An increasing number of businesses are embracing artificial intelligence driven chatbots to enhance their customer service offering, dramatically reduce customer frustration and improve overall customer experience. According to Gartner, the use of virtual customer assistants will triple through 2019 as enterprises seek to increase customer satisfaction and reduce operating costs.
But will the reductions in operating costs and improved conversation management result in AI Chatbots being rolled out across the contact centre and agents being phased out? The answer simply is no. There is a lot of hype around AI and Chatbots and how they will take over, but in reality when it comes to the contact centre chatbots rely on agents and agents rely on chatbots. Why? Because chatbots by design are expert at delivering great customer experiences (if designed right), but they need to feed off a source of knowledge to assist in deep learning and that is where the contact centre agents play their part.
Some interactions and conversations will require a live agent whether that is by choice, or by necessity. AI Chabots can be designed to handle the mundane and easier elements of customer conversations and only involve a live agent for higher value engagements. For many, the whole idea of a chatbot is to replace contact centre agents. But that is not the reality. The goal of AI Chatbots is to:
There is another element to consider, AI Chatbots and live agents can also work in real-time together. Chatbots can assist live agents in responding to customers. Being able to analyse previous customer conversation history, responses and outcomes. AI Chatbots work in the background and offer suggested responses in real-time to live agents helping them better service the customer.
So how in reality is AI being applied and used in the contact centre? Here are just a few ways that deploying Chatbots will result in postive results for the business:
With the growth in messaging apps like Messenger, WhatsApp etc. inbound contact volumes are rising. And with rising contact volumes comes rising contact costs. AI Chatbots can assist in managing inbound conversations -- taking the pressure off live agents, AI Chatbots can manage thousands of conversations simultaneously across all channels. Using intelligent queue, keyword and sentiment rules AI Chatbots determine how best to respond, route and complete conversations. The result is few agents are needed to manage the increased contact volumes and allows agents to be moved onto more value adding activities.
AI Chatbots help the enterprises create a presence in any channel and manage them more effectively by being wherever customers are. Enabling customers to move through channels "at will" and connect with agents without context loss. Whether customers stick to one channel, switch during the conversation or use a new channel each time AI Chatbots seamlessly manage channel switching.
Customers are tired of not getting fast responses- experience long waiting times, delayed e-mail responses, confusing websites etc. AI Chatbots can dramatically improve customer satisfaction and experience levels that can result in positive effect on NPS scores.
So, for the contact centre the winning formula is to let AI and Agents work side by side and let each focus on what they do best.