AI and Chatbots Are Transforming The Customer Experience.

Artificial Intelligence is dramatically changing business as chatbots fueled by AI are becoming a viable customer service channel. The best ones deliver a customer experience in which customers cannot tell if they are communicating with a human or a computer. AI has come a long way in recognizing the content – and context – of customers’ requests and questions.

Studies and reports show that customers want quick, frictionless solutions to their problems and answers to their questions. No doubt there are acceptance issues for AI and chatbots. Some customers have always used traditional phone support and have a hard time accepting anything else. But, there is a growing contingent of customers who are increasingly open to new technology, especially if it can enhance their customer experience. As the technology improves and acceptance grows, chatbots, powered by AI, will have a strong role in customer service and support.

Salesforce first launched an SMS chatbot product in 2014 and has since expanded it to include Facebook Messenger. The company also offers a product called Live Agent Chat, which facilitates human-to-human interactions. Meredith Flynn-Ripely, vice president of mobile messaging at Salesforce predicts that by 2020, the average person will have more conversations a day with bots than they do with their spouse.

“We really see bots as changing the job description and turning agents into intelligent problem solvers”
– Meredith Flynn-Ripely

Leveraging its vast amount of user data, Facebook opened up its messenger platform to developers and businesses in April 2016. Like Salesforce, Facebook already has a lot of data about its users. Artificial intelligence and chatbots are only as smart as the data they have access to. Chatbots built on top of Facebook’s system will likely have more advanced conversation abilities than chatbots built from scratch.

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Many consumers would rather handle customer service issues by chat than over the phone – 56% according to a Nielsen study commissioned by Facebook. But this doesn’t mean the future of chatbots is limited to words. Soon human-voice generating machines would gain popularity in a number of industries as an important customer service tool.

Using artificial intelligence to communicate with customers can lead to better engagement and understanding. Yet there are some technological barriers that need to be overcome before the technology is as seamless as its engineers dream it could be. Once these hurdles are overcome, chatbots could have a much bigger role in our day-to-day lives than they do now.

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