Chatbots are quickly becoming an essential part of delivering customer service. According to a study by IT experts Spiceworks, up to 40% of businesses with 500 or more employees will have active chatbot or AI assistants by the end of 2019. These businesses have discovered the incredible benefits of using AI-related technology in their daily tasks. The right system improves customer interactions without investing in expensive overhead like manpower and training.
While the installation of chatbots won’t eliminate the need for human agents, this technology does lighten the burden on existing workers. By decreasing simple and repetitive tasks, AI assistants minimize the number of routine calls agents need to take, which frees their time to concentrate on more complex issues. For call center managers, chatbots are a cost-effective way to positively impact both customer and agent satisfaction rates.
What Chatbots Should Do
In the past, consumers have angrily rebelled against automated systems. The confusing tangle of questions, menus, and options often fueled aggravation and led to irate customers taking out their negative emotions on exhausted agents. Older IVR systems are notorious for not accurately recording information, having problems with picking up voice signals, and lacking useful information and functions. However, the new age of AI-powered chatbots is changing the way consumers and agents see their potential.
To be its most effective, chatbots should add value to the customer’s experience. When a customer calls a help center, they are looking for the fastest and most advantageous solution to their problem. If an IVR demands too much interaction, customers are likely to lose patience and demand a live operator. Therefore, systems that support fast, efficient, and useful interactions are necessary to satisfy client needs. Some of the most important functions of a chatbot system that enables superior customer interactions include:
- Providing the right answers, fast. No caller wants to spend hours on the phone discussing their issues. They simply want quick and accurate information. An intelligent AI system connects to your knowledge base to provide the relevant information without wasting time.
- Highlighting useful resources. Self-help portals and online information databases are a great way to reduce the burden on busy call centers. An effective IVR will point out self-help options that customers can use without waiting for a human response
- Following correct transfer protocols. When the automated system can’t help the caller, the AI assistant should be able to identify the correct department to resolve the customer’s issue. Automated transfers eliminate the need for customers to repeat themselves, which is a common source of caller frustration.
Features like natural language processing (NLP) allow chatbots to answer questions, provide a verbal summary for customer interactions, and notate accounts after phone calls. The ability to detect and analyze speech patterns is another useful aspect of NLP. Chatbots can assess the stress patterns in customer interactions. When they sense the customer getting upset, the AI system can transfer the chat to a live agent to help diffuse the situation.
The Importance of AI-Capable Systems
AI-powered chatbots are so much more than a money-saving strategy for businesses that rely on contact centers. These systems are becoming a vital part of regular customer interactions for a variety of reasons. With the continued development of NLP-based technology, chatbots will become even more important for daily business operations. By supporting common customer care activities with voice-to-text dictation, simple customer service tasks like paying bills and viewing balances, and directing callers to most relevant sources for information and assistance, chatbots are able to directly contribute to higher rates of customer satisfaction.
Chatbots go beyond simple customer service tasks too. Analytics and reporting capabilities give businesses a new source of information on what makes their customers happy. The information gathered by chatbots can be used to improve agent training, revamp automated systems, produce more relevant self-help options, or even sharpen messages for more effective marketing campaigns. In the social media sphere, AI is being used to supplement human interactions by adding appropriate data and suggestions based on the content of ongoing conversations.
Once again, it’s highly unlikely that chatbots and AI systems will replace human agents any time soon. However, AI-augmented service does facilitate a more positive experience for both callers and agents. For this reason, AI-based systems need to be as intelligent, intuitive, and comprehensive as possible.
How Knowledge Base Systems Make AIs Smart
Despite popular beliefs, AI can’t think for itself. Chatbots are powered by a sophisticated web of algorithms. The AI follows the most logical path based on the information it is provided. Connecting an AI system to a knowledge base provides a link to important data the system can use to answer questions and resolve issues. Filtering this information through a digital AI ensures that the right solution is found quickly and efficiently. In fully integrated systems, customers often can’t tell if they’re being helped by a human or an AI-based entity.
Shelf is an AI-powered knowledge management system designed specifically for call center environments. This unique platform improves customer interactions, agent satisfaction, and call center metrics without a heavy investment of cash or human resources. Contact us to learn more about this exciting system or if you want to see Shelf in action!