One of the ways to measure the efficiency of a Contact Center is by taking into account the time it takes to connect a customer to a suitable agent in order to resolve a given issue. Today, enterprises are looking for an alternative to “rule-based decision matrices” (Example- The self-service IVR system that requires a customer to press the dialer to process a query or speak to customer care executive). Overtime, these systems have become redundant and can irritate the customer.The idea is to modernize the existing channels of communication and gain a satisfied customer.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a solution to this problem. Although a nascent technology, AI is expected to revolutionize contact center performance and improve customer-agent interactions.
Recent examples of AI in customer service arena are, Taco Bell’s TacoBot which lets customers order their meals from Slack. Also, Sephora, the beauty-brand giant allows customers to skip a trip to the store by fulfilling makeup orders through their messaging app Kik.
More importantly, artificial intelligence can be used to improve customer experience. To put in in simple words, Chatbots built on AI technology offers a very customized customer experience by providing functionalities that would otherwise be time-consuming or expensive if done manually.
A Quick Glimpse into AI Technologies
Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it learn for themselves.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
It the ability of a technology to interact with humans using their natural language. This conversation can be in terms of speech or text. The idea is to program the computers to understand, analyze and effectively use long natural language interactions to give appropriate response.
It is the process of computationally identifying and categorizing opinions expressed in a piece of text or verbal communication. The idea is to determine a customer’s attitude towards a particular topic, product or interaction etc.
Why Artificial Intelligence?
Siri, Google Assistance and Amazon Alexa are popular examples of AI that users are already familiar with and rely on them for day to day requests and use. But the real change will come about with the use of AI at the enterprise level, especially the customer service departments of an organization. Gartner has made the following observations with respect to AI technology, its use and implementation in enterprises.
- By 2019, more than 10% of IT hires in customer service will mostly write scripts for bot interactions.
- Through 2020, enterprises using cognitive ergonomics and system design in artificial intelligence projects will achieve long term success four times more often than others.
- By 2019, artificial intelligence platform services will cannibalize revenues for 30% of market leading companies.
AI Will Improve Omni-Channel Support System
AI is capable of improving omni-channel support as well, which is the current need of the Contact Centers. Now a day, Contact Centers are using the omni-channel system to service the customers across different channels of communication (text, email, social media, chat, IM). AI will help in joining the dots and defining clear lines of communication. For example, a customer can reach out to a customer service agent through social media as well as via email. AI will enable enterprises to integrate data and help in data mining to enhance employee efficiency, which in turn leads to better customer experience.
Chatbots : Artificial Intelligence in Contact Centers
Chatbots are one of the biggest examples of AI that are currently being used in in Contact Centers and merchant websites. A great Chatbot is the one where the customers are not able to tell whether they are talking to a machine or a human . Thanks to AI, Chatbots are expected to be emotionally intelligent and quick in understanding and processing queries. The technology is moving in that direction. According to Gartner, customers will manage 85% of their brand interactions without speaking to a single human by 2020.
“ AI will ease of the kind of experiences that we give to the customer”
Karan Sarma, Head- Customer Service & CRM, Grofers
Impact of Chatbots for CX
Chatbots and AI are on the way to pave the path for future of Contact Centers. Let’s look at some of the ways by which chatbots have been proven to be beneficial for Contact Centers and CX.
Reduced Waiting Time
Sophisticated chatbots ensure that the customer doesn’t have to wait. The idea is to reduce the wait time and prioritize customer request. With the help of AI, the chatbot is able to route the customer to the available agent using intelligent algorithms. Karan Sarma, Head- Customer Service & CRM, Grofers talks about an example of the same at Ameyo’s Webinar on “Role of Artificial Intelligence in building a seamless Customer Experience!”.
“When you want to know the status of your order, the chatbots come in and help you to get the information faster.”
Round-the-Clock Customer Service Support
Customers seek convenience when contacting customer service. Providing 24X7 support is another way of ensuring a seamless customer service experience. A cost-effective, yet efficient way of doing that is through chatbots. By using big data from previous customer interactions, chatbots can be programmed to solve basic client issues. If there is some escalation, artificial intelligence recognizes emotions such as anger, confusion , frustration, etc. in the customer’s voice, and can seamlessly transfer the call to its human counterpart to resolve the issue.
As mentioned earlier, chatbots collect historical data of customer interactions. Based on the data they are able to predict and provide real time data to human agents. To say the least, chatbots work as virtual agents. Using the previous data and current information, live agents can provide valuable information and solutions to the customers.
“Chatbots are 70% accurate in detecting customer sentiments”
Prince Singh, CTO & Founder, Drishti Soft (at Ameyo’s Webinar on “Role of Artificial Intelligence in Building a Seamless Customer Experience“.)
Building and Nurturing Customer Relationships
Organizations wish their agents had more time to build and nurture relations with their customers. However, Live agents often don’t have the time to engage in depth conversations with customers. Chabots can be effective in this endeavour. An automated SMS on special occasions, an email to keep in touch or get feedback makes the customers feel important. Customers feel that they are being valued, thus ensuing ensuring brand loyalty.
“Human beings can’t be efficient everyday. There are bad days. Computers come to rescue that time.”
– Prince Singh, AVP – Product @ Drishti Soft
Even though chatbots and AI are seen as the future of customer service, there still are some issues. For instance, some customers may feel more comfortable interacting with the conventional customer support systems. Having said that, industry experts suggests that companies open to new technologies and ready to experiment will have a competitive advantage. In fact, with time it is believed that the line between chatbots and humane agents will get blurred.
Chatbots are essentially machines and will not be fatigued or suffer from mood swings (which is a very natural human emotion that can take over the best of us). They will assist customer service departments to bridge the gap and and eliminate the physical limitations of human agents. The bottom line is- AI and chatbots are here to stay. Organizations looking to be leaders in customer service have to be quick in adopting this technology.
Have any doubts? Need some questions answered? Watch our Webinar on “Role of Artificial Intelligence in building a seamless Customer Experience!” to know more about AI-powered Chatbots to improve customer experience.