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How Chatbots & Conversational AI Can Improve Customer Experience

Picture this. When a CEO is asleep, it is midday elsewhere. While he is dreaming, a customer somewhere is unsuccessful in getting help regarding a product. While an entrepreneur is cozy in bed, his competitor is addressing the customer’s requirements. While someone is fast asleep, they have just lost a customer. For most businesses, this is the perfect nightmare.

Today, customer experience (CX) occupies the forefront of every business strategy. The demand for omnichannel presence, multi-geographic locations, digital connectivity, escalating on-the-go customer needs, expanding competitive landscape, and technological bombardment have cumulatively resulted in this business outlook. And satisfying the immediate/end customer requires much more than an online attendance.

One concept that businesses swear by is “customer service must never sleep.” However, is it really possible to answer queries, register complaints, help search, and provide necessary assistance round the clock? One will easily face challenges like resource crunch, overhead costs, and varying customer time zones. Furthermore, CX is not limited to handling queries and engaging with customers. There is an abundance of information that needs to be disseminated and should be consistent across different channels and brand-facing touchpoints. A common practice to meet all the above-mentioned criteria is deploying a chatbot.

What are chatbots and how can they add value?

A chatbot is a form of text-based conversational artificial intelligence (AI) that acts like a “virtual agent” or “personal assistant” capable of answering common user queries, helping them navigate the brand site, filtering down results to smoothen the search, registering their complaints, walking them through processes, tracking orders, redirecting to useful pages, and even enabling them to understand their requirements. All through friendly, personalized conversations. It essentially is a software encoded with the usual static queries and know-how about the company and its products/services that can be deployed on the company’s website, messenger apps, e-mail, SMS, and even voice assistants like Cortana or Alexa. This allows customers to get responses during non-business hours and only complex problems are transferred to a live agent.

It is a known fact that millennial customers prioritize the need for better customer service. As a result, pleasing them will be a mandate, as they will soon constitute a huge proportion of the customer base. According to a study conducted by Salesforce, 80% of customers are likely to choose a brand based on customer service and consider it as important as the quality of the product that they opt to buy. This does not come as a surprise. With the exposure to technology and the internet, customer awareness is at an all-time high. For catering to such a well-informed customer base, the new generation technology of AI chatbots is a one-stop solution.

Several big players, such as HDFC Bank, Thomas Cook, Nestlé, MasterCard, and Spotify, have already boarded the chatbot bandwagon. However, the smaller players are still skeptical about what deploying a chatbot would entail. Their skepticism, although justified, is bound to prove as a setback in the customer service race.

Tomorrow is here today—The Chatbot Paradox

“85% of customer interaction will be free from human involvement by the end of 2020.” - Gartner

Chatbot-based customer service allows human agents to focus on complicated problem-solving conversations. The advanced versions that are machine learning-enabled even learn on their own and build a backend database to suggest preference-based ideas to the user. Such technology weaves unique and personalized engagements where conversations are more human-like than ever.

With the ability to understand human emotions and tone, natural language understanding (NLU) further allows the chatbot to function like an empathetic human brain, supported further by natural language generation (NLG) to provide human-like responses. In addition, the chatbot collects conversation history and stores data to facilitate multi-channel context management, thereby ensuring customers get consistent information across different channels.

With seamless conversations, you can expect better customer satisfaction, lead generation, brand image and traffic management, and ultimately, a profitable ROI.

The Market View

Today, the idea of chatbots and conversational AI has gone past just websites and is used in social media chats, communication platforms, kiosks, e-mail, and mobile applications. However, the big question tormenting decision makers is “how can chatbots benefit my organization in the long run?” To exemplify the same, here are a few large enterprises that have deployed chatbots and conversational AI on multiple channels.

  1. HDFC Bank: Backed by an experience of back 25 years, HDFC Bank is easily one of the earliest players in the modern banking scenario. To help with round-the-clock customer service, HDFC Bank introduced customers to EVA, a chatbot that is available to clarify customer queries through the website, mobile app, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and WhatsApp. Trained based on information that is available on a static knowledge base, EVA is capable of handling 8,000 intents with over 95% accuracy. HDFC Bank’s EVA responds to over 300,000 queries every day posed by users from 19 countries.
  2. Nestlé India: Nestlé introduced NINA, an AI nutrition assistant that answers queries related to child nutrition and finds a large user base among parents. This Google Assistant-based chatbot was made available on the website, Google Assistant, and Google Home devices. NINA helps young mothers build meal plans for their children while receiving timely reminders to do the same effectively. It also provides nutrition-related information, enabling parents to add the right ingredients to their toddlers’ diet.
  3. Max Life Insurance: Max Life Insurance completely automated its email-based customer support leading to an 80% reduction in response times by joining hands with Senseforth.ai. It built an email bot that could not only auto-respond to emails but also segment queries based on intents and send it to the right stakeholders. Integrated with multiple CRMs and databases, it instantaneously performed auto-segmentation and auto-ticketing of emails so that agents no longer needed to review mails and fetch information, resulting in a 60% bump in overall productivity.
  4. SBI Card: Developed by Senseforth.ai for SBI Card, ILA is an interactive live assistant that provides users with the latest information on the bank’s card-related products and services. Embedded with advanced analytics, ILA can generate spend analysis reports and generate leads for flexible payment plans. SBI Card users can log in to the chatbot interface and manage their bill payments, view dues, and perform balance transfers through a simple conversational experience.

The growing chatbot demand in the market has led to the inception of several chatbot solution providers. Driven by a strong passion for technology and innovation, these solution providers are offering AI-powered pre-built models that make it possible to deploy the platform rapidly. A low-code platform reduces the need for dedicated developer-level expertise to constantly update and customize the chatbots. In addition, a single deployment is sufficient to cover multiple channels, such as chat, voice, e-mails, and SMS.

On the maintenance front, conversational AI-based chatbot is like having a child. With the right nourishment and smart moves, the chatbot is self-sufficient within months or even weeks. The AI’s continuous learning ability makes it possible for the bots to learn from feedback loops, drastically reducing the need for human interference.

While there are many chatbot-building platforms and providers, Senseforth.ai stands apart from the crowd with its unique zero-coding environment and pre-trained industry bot models that facilitate quick deployment and minimum IT dependence. One can also opt for an open-sourced chatbot platform if the business owners are heavily tech-inclined and comfortable with developing their own chatbots.

Where is the future heading?

Today, over 64% of customer service agents focus predominantly on complex matters, while smaller problems are handled by chatbots.

The future of CX will have conversational AI taking care of most of the customer service journey. If one is still wondering about AI stealing jobs, imagine streamlining the entire workforce that is spending countless hours doing mundane and repetitive tasks on more demanding assignments. Chatbots (rule-based or AI-infused) open a new realm of opportunities where humans can do so much more than low-skill labor. They are the enablers to overcome the present and future challenges of customer engagement. Now is the time to act and leap ahead of the competition with chatbot-based superior CX.

Are you interested in implementing a Conversational AI solution for your business?