20 Dec Conversational AI is changing the way we help customers
The customer service landscape is changing drastically as we speak. Artificial intelligence is developing rapidly that it’s taking over major industries and attracting billions by way of investors. In their September 19, 2018 spending guide, the market intelligence firm IDC reported that worldwide spending on Artificial Intelligence systems would reach $77.6 billion dollars by 2022.
With Industries like healthcare, retail, and banking/finance now relying on AI for their process automations, it’s only a matter of time before it takes over other industries as well. Like customer service.
How far along are we with integrating AI into the customer service industry? And what are the challenges that we’re facing? Before any of that, let’s start with a definition.
Conversational AI: a definition
Conversational AI is a process that allows computers to answer customer inquiries in a human-like manner. It is powered by machine learning, a technology long designed to proactively learn human processes quickly and more efficiently. A clear and easy example of conversational AI would be what is generally referred to as Chatbots or Answerbots.
They simulate human conversation by recognizing human speech and text, compare that to a database with examples, and offer a preset answer that comes closest to the question. According to Google, their version of conversational AI uses the following advanced dialogue management technologies:
- Automatic Speech Recognition
- Natural Language Processing
- Advanced Dialogue Management
- Machine learning
- Noise Cancelling AI
Artificial intelligence then uses recorded speech patterns to study the human voice’s fluctuations to avoid sounding robotic and monotonous. Programs like Siri and Google Assistant, for example, are the best examples of conversational AI with exemplary speech fluctuation. They progressively improve year over year, sounding more and more human with every generational improvement in their operating software.
Chatbots: a history
Chatbots have gone a long way since its conception in the 1960s. An MIT professor by the name of Joseph Weizenbaum designed the first ever chatbot he named ELIZA. This first version of the technology recognized key words and phrases and matches it with pre-set responses. This created an illusion of human consciousness, and paved the way for future versions of AI.
Customer Service and Conversational AI
The integration of answerbots and chatbots changes the customer service landscape in ways that are beyond just simple efficiency and savings.
Just how are chatbots being used in a contact center context? They are now sophisticated enough to provide interactive, self-service solutions for customers who need help. The following companies are know to use chatbots for their day-to-day operations:
- Pizza Hut
- Whole Foods
Chatbots are helpful for order taking, order follow-ups, and even for simple account updates. Conversational AI works here by gathering all the necessary information from a customer, and provides the best solutions based on their response. This simple automation offers a wide range of benefits for customers that can also boost customer satisfaction ratings.
Some benefits of Conversational AI in customer service
The following are some key benefits of integrating AI with everyday customer service operations:
- Accurate recommendations. Artificial intelligence runs off of actual data and concrete numbers, thereby it is bound by the laws it runs on to provide the best and most accurate responses. It makes critical analysis at a faster rate than an actual human person can. AI takes the data is given and uses it to predict and foresee possible purchase patterns as well, which makes the process of upselling and cross-recommendations easier and faster.
- It speeds up the customer journey. Instead of waiting in queue and having to go through various transfers to get an answer, a chatbot can easily pick up on the customer’s needs. With a lot more focus being dedicated to the customer journey in recent years, investing in a chatbot to speed up basic processes like delivery order confirmation, account balance checks, and other features is a must.
- 24-hour support. This also goes hand-in-hand with the previous benefit. With a chatbot integrated into your operation, you can still offer practical self-service solutions beyond your customer service hours of operation. Instead of having to hire more agents, you can have AI handle simple inquiries by connecting them to a Knowledge Center or a website link with the answers they need.
Where customer service is heading
According to this study conducted by Case Design, the top customer service trends of 2022 include having an Omnichannel Solution and AI integration, just to name a few.
Omnichannel solutions like Zendesk, for example, offers just the right amount of flexibility for companies to leverage according to their needs. The best part about Zendesk is that they can easily integrate AI into their omnichannel, making the investment worthwhile. This hits two trends with one stone!
If you’re in the contact center business, you must know that the landscape is constantly changing. Having the right setup not only ensures that your operation survives, but it also helps make the customer journey a lot simpler. That’s why we at Nautilus are always looking for ways to help you figure out the right solutions for yourself.
Do we recommend artificial intelligence for your customer service operation? Yes, yes do. When is the right time to do so? Right now.