves as a valuable assistant, taking care of content generation and communication tasks. AI-powered automation brings efficiency and speed to the support process, handling routine queries and providing quick resolutions. Human agents, in turn, review and refine the AI-generated content to ensure it aligns with the desired brand voice, incorporates nuanced understanding, and adds that special “human touch” that makes interactions perfect.

By combining the strengths of AI and human agents, organizations can create exceptional customer experiences that blend the efficiency and accuracy of automation with the personalization and empathy of human interaction.

[Read also: Freshworks chief architect on generative AI’s transformative impact]

What is Freshworks’ vision for bringing generative AI to its CX suite of products?

Freshworks’ vision for bringing generative AI to its CX suite is centered around enhancing the customer experience. The focus lies on leveraging generative AI to improve its ability to help businesses deliver better customer experiences and enhance employee satisfaction.
Additionally, Freshworks recognizes the value of generative AI in assisting customer service agents. By equipping agents with AI-powered tools and capabilities, they can efficiently address customer problems, leverage automated suggestions, and provide personalized support. This integration of generative AI enables agents to deliver faster and more accurate solutions, enhancing the overall customer service experience.

As a company we are embracing this with open arms. All our strategic initiatives have generative AI as the single most transformative engine to help us change the way we support our customers.

From your perspective, what are the critical success factors for companies looking to effectively implement AI in their customer service operations?

There are a lot of important considerations for effectively implementing AI in customer service operations. Let’s delve into some of the critical points: 

  1. Identifying the right use cases and AI models: It’s crucial to identify specific use cases where AI can bring value to customer service operations. Choosing suitable AI models depends on the business goals and requirements. Experimentation and piloting different use cases with AI can help assess their effectiveness and determine where automation can be applied most effectively.
  2. Data quality: High-quality data is essential for training language models effectively. Clean, accurate, and diverse data enables AI to make accurate predictions and provide prompt responses. Companies should invest in curating and maintaining a robust dataset that reflects their domain expertise and customer interactions. This ensures that AI systems can leverage the data to provide rich insights and enhance the customer service experience.
  3. Choosing appropriate AI technologies and tools: Selecting AI technologies and tools that align with the organization’s requirements is crucial. Opting for software with built-in AI capabilities can simplify the integration process and save time and effort for support teams. Easy configuration and maintenance make it convenient to adopt and utilize the AI-powered features seamlessly. This streamlined approach facilitates a smooth transition and allows customers to quickly benefit from the enhanced customer service experience.

By carefully considering these factors, organizations can effectively leverage AI technologies to improve customer service operations, streamline processes, and provide enhanced support experiences to their customers. It’s important to continuously evaluate and refine the implementation to ensure that it aligns with evolving business needs and customer expectations. The wonderful aspect of Freshworks is that the platform incorporates most of what is required for customers to quickly implement generative AI and start this transformational journey.

Stay tuned for more exciting updates! Learn more about our latest AI-driven innovations with Freshworks Q2 ’23 Launch Event, or read more here.