Advances in the fields of AI and business automation are creating novel opportunities for digital transformation. Enterprises that combine these technologies can shift more time-draining tasks to smart systems and gain greater value from the human skills and talent they already have in place.
While intelligent automation has many applications, this technology strategy is gaining momentum in the chatbot arena, where sophisticated virtual assistants can be created to help with anything from 24/7 customer service and conversational commerce to supporting business users by surfacing recommendations and crunching data.
This article explains why intelligent chatbot solutions are attracting so much attention – and outlines 9 ways in which your business can benefit.
- Increase responsiveness
A chatbot solution gives your organisation an opportunity to engage with more customers and clients, across multiple platforms, around the clock. It also provides users with the tools to gain an instant response to their questions and service requests.
In the era of instant gratification, real-time responsiveness and 24-hour availability can boost employee satisfaction and turn your customer experience into a key competitive advantage. A McKinsey study on the B2B customer experience found that 82% of companies that are successful in this area take the view that clients expect interactions that are “real-time, always-on and multi-channel”. Chatbots can get businesses closer to meeting these demands.
- Combine the power of automation and AI
And, as discussed in this article, when conversational assistants are augmented with AI capabilities, they can evolve beyond basic chat services to perform a range of cognitive tasks. For example, developers can now embed AI technologies that drive speech recognition, natural language understanding and machine learning into their chatbot frameworks, to improve contextual understanding and analytical capabilities. This enhances the quality of conversations and enables bots to learn and refine their performance over time – so they keep improving ROI.
- Support employees
Chatbots make wonderful digital colleagues – handling a range of robotic tasks that would otherwise weigh human professionals down. They can be deployed to retrieve information, update systems of record, process customer requests and perform many other tasks involving multiple enterprise systems.
- Robotic process automation (RPA), which uses software bots to execute routine tasks much faster and more accurately than any human could; and
- Digital process automation (DPA), which provides the tools to create custom workflows that can orchestrate the flow of work and data between multiple technology systems and human employees.
Additionally, when chatbots are augmented with AI in combination with RPA and DPA, this creates a solid blueprint for intelligent automation where the chatbot can handle a greater range of tasks; yet also recognise when a query is too complex to solve and automatically re-direct this to the relevant human professional. The result? Skilled people and sophisticated virtual assistants work side by side to increase efficiency and improve outcomes.
- Interact on relevant channels
Your chatbot solution can be integrated with the channels your customers and business users prefer. Having a presence on messaging platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, email, Facebook, WhatsApp and so forth allows your organisation to interact with users on their terms, via the platforms they use every day. This creates a more convenient and personal experience for everyone.
- Personalise at scale
Effective personalisation – the art of tailoring communication and value propositions to suit specific customer needs – can make or break the customer experience. Today, digital personalisation efforts need to go beyond sending emails with the customer’s name in the subject line. By drawing on the AI capabilities discussed earlier, intelligent chatbots can help companies make their user experiences more personal in scenarios such as selling products online or on-boarding new clients through a contact centre. These smart assistants can use natural language processing and machine learning to understand intent and context; and provide more meaningful, tailored responses and services.
While even the most intelligent chatbots are no match for the cognitive and emotional abilities of a human sales agent or personal banker, for example, they can respond faster and serve a much larger volume of customers around the clock. In these ways, they play a valuable role in achieving more personalised customer experiences at scale.
- Analyse sentiment
An intelligent chatbot with in-built sentiment analysis capabilities allows it to identify negative, positive and neutral input by analysing verbal and sentence structuring patterns. Ideally, it should be able to use this intelligence to recognise when a case needs to be escalated directly to a human customer support rep. This way, when customers signal that they are feeling angry or frustrated, they will receive a swift and empathetic response from a real person – hopefully turning a negative experience into a positive one.
This AI category has a wide range of applications in different business and customer service domains.
- Support multilingual communications
For businesses that are expanding into international markets or looking to connect with foreign customers on a deeper level, it’s possible to design an intelligent chatbot solution that can converse with customers in a range of different languages. Speaking to people in their natural language not only reduces the risk of misunderstanding, but also instantly localises the experience – enabling your enterprise to compete with local firms.
- Access actionable insights
All conversations on an intelligent chatbot platform are digitally logged, providing your businesses with a clear audit trail to prove compliance with all relevant data protection regulations, as well as other laws that govern your organisation. You can also regularly review your logs to gather insights on chatbot performance and customer behaviour, to inform a wide range of business decisions and activities.
- Evolve with ease
When your chatbot is built on an agile foundation of intelligent automation technologies, which integrate easily with other systems, you can continue offering a relevant and competitive conversational experience to customers and business users alike. When needs change, you can simply embed new tools and services into the platform to update your virtual assistant’s capabilities.
Ready to capitalise on these benefits and build an intelligent chatbot solution for your business? Get in touch and, if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to register for our webinar: “Better Together: Intelligent Chatbots, Software Bots & Humans” on 11 December.