AI Chatbot – How it all started?
It is observed that Artificial Intelligence (AI) bots and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), are the trending topics for quite some time. Any technology that has a futuristic viewpoint will have good reception among the technology experts, in similar lines, the craze for AI chatbot began in the year 2016 when Facebook announced a developer-friendly platform to build chatbots on Facebook Messenger. Soon, Chatbot was considered as the next stage of the communication revolution and many technology-based companies came with their bots to capture the new-found market. In the next two years, there were about 100,000 bots available in the market, with multiple features that address almost 1.3 billion users. Some of the popular chatbots that are in use for virtual assistants are Alexa for Amazon Services, Siri for Apple Inc, Cortana for Microsoft Inc and Google Assistant for Google Inc.
How do chatbots work?
Chatbots are built on processes called Natural Language Processing (NLP), Machine Learning and Deep Learning. When a text (both written and spoken) is presented to a chatbot by the user, it undergoes a process called “Parsing” in which the bots make series of algorithms that interprets (decodes) and identifies what the user means and/or want, and provide appropriate responses based on the information gathered. The good news about chatbots is that it is being looked upon as a welcome kit across various industries and just not technology-driven companies. For instance, in countries like the US, Legal chatbots are built where it helps you to file appeals again traffic violations.
The belief that Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chatbots are the next big thing in Customer Service, Marketing is widespread among companies. On that note, let’s find out how AI chatbots are useful in creating a better customer experience that is beneficial to both customers and companies.
Benefits of AI chatbots to Customers:
The reason to mention benefits to customers first is that anything that benefits customers is a direct benefit to companies, as it can deliver better customer service. Hence, bots have become a sensation in providing better customer experience in the recent past.
- 24/7 Support: While this can be considered as a certain benefit to customers, this becomes a challenge when bots are down due to maintenance or security issues. Hence companies need to ensure the availability of alternate bots that can replace during the maintenance period.
- Instant Answers: No matter how many customer service representatives are available to respond, there are instances when the traffic is huge – it becomes a problem to address their queries, hence there is a waiting time to respond. But, Chatbots solve this issue instantly.
- Steady Responses: The customer has no assurance that all the reps would provide the same responses to a query, hence there is a tendency to call back to confirm with the other reps. But an AI Chatbot can provide a steady response to the same query when asked multiple times.
- To record the conversation: While talking to a customer service representative the customers don’t have the privilege to record what they speak, and most customers don’t like their calls being recorded from the company’s side. But when chatting with the AI Chatbots, customers can take a screenshot of the conversation for future references.
- Instant Transactions: Customers these days want instant transactions and not willing to wait in a long quest with the technology in hand. Bots help customers to do simple and instant transactions – some of the bots allow customers to do transfer money, book hotel rooms, buy train tickets, and more.
- Endless Patience: There is a high chance of customer service representatives losing patience while on a long conversation, bots are machines which are yet incapable of being impatient.
- Programmability: Customers can utilize AI chatbots to arrange meetings, set reminders, and assist in advance search functionalities on a regular basis which a customer service representative cannot do.
Benefits of AI Chatbots to Companies:
- Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: All the points mentioned above will improve customer satisfaction which in turn will increase the retention rate of customers.
- Cost Effective: One customer representative can only handle one customer at a time, whereas a bot can handle multiple customers at a given time, hence it a huge cost saving for a company.
- Cost Optimization: Most companies will focus on reducing the cost and lose on the quality of the service, hence if a company is willing to invest a little more in developing a comprehensive chatbot which can bring:
- Provide measurement with chat concurrency (multiple computations are happening at the same time)
- Automate end-to-end business process
- Enable new customer service models.
- Improved Accuracy: Bots built with machine learning can learn from customer queries and address customer queries in a much better way in the future. Hence, companies willing to strategize their AI chatbot implementation considering these learning curves are certain to deliver more accurate responses.
- Faster Turnaround Time: A quicker response is valuable, but providing an accelerated resolution is gold. With the current process where a customer service rep is involved, the queries are heard, passed to a technical or solving team which will then provide a solution and addressed back to the customer again via customer service rep. Whereas with bots, these can happen in a real-time where bots collect all the information of a customer and send it ahead of time. For example: When a waiter takes an order using a bot, it sends information to the chef, intimates once the order is ready, and served faster than before.
- Faster Onboarding: This is one of the important benefits from a company in order to create an optimized customer service management. The time and cost involved to hire employees, train and onboard them is much higher when compared to create a bot and feed the necessary information. Also, when an employee leaves the company, there is an extra burden for companies to replace and train again.
- Automation: Humans generally get bored and become less productive when doing the same task repeatedly. Chatbots can be automated to perform these repetitive tasks which in turn allows the employee to focus on more productive jobs. For example: When new items are purchased from your e-commerce site or a bug is reported then it sends a short summary slack to the corresponding team.
- AI Chatbots are flexible: Once the chatbot is developed based on your company’s product or service, it is very easy to make changes in the future if needed, since not much time and cost is involved to develop and change platform.
These are some of the key benefits associated with AI chatbots and there are few other benefits like tracking customer chats, collecting the data and sending to the customer engagement analytics to interpret the same. By doing this, the company can understand what a customer expects and would allow them to create personalized products and services in the future.
Does AI Chatbot really provide better customer service to your customers?
As with any other technology that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning, there are few limitations that are associated with AI chatbots. Some of the limitations could be:
- The dialogue expertise is limited to a very specific format or set of questions that are currently established by the development team.
- The accent and language are a significant barrier for chatbots, and this becomes a more significant limitation for companies operating in different geo-locations.
- Though bots are very responsive, they cannot take a conversation and answer multiple questions at the same time.
- Not all customers are comfortable/familiar with chatbots due to their limited understanding.
- The ability to hire trained teams and partner with organizations are rather on a slower side when compared to the potential it offers.
Solution to address these limitations:
Many companies which have started early with this AI-based technology are doing well since they had the time to understand and learn from their mistakes and implement an upgraded version. So being an early bird is one big way to build an all-inclusive AI chatbot which can serve the purpose. The research conducted by Accenture on 12 developed economies in the year 2018, identifies that Artificial intelligence and tools associated could double annual economic growth by 2035.
The evolution of mobile phones is a classic example of how technology has helped companies to build high tech smartphones which are available in today’s market. Likewise, AI and machine learning are growing at a pace where automation developers are coming up with technologies that can clear the path creating an Artificial Intelligence Future.
Some of the measures taken by AI-based companies are:
- To integrate AI/machine learning with human intelligence - so they can be successfully coherent, in order to create a generation of Artificial Intelligence, which in turn ensures people contribution.
- To customize AI chatbots as per industry, which also allows companies to customize the tool as per the requirement
- Use the right technology to address the requirement of clients, a few companies might require just Natural language processing whereas others might require additional services, hence establishing a clear framework is essential for building the right Artificial chatbot.