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Cara Shrivastava July 21st, 2020

As technology continues to grow with no limit in sight, businesses are often expected to adapt and meet their customer’s expectations. When convenience becomes the prime deciding factor, a business needs to streamline communication and the customer journey to best answer to a consumer. As a result, one of the most popular choices for a business today is the shift to AI-powered chatbots.

What is an AI Chatbot?

In simple terms, a chatbot is an online robot programmed to respond immediately and effectively via an online chat service. When it is powered by artificial intelligence (AI), these bots begin training themselves to understand a customer and how to best respond in different situations. This may sound complex or unfeasible but a study has predicted that 80% of businesses will make the shift to incorporate a live chatbot as part of their services. This is because consumers have continuously reported that a majority prefer chatbots due to their efficient and timely responses.

Chatbots can cater to a variety of functions such as that of a personal assistant (think of Alexa or Siri), a sales representative to finalise quick sales or help a customer out, or simply to bring a brand’s persona to life (Disney’s chatbots). Chatbots are not restricted to exchanging words or answering queries. Beyond serving as the first line of contact, they can handle complex transactions such as financial transactions, increase productivity by solving problems prior to them becoming problems, perform analysis, exchange documents and send reports.

Having a chatbot as part of a workforce has also helped boost productivity — allowing employees to focus on other tasks while chatbots attend to customers to obtain basic information, then redirecting to a live employee to finish the conversation if necessary. Chatbots can also take on the second half of the conversation, to collect feedback or to provide personalised content from observing the conversation.

The Dos and Don’ts of Chatbots

With all technology, comes certain faults. With AI chatbots, the biggest cause for concern is the lack of ‘human’ assistance or emotion. Do not rely on your chatbot for every single customer transaction — it could lead to lower levels of satisfaction amongst your customers. Remember, your chatbot is meant to help ease or streamline a process, not run it. Achieve a balance between robot and human interaction to keep consumers happy. Ensure that consumers have the option to opt for a human interaction if preferred. Remember, AI helps make our work easier; especially when it is repetitive. They cannot entirely replace the human workforce.

Another mistake companies can make is to employ the use of a chatbot unnecessarily. Ensure you’re building it to accurately respond to a task or service; not merely for novelty’s sake. Also, you’re building it to grow with your company — ensure that there is room for growth for the chatbot in the future. AI chatbots are a great investment especially if you continue to program and alter it to meet your company and consumer’s needs.

Understand that technology is continuously chasing after an imaginary finish line; hence when you attempt to input the same into your business, it’s going to need continuous work. AI chatbots need training and testing over time, but when used correctly, they can massively boost your workforce’s productivity and efficiency. Chatbots can also help cut costs in the long-term by giving companies a 24-hour form of customer service. Unanswered queries can be forwarded to staff who can answer them within working hours. AI chatbots can also customise the user experience to create unique responses by studying the consumer’s reactions or emotions.

Several brands have made the shift already, installing online chatbots as well as voice bots who help handle customer service over the phone, redirecting calls once enough information is gathered. This helps reduce queue time, helps automate general queries, caters to specific preferences and largely saves an employee’s time.

In conclusion, companies need to look into achieving a balance between robot and human interaction; and to build and adapt to new technology. Customer service and relationship management is the next big thing — don’t get left behind!

If you’re looking for a solid first step into the world of AI or chatbots (or both!), reach out to us at [email protected] for advice.

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