“The technology itself is used primarily to enhance efficiency, though leading CX firms use AI “to bring a deeper level of customer understanding, driving customization and a personalized journey.” Nine-in-10 survey respondents said since incorporating AI, they had seen measurable improvement in the speed of complaint resolution. Eight-in-10 said AI had enhanced the number of calls they were able to process.
While it’s still early days yet with AI, success stories have started to emerge.
Rakuten, a Japanese ecommerce firm, has been able to move three quarters of inbound calls to chatbots, greatly increasing the volume of calls the company can handle.
Canadian mobile telecom carrier Telus was able to offload 40 percent of calls to chatbots, improving service levels and cutting customer wait times from an hour to 2.5 minutes, improving operational efficiency as well as CX. Customer service representative satisfaction also improved.
Alibaba, the Chinese version of Amazon, used AI-powered chatbots on the company’s Tabao site to handle more than 93 percent of customer queries in 2017, which company officials say would have required 83,000 human agents working around the clock. Alibaba now offers these chatbots as a standalone service.”
“In a move to step up their customer experiences, more retailers are embracing artificial intelligence (AI). This was according to the third quarterly ‘2017 E-commerce Performance Index,’ a report from SLI Systems.
54% of companies reported they are using or plan to add AI in the future
20% expect to add AI within the next 12 months
The most popular applications for AI — among both existing retail users and those that plan to use AI within the next 12 months – are:
“David Marcus, Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook, revealed that there are now 11,000 chatbots on Facebook reaching almost a billion users. Facebook M, the company’s text-based virtual assistant feature, has been modified to make the AI better.
‘M will make automated suggestions based on chat intent,’ he wrote last month. ‘These suggestions will help you get more from your Messenger experience by shortening the distance between what you need to do and getting it done.’”
Chatbots are one segment of AI (artificial intelligence) that I haven’t written much about thus far, but it’s an exciting and interesting area. For starters, we should begin by answering the question, “What is a chatbot?” To assist, I’ll share this article on newatlas.com by Emily Ferron titled, “Mobile 101: Whatare bots, chatbots and virtual assistants?” It does a nice job of laying the foundation and describing bots and chatbots. Also, to better understand where chatbots fit within AI, I’d recommend this article/graphics on the site thinkgrowth.org by Mimi An titled, “Artificial Intelligence and You: Demystifying the Technology Landscape.” They’ve plotted the elements of AI based upon the intersection of Sophistication and potential for Mass Adoption. This article has tremendous content…be sure to check it out.
Now, let’s tackle the question of the best use-case for a chatbot. There are many potential applications, but my favorite is…customer service. Why…you ask? The current state of AI and chatbots is eerily similar to beginning days of the mobile.
If you re-wind the clock 9 years, I was a VP and product manager for Huntington Bank based in Columbus Ohio. We were at the fore-front of developing the earliest mobile banking solutions nationwide. In fact, here’s the announcement in a blog post title, “Huntington Mobile Banking” that I shared on June 30, 2008 on my Mobile Banking blog. So, how do you think we built our very first business case for mobile banking? That’s right…customer service. Our goal was to reduce the number of expensive calls being fielded by live agents for basic information such as, “Has my direct deposit posted?” And most importantly…it worked. We were able to drive a 30% reduction in calls for the use-case segments that we built into the solution, and achieved our 12-month user goals in a fraction of the time.
To help re-inforce this point, I like the article posted on venturebeat.com titled “What to do about the chatbot dilemma.” In this article Tobias Goebel does a terrific job of building the case for using chatbots to aid with customer service and credits the Facebook CEO by saying, “You could argue it started in April 2016, when Mark Zuckerberg introduced Businesses on Messenger at F8 by saying: ‘I don’t know anyone who likes calling businesses.’”
So, to recap, we now understand what a chatbot is, a beginning use-case, a supporting quote from an industry leading CEO, and some broad strokes of how to construct a business case. The only thing left to do is actually build your chatbot…and I have some potential tools to help you with that as well.
This is an article by John Rampton on entrepreneur.com that is titled “Top 10 Best Chatbot Tools toBuild Chatbots for your Business.” I’ve used a few of these tools but many of the others I have not yet vetted. As with anything, each tool has pros/cons and you’ll need to evaluate each within the framework of your business and what you’re looking to accomplish.
Finally, be sure to check out Botlist if you’d like interact with some bots currently in the market to get your creativity flowing.