From automated answering machines to AI-powered robots that respond to customers’ enquiries, automation within the customer services field has been constant. The “chatbots as automated online customer support agents” trend debuted in 2016, making a statement it’s here to stay.
Continuous tailoring and engagement quality improvement were among the highest priorities for 2017, and yet, they’re still among the main trends in web development for 2018. When was the last time you engaged with a chatbot? Did you even realize you were chatting with one in the first place?
The projected scenario is that by 2020, approximately 85% of all customer interactions will proceed without human assistance. This presents a clear opportunity for forward-thinking businesses to pursue goals like loyalty improvement, brand recognition, new revenue streams, and even vertical integration.
The pathway to real-time self-service in customer support will definitely set chatbots as the new standard for websites. Allowing 24/7 availability to customers, quicker response rates, sales reinforcement and process optimization. Here are a few clues in regards to why AI-enhanced customer service is unavoidable:
1. The Symptoms
Pre-emptive action: The Forrester report “2017 Customer Service Trends: Operations Become Smarter And More Strategic,” mentions preemptive customer service and how companies will continue to explore the potential of smart entities to anticipate customer needs by context, preferences, and prior queries to subsequently deliver proactive alerts, relevant offers, and content. Additionally, these responses will become smarter over time via embedded AI.
The rise of IM apps: In 2015, the number of people using messaging apps overtook social media as individuals started using messenger to interact with brands. Messaging services are a new space for organizations to connect with existing and potential customers. It creates new revenue streams using real-time, customized customer service bots within instant messaging (IM) apps.
Self-Service Demand: Customer service interactions are constantly evolving. Most millennials tend to avoid situations that normally involve human interaction and prefer self-service options instead. More often than not they turn to FAQs, forums, and online chat or bot services. With the next generation expected to be even more self-reliant, the course has been set.
2. The Benefits
Single Training Sessions: Hiring and training staff takes both money and time, which can quickly get out of hand with an increase in personnel. Automation platforms can tackle both issues at the same time. Better yet, you only have to train it once. Rather than retrain an entire workforce, you only need to re-configure the software.
Customer Support on the Spot: Automated customer service is not constrained by time zones or public holidays. This makes organizations available to customers 24/7. Meaning immediate issues resolution or just available customer support regarding specific know-how.
Quality Mode ON: Customer service fueled by AI technology offers levels of reliability that its human counterparts can’t match. Chatbots are not affected by any afflictions nor biases that can negatively influence a customer interaction.
Cost Saving Innovation: Avant-garde and innovative technologies can deliver optimum quality over conventional customer service at a fraction of the cost.
Escalated Need For Speed: Normally, a quick resolution of customers’ issues equals a good customer service experience. IT and AI have the power to accelerate issue resolutions, therefore improving service satisfaction and empowering businesses to scale up their customer service scope, even in limited conditions.
Personalisation is the New Black: Companies collecting customer data can match big data, machine learning and AI to deliver unparalleled personalization throughout the customer experience. From product/service recommendations to websites redesigned in real-time to adapt to a sole customer’s reading level or browsing habits.
With the assistance of AI and continuously learning chatbots, brands can approach new markets without the limitations that employment and training activities entail. Not to mention, possible language barriers. AI-fueled customer engagement gives companies an option to provide hands-off support service, no matter the time nor the place. Offering a conversational self-service experience that provides answers in real time. Allowing companies to customize to best suit their needs.
Deep analytics offer insights on customers’ engagement and help brands understand their needs, improve the chatbot experience and free up employees from routinary workload so they can focus on more challenging/creative tasks.