Artificial Intelligence in Customer Support: What AI Means for Your Chatbots

When we speak about artificial intelligence, most people associate it with “something smart.” From voice assistants capable of finding the answer to any question and self-driven cars to cutting-edge fridges that can plan meals and stream your favorite content – the game is changing, technology is engaging, and AI is getting smarter and smarter on its own.

However, the concept of artificial intelligence is wider than it seems. As you may see from progressive web app examples, AI enhances the work of PWAs, making them fast, responsive, and impressively stable compared to native apps.

AI may also include such technologies as natural language programming, machine learning, neural network, deep learning, machine perception.

All the things mentioned above, one way or another, are created due to merging those technologies.

Yet, the impact of AI goes beyond the building of smart things for IT corporations.

A plethora of companies and vendors of different sizes try to jump on the AI bandwagon to take advantage of intelligent software and hardware to improve their products and services.

Questions about AI

How will AI help improve customer support experience? Why businesses are striving to implement AI chatbots — and what to expect from them in the future.

Image Credit: Official Victoria’s Secret website.

The Past of Chatbots in Customer Service

Interaction with chatbots used to be a painstaking and frustrating experience in the past. That was because chatbots were equipped with specific templates of responses and weren’t flexible if the user’s intent didn’t coincide with the preset scenarios.

Image credit: Medium

What was the purpose of the above Chatbot survey? It was designed to surface the answer like “Couldn’t find anything” and suggested following the strict “phone tree” menus.

As a result, users got disappointed in the technology and turned to live agents for assistance. But nowadays, AI has turned the tables making chatbots more sophisticated and intelligent.

Artificial Intelligence and Customer Support: a Match Made in Heaven

The immense impact of artificial intelligence is most noticeable in the customer service area. With more and more companies using chatbots as smart assistants, the number of interactions carried out without human participation is growing exponentially.

Chatbots are here to stay. While humans are limited by biological evolution, AI is not. As artificial intelligence is becoming smarter and stronger, bots have fewer and fewer restrictions on what they can’t do. They proved themselves as valuable technology in terms of both personal and business use.

So, let’s dwell further on the subject and discover what makes things really intelligent, how AI-driven chatbots work, what progress has been made, and why artificial intelligence is considered to be one of the major drivers for the customer service industry.

What Do We Mean by Artificial Intelligence?

The most important part about AI is that the technology makes it possible for computer systems and machines to mimic human behavior and natural processes by adjusting to new inputs and learning from previous experiences.

In a nutshell, the concept of artificial intelligence is based on simulating human cognitive behavior. In this regard, the software is “intelligent” if it:

  understands the current context;
  can make decisions evaluating both the environment and previous experience;
  can learn;
  has a memory that allows a chatbot to remember pertinent details to reuse during a conversation;
  in equivocal situations rest upon so-called “common sense.”

No doubts, AI is becoming smarter with each day and similarly enhancing natural human behavior. Thus, with the technology evolution, it becomes easy for smart software to identify the emotional coloring of a message and respond to it relatively. This creates opportunities for empathic conversation and significantly improves communication between two parts.

A shining example of this ability is the Cogito Corp. Cogito is AI-driven software that helps customer service agents to improve their outcomes. It can detect such speech patterns as tone, pace, pitch, empathy, pauses, word frequency, and others to give the agents coaching suggestions on responding to them correspondingly.

As such, once installed on the CRM, the software displays immediate real-time notifications to the service agents, advising them to speak slowly, loudly, gently, amiably, make a pause, or start talking. Below you can see how this assistant works.

Image credit: Cogitocorp

Conversational Chatbots: a Way to Smart Customer Interactions

As we mentioned earlier, AI chatbots provide users with the humanlike experience people expect to get when they think about artificial intelligence.

However, not every chatbot that you can talk to on a website is driven by AI. They may rely on algorithms to determine the meaning of a question, but if you go off the script, then they are left floundering.

