How AI is transforming customer communication
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbot technology have moved to the forefront of today’s digital-first business economy. As consumer behavior continues to gravitate towards fast and simple interactions, organizations that don’t adopt automated solutions risk losing out.
We sat down with our Chief Customer Officer, Adrian Grbavac, to learn about the impact chatbots and AI technology have on customer experience – and if it’s worth the investment in the long run.
Should businesses use AI and automation to replace human contact?
I think many consumers still want at least the option to speak to a real person. But most of the time, the last thing that I want to do as a consumer is to call a call center to get a simple task done, like checking when my product will be available or delivered – or whether an item is in stock. Personally, I’d rather text or WhatsApp a bot to find that out or click on a link that has been sent to me.
How can AI support human agents?
The best cloud contact center solutions use intelligent routing to ensure customers are routed in real-time and to the appropriate agent. Meanwhile, sentiment analysis can help a business and an agent work out how a customer is feeling and how best they can be treated.
AI can also be used to assist agents during a conversation by helping to anticipate customer needs and automate actions where possible. Then, of course, there are chatbots which free up agents during those interactions and allow for additional interactions where human empathy is needed.
How do chatbots help businesses?
We’re all familiar with chatbots, but it’s worth going back to basics: chatbots are computer programs that simulate human conversation. So, businesses can put their own chatbots in many different communication channels. That could be SMS, WhatsApp, a website, Instagram direct messages – the list goes on.
Chatbots can also act as virtual assistants to customers. They help customers find information that is easily accessible. You can also program a chatbot to escalate queries it can’t handle to a human agent.
What situations are chatbots useful in?
Chatbots are really useful for handling easy, high volume type questions from customers. For example, finding account balances, helping with onboarding processes, and general questions such as store opening times. They can be an important part of your cloud communication strategy as well. As long as they’re connected to the right sources of information such as your CRM, e-commerce platform, website, or any other third-party data sources.
How intelligent can a business chatbot be?
There are two types of chatbots: a rule-based one and an AI-based chatbot.
Rule-based chatbots operate on a limited if-then logic basis. That means customers have to stay within their established boundaries. Often this means answering yes/no type questions or picking from a set of numbers.
But AI chatbots give you and your customers much more freedom to communicate.
AI chatbots are trained to understand customer intent through what we call natural language processing (NLP). And thanks to machine learning (ML) processes, these bots get smarter over time as they’re exposed to more and more conversational data.
Does an AI chatbot need significant investment?
An AI chatbot needs plenty of training about the different conversations it’s likely to have with the customer. It’s an investment, but balance this with the huge amount of money chatbots can save you in operating expenses.
How else is AI being used to improve CX?
Alongside Interactive Voice Response (IVR), chatbots can intelligently route incoming calls to the best agent or department or even resolve the caller’s query.
There’s also personalization. AI helps the best cloud communications platforms analyze multiple sources of customer data in real time to make interactions as relevant as possible.
Lastly, there’s messaging optimization. By analyzing prior engagement history, AI can help send messages via your customers’ preferred channel in particular situations and schedule messages at the best time.
This is just a short list. There are many other examples.
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