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Xero adds gen AI to help desk, promises faster service

Business

The release underscores the accounting software company’s rapid adoption of AI.

By Christine Chen 10 minute read

Xero has tapped AI search engine start-up Coveo to integrate generative AI into its customer support portal and says its users will be able to receive accurate answers to their support queries faster than ever.

The accounting software company made the upgrade to Xero Central, its customer support and learning site, so that answers to users’ search questions would be generated from pre-existing support articles written by staff instead of users having to browse through the content library themselves.

Users would also be able to filter searches based on whether they were a small business, accountant or bookkeeper.

However, executive general manager of customer experience Nigel Piper said the generative AI search would not replace human customer service agents.

“We understand customers like to have a choice too, so customers can continue to raise a support case for one-on-one assistance, or request a phone call from one of our hundreds of customer support specialists based around the world if that is their preference,” he said.

Coveo CEO Louis Tetu praised the collaboration.

“Xero understood early the AI-experience advantage when it comes to creating a best-in-class customer experience. Xero is a forward-thinking organisation, together we are exploring the possibilities that semantic search and gen AI can bring – or will bring – to digital experiences,” he said.

Xero first announced the search feature as a pilot program in August and had received “hugely positive” feedback from users, according to Mr Piper.

“Xero strives to be at the forefront of innovative customer experience, and this is a significant step towards our goal to build a support model which brings together the best of digital experiences powered by human capability,” he said.

“It’s really about making it as simple and intuitive as possible for customers – whether they’re small businesses or accountants and bookkeepers – to find the information they need to solve their problem so they can get back to running their business or supporting their clients.”

The company was an early adopter of Amazon Bedrock – a service to build, scale, and accelerate the development of generative AI applications – which positioned it at the forefront of the AI boom.

Its generative AI search followed the rollout of AI-powered bank reconciliation predictions, which applied machine learning to recognise and predict new contacts in users’ statement lines without having the business names in their contact lists.

It has also embedded AI across its products Hubdoc, Xero Expenses, Xero Go, and cash flow forecasting in Xero Analytics Plus.

Xero said it planned to roll out an AI assistant to help businesses set up their Xero organisation during the onboarding process. Similar to the generative AI search in Xero Central, the assistant would use staff-written articles to guide businesses in completing their required onboarding tasks.

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Christine Chen

Christine Chen

AUTHOR

Christine Chen is a graduate journalist at Accountants Daily and Accounting Times, the leading sources of news, insight, and educational content for professionals in the accounting sector.

Previously, Christine has written for City Hub, the South Sydney Herald and Honi Soit. She has also produced online content for LegalVision and completed internships at EY and Deloitte.

Christine has a commerce degree from the University of Western Australia and is studying a Juris Doctor degree at the University of Sydney. 

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