Case Study: Klarna’s Revolutionary Use of AI in Customer Service and Operations

Klarna, a Swedish-based fintech company known for its “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) services, has revolutionized its operations through the extensive use of generative AI. With over 150 million active users and more than 5,000 employees, Klarna processes over two million transactions daily. Recently, Klarna disclosed that 90% of its employees use generative AI daily, demonstrating the company’s commitment to leveraging AI for enhanced efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Key Takeaways

  • 90% of Klarna employees use generative AI in their daily tasks.
  • Klarna’s AI Assistant has significantly reduced customer service workloads, handling two-thirds of customer service chats and performing the work of 700 agents.
  • Klarna’s bespoke internal AI assistant, Kiki, answers over 2,000 employee inquiries daily, enhancing productivity and knowledge management.
  • The AI initiatives save Klarna over $40 million annually by streamlining operations and improving customer service.

Approach

Klarna’s AI journey began with the licensing of OpenAI’s models in 2022, recognizing the potential to boost profits and operational efficiency. The company developed its AI Assistant to automate customer service tasks and Kiki, an internal AI assistant, to aid employees across various departments.

Implementation

Klarna’s customer service AI Assistant was developed to handle a wide range of customer service queries, including refunds, returns, payments, cancellations, disputes, and invoice inaccuracies. This AI operates around the clock, offering support in over 35 languages. Since its deployment, the AI Assistant has managed 2.3 million conversations annually, covering two-thirds of all customer service interactions. This comprehensive integration has significantly streamlined Klarna’s customer service operations, providing real-time updates on balances, payment schedules, and spending limits, thus enhancing the overall customer experience.

Kiki, Klarna’s bespoke internal AI assistant, has been pivotal in managing and distributing internal knowledge. Launched in June 2023, Kiki answers over 2,000 employee inquiries daily, covering topics from project statuses to procedural guidelines. The AI assistant promotes a self-service culture, allowing employees to quickly find answers and solve issues independently. This high adoption rate, especially in non-technical teams like Communications (93%), Marketing (88%), and Legal (86%), has significantly boosted productivity and reduced time spent on administrative tasks, allowing employees to focus on strategic and creative work.

Results

Klarna’s AI initiatives have yielded significant improvements in both customer service and internal operations. The AI Assistant has drastically reduced the average ticket resolution time from 11 minutes to under 2 minutes, leading to a 25% decrease in repeat inquiries and handling the workload equivalent of 700 full-time agents. Internally, Kiki has become an indispensable tool, rapidly answering over 250,000 employee inquiries and fostering a culture of autonomy and self-service. This widespread adoption has enhanced employee productivity, particularly in non-technical departments, and contributed to annual savings of over $40 million by streamlining operations and reducing labor costs.

Challenges and Barriers

Implementing AI at Klarna required a substantial initial investment, running into tens of millions of dollars, to develop and integrate sophisticated AI solutions. Additionally, ensuring that employees adapted to and effectively utilized the new AI tools required extensive training and a cultural shift towards embracing AI technology. Overcoming resistance to change and fostering an environment where AI is seen as a beneficial tool rather than a threat were critical hurdles that Klarna had to navigate to achieve successful implementation.

Future Outlook

Klarna’s success with AI suggests a promising future for broader AI adoption in the fintech sector. The company aims to further enhance its AI capabilities to improve both employee performance and customer experiences. As AI technology becomes more affordable, even small and mid-sized businesses will likely adopt similar solutions, democratizing the benefits of AI.

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Sources:
Fintech firm Klarna says 90% of its employees are using generative AI daily
Klarna’s New AI Tool Does The Work Of 700 Customer Service Reps
90% of Klarna staff are using AI daily – game changer for productivity


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