When done right, chatbots can be a customer’s best friend. They can reduce support costs, drive operational efficiencies, and accelerate business outcomes in several areas. However, there are two essential principles that need to be understood to realize this value: Not all chatbots are made equal, and (2), how you deploy them matters. In this article, we address 3 key abilities to harness the full value of your chatbot, across your organization.
Why some brands fail with their chatbots
Where many brands get off on the wrong foot is in thinking that all chatbots are AI-driven. This is not the case. Scripted chatbots with a lack of contextual awareness are artificial, but not intelligent.
These kinds of bots are likely to respond to customers’ queries with a “Sorry I don’t understand”, or worse, an “Is this what you’re looking for?” often following-up with a set of irrelevant FAQs. Naturally, this outcome fuels customers’ frustrations.
On the other hand, if a chatbot can interact, interpret, and effectively solve issues, this can drastically change the customer experience and positively impact ROI – having an effect far beyond one department. This kind of success depends on the chatbot’s degree of intelligence and the rich knowledge that enables it.
What does that mean?
Chatbots can be advanced when embedded with powerful Conversational AI that includes technologies such as Machine learning (ML), sentiment tracking, Natural Language Understanding (NLU), and Natural Language Processing (NLP). In short, this is what allows chatbots to drive empathy, reasoning, and ‘human understanding’ in automated conversations.
Then there’s the knowledge aspect: A chatbot is only as good as the knowledge base it’s linked to. Before deploying your chatbot, it must be able to draw its answers from a rich, relevant, and up-to-date content knowledge base. This is the ultimate cornerstone of chatbot success.
The combination of intelligence and knowledge in your chatbots is what can boost self-service success rates, drive better customer experiences, and expedite business outcomes.
The following three chatbot capabilities, in particular, will unlock significant benefits:
1. Enable personalized (self-service) interactions
“The chatbots of the future don’t just respond to questions. They talk. They think…They forge emotional relationships with customers.”
Kristi Olson, one of the world’s leading chatbot experts, said those words some years ago. And now here we are: With evolving capabilities to personalize interactions, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between humans and AI.
In regard to self-service, a chatbot fuelled by intelligence can capture, store, and respond to information (based on previous interactions, questions asked, and answers given). This, in turn, can facilitate the development of a more personalized self-service experience.
Chatbots can also encourage self-service completion by guiding customers through tailored resolution paths. Effectively, this capability can drive down support costs by 15 to 20 percent (according to McKinsey) while significantly improving customer experiences.
2. Assist marketing and sales efforts
Increased efficiencies along with saved operational costs are benefits we typically associate with chatbots. But did you know that Conversational AI can also generate (at least) a two-fold revenue-based benefit?
Firstly, conversational AI can enable chatbots to answer customer queries based on the most valuable outcome, i.e., provide relevant and personalized offers during support interactions or even convert website visitors into paying customers.
Secondly, it can assist sales and marketing efforts. How so? Conversational AI allows bots to monitor and capture customers’ discussions across a range of social media channels and platforms. It can gather key data, regarding buying patterns, customer habits and preferences. This, in turn, can feed valuable insights to drive more targeted and personalized campaigns.
Research by Accenture finds that over 80% of customers are more likely to buy from brands that drive personalization, so AI’s ability to facilitate this can significantly impact the bottom line.
According to Druid, various AI solutions can be trained to respond to customers’ needs handle several situations based on human behavior and capture customers’ interests. This can be far more effective than chasing customers with events, static sales, or marketing campaigns that may not meet their needs or be relevant.
3. Augment omnichannel experiences
Intelligence and knowledge are intertwined and have equal stake in augmenting omnichannel experiences. Together, they facilitate seamless cross-channel transitions and drive consistent messages between them: An effective knowledge base ensures branded messages are consistent, and conversational AI facilitates seamless transitions between the channels.
Customers expect to be provided with the same information whether they interact with a digital or live assistant. And rightfully so. Yet, with rapid and frequent product updates, new launches, and a proliferation of customer touchpoints, it’s never been more difficult or more important to maintain channel consistency.
An effective way to tackle this challenge is by adopting a smart knowledge base that can update information across all channels. This will ensure that chatbots, agents, and other support channels are aligned and equipped with relevant answers from day 1 of a new launch.
Finally, conversational AI can facilitate a seamless transition from self-to-live service when human assistance is necessary. It can also streamline escalations by categorizing calls based on features such as intent or tone of voice. In the process, it hands over the user information – and the journey taken – to the best-suited agent to better equip them for the call. The outcome is a live conversation, driven by connection, expertise, and customer-centricity.
If a chatbot isn’t equipped to understand, it won’t be able to help your customers beyond simple interactions and requests. But, when embedded with knowledge and intelligence, your chatbot will drive value across your entire organization.
Keen to learn how Conversational AI can help your company?