Chatbots in Contact Centers: Why is this on the rise?

The ever so increasing discussion around chatbots,conversational AI, and its implications on the way we work is an important one. With companies like Google and Salesforce leading the way for AI adoption, the future ahead is clear.

But aside from the pedigree of these major companies, there are other reasons why we’re choosing to adopt AI and its counterparts into our different operations. Let’s look at some examples of conversational AI and how it is being implemented in different fields.

What is a conversational AI?

In its simplest sense, IBM defines conversational AI as technologies that customers or users can talk to. They do so by using large amounts of data , and by the power of machine learning and natural language processing, it helps imitate human conversations.

Machine Learning — this is a field of artificial intelligence that helps leverage huge amounts of data to learn, build, and develop methods to increase performance on a particular task. It does so by learning particular algorithms built on sample data, and using these data sets create predictions that help guide the decisions of a program.

Natural Language Processing — this is another subset of artificial intelligence that covers the interactions that exist between humans and computers. The intention of this field is to help computers become better at analyzing human language, and given the various documents available online, help them better imitate, extract, and organize this information.

Chatbots and modern uses of conversational AI

The contact center of today is vastly different from where it was, say, twenty years ago. For one, it’s a lot more streamlined. Secondly, it isn’t as challenging given that there are new technologies being implemented to help customers achieve resolution themselves or by way of the internet. One such example that we’re looking at today would be chatbots.

A chatbot is a computer program that runs on artificial intelligence and can be embedded on any messaging platform. They are best utilized to help ease the customer service journey, and to free up actual agents’ times for more important inquiries.

It does so by engaging the customer from the onset of an interaction, either by chat or via voice, and handles the more mundane information gathering aspect of the interaction. Instead of keeping them on hold and passing them from one agent to another, a chatbot can help streamline the journey and to avoid causing frustration on the customer’s end.

Most chatbots are programmed to recognize human speech patterns, again by way of AI, and this helps improve the customer experience tremendously. Moreover, chatbots are smart enough to the point that they can handle simple tasks like profile management, balance inquiries, and appointment setting. This helps in maximizing contact center resources tremendously.

Major reason why we recommend chatbots for any contact center

A real conversation that decision makers in the contact center industry often have is one regarding productivity and how to increase it. To do so usually requires improving the quality of customer service while spending the least amount of money. What tool today helps them achieve that? If you said conversational AI and chatbots, you guessed right!

The simple act of integrating a conversational chatbot into your built-in messaging platform opens up a two-fold benefit: it helps streamline the customer journey and offers a reliable self-service option for customers who would rather solve their own issues than talk to a live agent.

In an evolving marketplace, giving customers as many options as possible is the best way to adjust. Moreover, having self-service solutions readily available frees up your resources, especially with regards to staffing.

Will chatbots be bad for contact center agents?

While there may be some fear surrounding the rise of conversational AI, these fears are mostly unnecessary. People thought the internet was going to displace librarians, but that proved untrue. It only helped hasten the developments around books and literature, but the organizational expertise of a skilled librarian will always be needed.

The same can be applied for how chatbots will affect the customer service industry. Chatbots just cannot simply replace agents, what with them lacking compassion, infallibility, and everything else that makes customer service agents great. Bots simply cannot offer the human touch that agents are trained and instinctively offer.

And though artificial intelligence has gone a long way since its initial entry into the customer service industry, they have so much more to go. For the most part, the best way to look at chatbots would be as tools — they aren’t meant to replace live agents, but merely to help them. By taking away the more mundane and repetitive tasks out of the whole customer service interaction, chatbots are helping both the agents and the customers.

These tools are here to stay, and if we play our cards right they’ll be around for a long time.

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