How Conversational AI Will Change Customer Service
With the rise of the digital age, customer expectations have changed, and AI is one of the big disruptors.
People want immediate answers and they want them in an efficient manner. On top of that, 56% of B2C and 79% of B2B clients expect their customer support reps to know who they are as soon as they start to chat.
However, their expectations go even higher. Both B2C and B2B customers now want businesses to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions before they’ve even reached out for support.
It would be difficult to imagine having these expectations met without the use of conversational AI, which is gradually evolving and transforming customer service as we know it.
What Is Conversational AI?
Conversational AI is the use of chatbots, messaging apps, and speech-based assistants to automate communication with customers, while at the same time personalizing it and giving it a natural, human feel.
Thanks to the rise of natural language processing technology and conversational interface, AI is used to create human-like interactions with customers, most often without the need for involving an actual human representative.
Conversational AI can listen to the customer, comprehend the meaning, form, and context, and provide a meaningful response. In cases that are too complex for conversational AI to handle, it will direct the task to a human representative, to step in and address the issue.
The main difference between your regular chatbot and a conversational one lies in the fact that the first isn’t capable of producing flexible and spontaneous feedback based on what the customer is talking about. Traditional chatbots are algorithms containing a predefined set of answers.
Conversational chatbots learn from the interactions with customers and generate responses in regard to their particular questions and issues.
As the technology becomes more advanced and sophisticated, it will be almost impossible to tell whether you’re having a conversation with an AI chatbot or an actual customer support representative.
Here are some of the ways conversational AI can enhance customer service and boost customers’ experience.
Reduced Waiting Times
When it comes to customer service, if you want your customers satisfied and your sales flourishing, you need to reduce your waiting times.
Statistics show that the speed of response and the speed of resolution are the two most important factors of customer service no matter what channel is used for communication.
Fortunately, chatbots are able to meet the expectations of the customers, deliver immediate response and successfully resolve 80% of issues.
Apart from satisfied customers, your business will benefit from a satisfied workforce too. Your customer service reps won’t be losing their time and their energy on tedious, menial tasks and they would need to handle significantly less nervous customers, tired from waiting on the adequate response.
Besides that, conversational AI will engage customers in conversations because it can throw in extra information and doesn’t produce canned, pre-written phrases, but actual, meaningful sentences.
Another thing customers want is to be able to get information about the products and services you offer 24/7.
They expect customer service reps to always be available and provide them with adequate support whenever they reach the online shop or visit the website to browse the products or solve the issue they’re having. Let’s not forget that there are also different time zones which further complicates the matter.
Conversational AI has made it possible to meet such customers’ demands. Chatbots never need to sleep or rest, they are not influenced by time zones and never need to take a vacation.
And most importantly – they’re always calm, polite, and pleasent. Even when an unpleasant customer comes along.
One of the first modes of implementing AI on your website can be using a FAQ bot to provide answers to frequently asked questions and enable customers to quickly get the information they want without going through all the web-pages or being put on hold.
Another major shift in customer service has a lot to do with the quality of the service you provide. Customers want their reps to know who they are and what they need. They want them to be aware of the previous history they had with the company, and all previous communications they’ve made.
While a human service representative could get all this data and take it into account, it would take them a significant amount of time to grasp it.
On the other side, conversational AI can take all this into account quickly and tailor its communication with the customer, so that the experience the customer gets can be personalized in a unique way.
For example, the Sephora app tells its customers when it's time to purchase new products and gives them recommendations based on their taste and preferences. It also gives them a chance to try out the latest styles and looks, helping them make a decision about their next purchase.
People use a variety of different channels when they’re communicating with each other, switching between them when they find appropriate.
Your customers would like to have the same experience with the service you provide. They want to be certain that they continue their conversation exactly where they left off, on whatever channel they choose for their communication.
When you plan on using AI for your customer service, make sure it can be deployed on a variety of channels so that your users are able to successfully switch from Facebook Messenger to Amazon Alexa or Skype if that’s what suits them.
Conversational AI is changing customer service and bringing it closer to the demands of customers. It can help with personalizing the buyer’s journey and making it more convenient, while simultaneously saving companies a lot of time and money.
About the Author
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients. He recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael's work at Qeedle.