Brands across the globe are responding to increasing consumer demands for convenience, personalization, and protection of data. The last two years have been a whirlwind of digital transformation, acceleration, and innovation, and it shows in the emerging technologies being embraced. This year, Gartner predicts 70% of customer interactions will involve technologies like chatbots and messaging, which is up from 15% in 2018. While brands may enjoy the operational savings chatbots can deliver, what customers are after is speed.
According to a survey from Solvvy, a customer service automation platform, 55% of all respondents would prefer to use a chatbot immediately, rather than waiting to speak with a live agent. Further, customers say if they knew a chatbot could resolve an issue more quickly, 69% would often or always use a chatbot. It’s clear a robust customer self-service option needs to be part of every brand’s CX strategy.
What is a next-gen chatbot?
Artificial intelligence (AI) software company LivePerson declares these are not the chatbots of yesterday. Instead, these iterations are powered by conversational AI, described as an emerging category that includes technologies that power human-like interactions through automated messaging and voice-enabled applications. Chatbots can be programmed to do (basically) anything, from routine tasks like answering FAQs and checking order status, to updating delivery details, helping with returns, and even walking customers through product selection and purchasing.
Accordingly, expect to see companies aiming for a lot more automation and a lot more conversational AI. Especially considering potential cost savings for customer service. According to Chatbots Magazine, companies can anticipate up to a 30% reduction. But this doesn’t mean companies will lose the real human touch.
Humans are still needed!
During a recent GDS Virtual Roundtable sponsored by LivePerson, Tom Durbin, Director of EMEA Solution Consulting at LivePerson, said he never recommends a bot without a person behind it. The aim isn’t replacing workers, it’s freeing them up to handle more complex queries.
Alan Berkson, Global Director of Community Outreach at Freshworks, also discussed this at a recent GDS Virtual Roundtable, sharing his simple framework for when to use AI: if a problem has happened before and you know how to solve it, AI can help. If it’s a new problem, human touch is needed.
AI was a big topic at a recent GDS Summit as well, with Rob High, IBM Fellow, Vice President and CTO at IBM commenting, “AI is about how these systems amplify humans, human capability, human intelligence – and make us better, both as individuals but also as a society.”
Help me help you
Encouraging utilization of self-service technologies like chats and messaging can empower your customers to help themselves, without the need to wait. Moving customers to digital channels is about coaching them. Teaching them to use digital channels. For instance, if a customer calls the contact center for a password reset, a customized message should tell them exactly where to go on your branded app or company website to change it – and express how swiftly it can be done. LivePerson says statistically, once messaging is offered as an option, 7 out of 10 customers will choose to message when given the option again. A win for customers looking for speedy resolution; a win for brands looking to automate and engage.
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