A hallmark of conversational AI systems is the capability to understand a customer’s intent, regardless of how the question is phrased. These smart bots can:

fill out the form;
provide recommendations;
upsell;
make reservations;
book appointments;
and even integrate with back-end software like CRM, ERP, RPA to carry out further tasks.

Here is a brilliant example of how the chatbot understands the context.

It doesn’t even need to know the whole utterance: it suggests the user a possible end of a request! What is more, it goes beyond just offering a suggestion. It runs through the source material such as FAQs and knowledge bases and resolves questions.

Image credit: Intercom.com

Why Do Businesses Love Conversational Chatbots?

Surprisingly, most people are quite content knowing they are speaking to a machine. According to the latest survey, 40% of consumers make no difference whether a computer or a human being helps them if they get the help they need. Even more, for some users, it means that they can discuss any technical problem as much as they want without feeling foolish.

Unlike human agents, chatbots are fast, friendly, and are always there whenever a user needs them.

Besides, the latest generation of conversational bots can perceive and understand people’s intents without keyword matching and are able to give accurate answers to the clients’ questions. Using the smart assistants helps the agents significantly boost their productivity and effectiveness by imitating conversations naturally and humanly.

Nowadays, more and more companies worldwide start adopting these intelligent assistants to improve their customer service quality.

For instance, Salesforce has introduced its own AI-driven Einstein bot that can perform a variety of tasks. As such, it is able to resolve routine issues, check claims status, modify orders using natural language processing on real channels, and so on.

Image credit: Salesforce

However, it can be hard for an inexperienced user to handle such a complex CRM as Salesforce. To configure it properly, you may need someone who knows how to use its Service Cloud (onilabdotcom).

The 5 Main Reasons to Implement AI-Powered Chatbots

1. Better Customer Understanding

Chatbots store information about customer preferences and previous searches. In the future, they can use these insights to instantly anticipate a request or make personalized offers. It can improve customer attitude towards the company and increase retention.

2. Non-Stop Customer Support

Chatbots don’t need to sleep and rest. They can offer a solution to the problem at any time of the day and not make mistakes. If the problem is too complex or unique and requires human intervention, the chatbot can respond to the user when they can get a specialist’s answer. Then it will direct this question to the correct department.

3. Saving Money

Since chatbots reduce the time spent on routine tasks, you can reduce the cost of hiring more support staff. The Juniper Research study shows that by 2022 businesses will leverage chatbots to save costs of over $8 billion annually. And probably it’s the right time to embrace this innovation.

4. Overcoming Language Barriers

Chatbots expand the horizons and geography of your customers. Since your employees may not know all languages, chatbots can come to their aid. NLP, by which the chatbots work, allows understanding of different tones and languages. That’s how you will overcome friction in communication instead of risking the loss of a potential customer.

5. Scalability

Let’s imagine your business goes through a festive season or peak hours. The entire stream of questions rests on the shoulders of the support team, which can’t cope with the increased demand. Scalability means that during this time, you don’t need to attract additional resources such as live agents and train them.

Chatbots provide multichannel conversation in real-time and can easily cope with even the 200% hike in chats.

AI-Powered Chatbots: What to Expect?

Thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence, customer service has made a big step forward from simple query inputting to advanced perception for providing human-like interactions. With the growing number of companies building deep neural networks and leveraging AI to make their services smarter, we can expect the impact of bots will expand over 2021 and in subsequent years.

AI-powered conversational bots are predicted to be employed in call centers worldwide, where they will provide customer support instead of human agents. This is especially true, considering that they already help businesses reduce costs up to 30% by employing well-trained chatbots.

However, this could instill fears about the possible staff reduction and replacing them with robots. Crises and stock market crashes, shocks, and natural disasters, all this can shatter confidence in the future.

However, chatbots cannot brainstorm new ideas; they cannot think about what challenges a business may face. They expect commands from people and are ready to execute them. So, there is nothing to worry about.

Even though artificial intelligence and related technologies are still far from perfection and have numerous issues to overcome, the prognosis over chatbot development is promising. They are likely to be one of the dominating trends in customer support and beyond.

Top Image Credit: rodnae productions; pexels; thank you!

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