Today, artificial intelligence is one of the fastest growing technologies within IT operations. Already in 2014, the global artificial intelligence market was valued at about $126 Billion, and that number is expected to reach around $3 Trillion by 2024, which means it is growing at a rate of about 36% a year, according to a report from Transparency Market Research.
One of the main catalysts of this surging market is the use of chatbots in customer service. Many companies around the globe are beginning to add virtual assistants who can provide fast, easy and human-like customer service at first contact and then customer service representatives handle only cases when they have an add-on value.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why:
The vast amount of customer data that is collected by companies is used essentially as the data analyzed by the AI system; this makes each virtual agent only as smart as the data it has been connected to! However, the more data you feed the AI system, the more it learns from the data, the more patterns it recognizes and the more accurately it can communicate with customers in real time. In addition, data sources such as CRM systems, live call transcripts, internal corporate databases, voice transcripts and FAQ’s can all provide virtual assistants with valuable information. This data can be translated into deep machine learning that creates progressively higher and higher levels of intelligence and providing them with the ability to ‘learn’ the correct answer to any question over time.
As customers today expect to receive personal digital experience across all channels at all times, intelligent virtual personal assistants can be easily deployed on almost any interface, including voice response, mobile apps, SMS, the web, and instant messaging. To keep up with the growth of these channels, companies can leverage chatbots to meet the rising volume of support requests. At the same time, chatbots are ironically helping to deliver a more personalized experience as customers don’t have to repeat themselves multiple times to different agents every time they contact an organization. Unlike the results provided by internet searches, which simply match keywords to the requested topic, chat bots are beginning to utilize natural language processing technology, so they actually understand what the customer is asking, and can provide personalized, on-demand service around the clock.
According to Forrester, 77% of U.S. online consumers say that “valuing my time” is the most important part of customer service. One of the main benefits of virtual assistants is that they can greatly reduce the time it takes for your customers to resolve their issues, keeping them happy customers. Customers will initiate first contact for a variety of issues, and once they do, there are various reasons that cause customers delays. When there’s a virtual assistant that’s available 24/7 that can quickly answer questions across multiple channels, it eliminates long wait times or having to be transferred to different representatives in order to resolve their issue, while also speeding up the time in queue for customers who can’t be helped by the virtual assistant.
Not only do intelligent virtual assistants have a huge impact on customer satisfaction, but they also greatly impact company costs. For companies with a lot of volume, increasing automation rates for routine customer requests enables companies to essentially improve customer service levels with fewer agents needed to operate the call center, which also means less space is required, which together can result in millions of dollars in savings on the overall contact center infrastructure.
While virtual customer assistants have the capability to automate many basic customer service functions, the goal is not just about performing the same job with fewer agents, but transforming the role of human agents to focus their attention on the more complex cases, enabling them to provide better and warmer service to their customers. This will not only boost customer loyalty; it can help improve motivation levels for the agents themselves who can connect more to the human element of customer service, and even help reduce the need to keep training new staff in an industry with a traditionally high turnover.
The potential of chatbots for changing how customers interact with companies, and vice versa, as well as the cost savings they offer, is incredible. And as technology keeps advancing, the role of chatbots in customer service and sales will as well. If chatbots are the indeed the future of customer service, the future is now!
Publish Date: April 10, 2017 5:00 AM
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