Chatbots and virtual assistants are at the epicenter of the customer service revolution. So, what has caused the rapid takeover of chatbots? Aaron Schliem, Director of AI Enablement for Welocalize, explains.
Expectations have shifted. Brands need to demonstrate their value and support across the whole buyer journey, focusing more on the experience than the sale. And it’s clear that customers are open to these emerging technologies to help make that happen.
According to Servion, AI will power 95% of all customer interactions by 2025, thanks to the much more interactive and user-friendly customer support experience that chatbots offer. Salesforce found that 80% of customers say that their customer experience is just as important as the product or the service, PricewaterhouseCoopers found that one in three consumers indicated that they’ll walk away from a brand that they love if they have just one bad experience, and Replicant revealed that 80% of consumers indicated that they would prefer to talk to a virtual agent than to have a long wait time on the phone.
The main selling points for companies are that chatbots tend to be more cost-effective and efficient. Think about it this way, if you are running a 24-hour call center, you will need to find an office to rent, equipment for calls, and employees who can work throughout the day… And this can be incredibly pricey for most businesses.
The emergence of chatbots has got customer support workers worrying about their future. There’s a fear that these bots will take the place of humans for good. However, you need to look at this emergence of chatbots as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.
Humans and chatbots can work in tandem, and humans will still have a valuable role to play. For example, a more simplistic rule-based chatbot will be able to provide answers to straightforward questions. This allows human support agents to deal with more complex issues.
How is AI Transforming the Chatbot?
By utilizing the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), chatbots can be transformed from basic rule-based programs to systems that can manage a more conversational chat in real-time.
This has opened the door to new developments for the world of customer support, and these developments will hopefully lead to an improved customer experience.
Looking to the near future, the next generation of AI-powered chatbots will use new technologies that make them sound even more human.
We are seeing more and more developers use natural language processing (NLP) tools, as they can be used to further the bot’s understanding of a user’s intent, sentiment, and context. With this information, chatbots can accurately generate answers that are more sensitive to a variety of topics.
Chatbots programmed with NLP are a great option for businesses that need efficient and effective customer service solutions because they allow the user to feel as though they are chatting with a human.
“Knowledge bases still exist, but how many knowledge bases have now been converted to your chatbot experience? Instead of building huge online help systems, you will be developing training data for chatbots. Those chatbots are data-hungry” – Olga Beregovaya, VP, AI Innovation, Welocalize
What Exactly Is Machine Learning?
Machine learning (ML) describes how a system, like a chatbot, retains information from inputs and interactions. The chatbot must rely on NLP to gain and use this new knowledge. As the chatbot continues to learn, it will be able to provide improved answers to queries.
For those of you who operate your business in multiple languages, your bots will need to be rigorously tested with high-quality training data. If the chatbot is programmed with machine learning, it will be able to manage multilingual semantics, grammar, and even market-specific cultural nuances.
What Is Speech Recognition?
This is where conversational AI starts to feel more human. Virtual assistants, like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa are voice-based systems programmed with speech or voice recognition technology. These programs allow these virtual assistants to understand and respond to verbal cues.
It works by translating speech into text. Next, the virtual assistant uses this text to determine the intent behind the request, and then it will process a corresponding response. Finally, they will send the chosen text response to be converted into speech.
Four Benefits of Conversational AI Chatbots
Now we’ve gone over the basics of conversational AI and chatbots, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using them.
1. 24/7 Efficient Customer Service
By using a chatbot, your customer service channels can be open every hour of the day. 24-hour customer service is vital to keeping your customers happy.
Today, customers want quick and efficient customer service. The thought of having to wait hours to solve an urgent problem or having to have the same conversation repeatedly with multiple humans to solve one problem can be incredibly frustrating… and can damage your reputation.
By using conversational AI, you are available for your customers whenever they need it!
2. Availability Across All Channels
Customers now like to have the option of communicating with a brand across all media channels like Instagram, Facebook, or even WhatsApp. So, you need to be able to provide answers across all your channels, not just one or two.
Automating your customer service channels allows you to provide a more personalized service for your customers while remaining on-brand with your customer service delivery.
“Contact centers, or what used to be called call centers are no longer just phones. People are interacting through all sorts of different chat channels, voice assistants, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, web chat, SMS, telephone all of these. AI chatbots help the humans to manage more interactions with customers and help customers get answers faster.” – Steve Tingiris Founder of Dabble Labs and Author of Exploring GPT-3.
3. Stronger Personalization
This is arguably one of the best benefits of conversational AI chatbots. By utilizing this technology, you’ll be able to personalize your services to each customer’s needs. It’s details like this that will get you noticed ahead of your competitors for all the right reasons.
Chatbots allow you to deliver the most accurate answers in a relatable way. Remember, the more personalized your service, the greater your chances of turning your prospects into loyal customers.
4. Expand Your Global Reach
How can customers get the support they need, if the customer service is in a language they don’t understand? Don’t miss out on meaningful customer engagement because of language barriers. CSA Research found that 75% of consumers surveyed in 29 countries said they are more likely to purchase the same brand again if the after-sales care is in their language.
Making your chatbots available in different languages, allows your customer support to have greater reach and influence, and ‘speak’ with customers all over the world. By implementing a multilingual chatbot that meets the local language and cultural expectations, brands can build a stronger connection and trust with customers.
“Conversational AI allows global businesses to transform customer experience touch points into meaningful rich interactions. customers are expecting human-like personalized conversations 24/7, 365 days a year in their natural local language.” – Tiarne Hawkins, Director, AI Services, Welocalize
Even though chatbots have evolved exponentially over the past few years, we still need humans to assist to provide stellar customer service.
And while AI-powered chatbots can reduce the cost and effort of running a call center, you still need human support to solve complex problems. So, you must cement your role in the evolution of the conversational AI chatbot rather than fight against it.
For more information, read “The Power of Localization and AI in Customer Support and Online Help.”
About the Author
Aaron Schliem, is Director of AI Enablement for Welocalize. Welocalize accelerates the global business journey by enabling brands and companies to reach, engage, and grow international audiences. Welocalize delivers multilingual content transformation services in translation, localization, and adaptation for over 250 languages with a growing network of over 250,000 in-country linguistic resources.
Driving innovation in language services, Welocalize delivers high-quality training data solutions for NLP-enabled machine learning by blending technology and human intelligence to collect, annotate, and evaluate all content types. Our people work across offices in North America, Europe, and Asia serving our global clients in the markets that matter to them.