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Apr 17, 2018 Thomas Cannon

What is a Chatbot, and How is it Used in Customer Service?

Advantage Communications: Let's chat about chatbots

Customer service has long been what makes or breaks a business. A business can have a great service or product, but if it’s not offering an experience that its customers are delighted with, it could soon find itself losing revenue.

Making the most of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots, is a vital step to not just surviving, but thriving - that's why outsourcing your call center is so important.

Any business that has, or still does, use the traditional call centre will be aware of its problems. No matter how much training a representative is given, it’s near impossible for them to meet the ever changing demands of the consumer.

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Whether the representative is waiting on hold while they are trying to get in touch with the appropriate department, or searching one of the many CRMs they have in front of them, the experience can be a slow and sometimes frustrating one for the customer.

Each year $62 billion is lost through poor customer service, according to pwc’s Consumer Intelligence Series.

However, advances in technology have changed the game. This is where AI and chatbots come into play. According to the pwc research, AI can help plug that leak by going above and beyond what humans are capable of doing. Not only can artificial intelligence be used to lower customer effort, but it’s a more efficient way to direct the consumer to the information they need.

Some 60% of consumers agreed that AI can reduce the time it takes to get an answer while still being tailored to their preferences, while 38% said AI can offer a “superior one-to-one personalized experience.”

What is a chatbot?

While the term chatbot was coined in 1994, the earliest example of a chatbot program can be traced back to 1966 when Joseph Weizenbaum created a program named ‘ELIZA’. The program was able to simulate a therapist by using a script to respond to typed questions. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that the chatbot emerged as a viable reality in customer service.

To break it down, a chatbot is a computer program that you can talk to through either a chat window on a website, an app, or by voice. Chatbots have the ability to answer questions, creating a back-and-forth dialogue that is similar to that of a human representative.

While chatbot technology is still in its infancy, AI advances are bettering these programs each day. Techniques, such as machine learning, are allowing chatbots to become more accurate in predicting outcomes and directing users to the correct source of information.

As a result, businesses are increasingly seeing the importance of their role in the customer service experience. In fact, according to research from Grand View Research, the global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.25 billion by 2025.

How are they used in customer service?

Chatbots are useful in numerous aspects of the consumer experience. They provide customer service, they present product recommendations, they engage customers through targeted marketing campaigns and they can provide advice on how to deal with a faulty product or service.

Perhaps most importantly, chatbots are able to direct consumers to the appropriate representative that can help them further. Using complex algorithms, chatbots are able to have a one-on-one dialogue with the consumer to pinpoint their exact need and who they will be best served speaking to.  

What are the benefits?

Available 24/7: Chatbots are available 24/7, meaning customers from all around the world can receive care every hour of every day.

Automation: An automated computer will not become bored of completing the same task over and over again - an employee could. 

Customer satisfaction and reduced customer effort: The complex algorithm of a chatbot means it will always lead customers to the correct information or representative, they are not led by emotion.

Multitasking: Chatbots are capable of dealing with thousands of people at any given time. The average human can only focus on three or four tasks at any given time.

Don’t get us wrong, chatbots aren’t some all-inclusive solution to customer experience, but they can become an important aspect of your ongoing customer service plan. An interaction with a service representative can make or break a relationship between a business and their client, and the use of a chatbot can help you streamline that process.

Artificial intelligence is certainly the future of customer service, and chatbots will no doubt play an important role. 

For more information about outsourcing your customer service to a call center in Canada, serving global clients, contact us today. 

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Published by Thomas Cannon April 17, 2018