If we look back at our movies from about half a century ago our perception of future technology was slightly amusing. We thought there would be flying cars, life-threatening robots, and microwaves that will provide us fully cooked meals.
Now there is no need to be too disheartened, artificial intelligence (AI) has indeed come a long way since its days of initial inception.
Machines are increasingly becoming more capable of performing ”human-like” tasks. From understanding the highest level of game systems to having fully automated cars, and even the successful understanding of human speech patterns – AI is slowly but surely evolving into a force to reckon with.
Many businesses, big and small, have begun to understand the importance of artificial intelligence in their business and have gradually shifted towards chat functions as a method of providing customer service.
Keep reading to learn about these chatbots and what they mean for your business.
Call Centers – Outdated Communication Format
In a traditional call-center setting you have agents working in their given cubicle, providing customer service one phone call at a time. However, with AI technology developing at a rapid pace this style of customer service may not survive much longer. Thanks to a little software called chatbots.
A chatbot is a software application that is designed to perform an online conversation with a client via text or text-to-speech. Now even though chatbots have been around since 1966, with the release of ELIZA, it was not until 2014 when Salesforce launched their SMS chatbot that things set sailing. This ultimately led to Salesforce lending their product to Facebook Messenger.
Chatbots – A Mean to the End
It’s a common misconception that chatbots are designed to completely eradicate the human connection when it comes to customer service. That is NOT the case. The idea of chatbots is to complement the live agent. Languages and their levels that sometimes go beyond the control of chatbots are mostly handled manually by humans or by language translation technologies, such as Torjoman.
Now the question arises, how does software complement a human? Depending on how elaborate you want the chatbots to be, can vary the type of assistant they offer the live agent. This can be something as straightforward as asking the client their name and account number to something more in a conversation format.
With more companies adopting chatbots as the more normal way to converse, call centers are expected to go through major changes. Now while the majority of customer service conversations will still be a phone-based experience, many clients almost go-in with an expectation of dealing with automated chatbots. More so, studies indicate that once a company transitions to chatbots, customer satisfaction increases marginally and voice calls see a rapid decrease.
Creating A Flawless Experience
The ultimate goal for any company is to create a streamlined and flawless experience for their customers. Makeup mogul Sephora intends on accomplishing exactly that via their Facebook page. Sephora uses a platform called Assist to redirect any messages they receive on Facebook to chatbots.
If a chatbot is unable to assist the customer the request is passed to a human customer service agent using another service platform called Sprinklr. It is a known fact that artificial intelligence is only as good as the information that it receives. Since Facebook is a minefield of data collection, it allows for the chatbots to cultivate a more personalized experience for customers.
More Than Just Text
Facebook conducted research that indicated that 56% of people preferred to handle their business via a chat rather than on phone calls. However, the future of chatbots is more than mere text.
Image recognition is not a new concept. Search engines such as Google and applications like Pinterest have utilized this feature to its fullest potential. Image recognition enables users to search for any untagged images or even sort them into categories. A prime example of this can be seen in your phone picture gallery. If you search by miscellaneous item name and your phone will scan and churn up any pictures from your gallery with the requested item.
Pullstring is a company looking to take things a little further. In its initial phases, Pullstring used to create interactive voices for kids’ toys, since then they have expanded their wings into more creative fields. Such as the audio-based chat functions for Amazon’s Alexa. However, making Alexa a household name was not such an easy task. Pullstring president Michael Fitzpatrick wanted to create continuity and brand messaging that goes beyond a human-level.
For example, thanks to years of intuitive advertising two brands who have done this successfully are Geico and Progressive. Their respective mascots Flo, an insurance agent, and the infamous Gecko are recognized worldwide. Fitzpatrick hopes to achieve the same with Alexa, making ’her’ intuitive and personal as possible. They even take a step further by offering voices of well-known celebrities to create that much of a unique experience.
Hurdles To Overcome
A thing about technology is that no matter how advanced it is it always seems behind for its time. That’s the primary issue with artificial intelligence. The rate of speed at which artificial intelligence processes information and how fast that information is fed to chatbots are two of the biggest restrictions faced by companies at the moment.
Likewise, it is equally important to ensure to feed the chatbots the ’right’ information. Microsoft’s Twitter-trained chatbot Tay is a perfect example of this. Tay was launched to interact with people online, however, it quickly became an embarrassing situation for Microsoft when people online taught Tay racial slurs. Ultimately, leaving Microsoft to take Tay offline and ensuring information is filtered more thoroughly.
Potential Waiting To Be Unleashed
In the modern age, people have come to a no-nonsense mentality. Therefore, when it comes to customer service industry efficiency is everything. Artificial intelligence and chatbots look to offer the most optimum experience. Some even go as far as saying that the time is not far away from when you may have a personal assistant chatbot that will take care of your basic daily tasks. It’s only a matter of integrated technology, efficiency, and human demand into one beautiful flow.