The emerging role of A.I. chatbots within customer service
A developer in Sweden, Peder Fjallstrom, whose app company just created a bot agency says it best: “Everyone wants a bot. No one knows why.”
So are A.I.-driven chatbots just another fad? Businesses have perked up lately around the buzz on bots, questioning whether they can use them efficiently to interact with customers and reduce contact center costs. Gartner predicts that by 2018 a full 30 percent of our interactions with technology will be through “conversations” with smart machines.
But the main question that seems to be popping up in the chatbot conversation is this: Will bots replace humans as customer service agents? Some say they will. Mark Zuckerberg has a plan to help businesses build bots on Facebook messenger, so they can hold automated chats with customers that can eventually lead to sales or answer customer service requests such as order status. Zuckerberg hopes that over time, businesses can use Facebook’s bot engine and messaging service to automate customer conversations and ultimately save them money on having human agents.
Businesses are already on board with this. The chat app Kik is currently in talks with some of America’s biggest fast-food chains about hosting food-ordering bots on its app. A New York-based startup, x.ai, developed a personal assistant bot that practically takes over the job of a front-desk secretary. However, it is also clear that bots won’t replace all customer service agents.
How chatbots can positively impact customer service goals
Where relationships with your customers are long lasting or where an important decision needs to be made, trust is important. Bots can’t, and won’t, replace humans and customer service agents for these “moments that matter”. For example, a U.S. Bank consumer study reported that there is no app that will replace banking relationships.
The real question behind the role of chat bots within the customer service isn’t whether they will replace humans, but how they will help them. How so?
Chatbots help qualify conversations
Having a bot chat with a customer, at the start of a conversation, will allow the bot to qualify the call and get a better sense of whether they should route the customer to an agent or handle it themselves. This will help free up agents and call center representatives so they can focus on serious prospects.
Chatbots do the groundwork
Since many interactions between customers and businesses are of administrative or logistical nature, bots can answer these questions on-the-spot, help increase customer satisfaction and decrease resolution time.
Chatbots can get answers out of FAQ pages and knowledge bases
So that we don’t have to waste time searching for answers! Agents need real time information in context of their customer conversations; and customers want immediate answers.
Simplicity within a mobile world
The big idea behind chatbots is simple: It’s a mobile world, meaning a messaging world. Messaging is becoming the default customer interface for any company that doesn’t have their apps downloaded by their customers. In that context, chatbots are to the mobile users what IVRs were to phone users or the form to web visitors. They are going to replace simple and straightforward queries.
“At the end of the day when it gets complicated and you need assistance from a human being, you’ll go to a customer service representative anyway.” – Raj Koneru, CEO of Kore
Stryng: Intelligence behind the chatbot
What’s critical then is to understand when a chatbot-customer conversation needs to be escalated to a human agent, how to escalate the conversation in a seamless fashion and not require the customer to start from scratch and repeat himself or herself. That’s where true artificial intelligence lies. And that’s where Stryng comes in.
Your customers are using mobile devices now more than ever and it’s time to rethink how they can access your service through a mobile device.