More and more of everyday life is becoming automated through developments in artificial intelligence (AI), making interactions with “robots” a common daily experience. Artificial intelligence is already employed in various industries to deliver information or perform tasks, such as making purchases or booking reservations.
One of these now customary interactions is through chatbots – a robot that imitates human conversations through either text, chat or voice commands. Chatbots are useful because they can provide customers with information that’s requested often, such as popular FAQs on your website.
All it takes to implement is a solid database of answers to common customer queries. The computer will then do the leg-work, ‘data mining’ for the most appropriate response which it will return to the customer and ask whether the answer was helpful. A chatbot which is easy to use will help engage customers and build your brand.
However, it is apparent throughout a range of industries and sectors that the importance of the human touch is invaluable. In this post we will discuss the rise in chatbots and the advancements that have been made towards automating call centres. Have no fear though, the human touch is still very much valued and necessary today in order to manage customers’ expectations and requirements.
The rise of chatbots
With the continuing advancements in AI the use, and necessity, of chatbots is increasing in many sectors.
One advancement in the technology is natural language processing. This helps to mimic human speech patterns to emulate a human tone more convincingly in a computer-human interaction, giving more reassurance and confidence.
Moving forward, sentiment analysis in machine learning will take this to the next level, using language analytics to determine the attitude or emotional state of a user they are communicating with in any given situation. Success with this has alluded even the most advanced chatbots so far due to an inability to detect certain questions and comments from context.
But developers are working toward chatbots that automate more processes and develop and learn over time.
This machine learning in AI comes from continual feedback and improvement. For a call centre chatbot, helpful responses – as stated by the user – will be prioritised over others through a satisfaction scoring system.
Crucially, however, there is a limit to the complexity and range of questions chatbots will be able to source answers to. When a bot can’t provide an answer or gives one that isn’t relevant, then the responsibility will be passed over to a member of staff to help find the information they need.
Should you be worried about call centre automation?
With all this advancement and personification of chatbots it’s easy to assume the worst – that in the future chatbots will develop further and further into ‘call centre bots’ which will replace the human workforce.
But despite all the developments and possibilities AI presents, machine learning is a long way off reaching the level required to respond successfully to complex queries without an extensive database covering all conceivable topics.
To this end chatbots are not the enemy for call centres – at least not yet. Instead they should be considered a valuable asset which helps improve business processes. Customer service is still incredibly important to any business and the personal touch and emotion that you can receive through contact centre solutions such as call handling has not yet been beaten.
Chatbots benefiting your business
Integrating chatbots for an AI contact centre, or any business for that matter, may feel counterintuitive; do they really provide the best customer service, better than another human on the end of a phone?
Call centre automation can, however, bring real benefits, providing a business presence during out-of-hours when enquiries are likely to be minimal. Likewise, they can give an instant helping hand during peak hours when employees are pushed to their limits in terms of capacity.
Not only this, but they can bear the brunt of dealing with predictable, frequently asked questions that require repetitive responses, freeing up staff to work on more unique and difficult queries without the monotony to worry about.
As discussed they have limitations but when implemented correctly it’s not beyond reason to predict both business efficiency and employee productivity rises.
For effective use, the topics and questions a chatbot is responsible for need to be straightforward with appropriate planning. They should also be monitored and reviewed on a regular basis to ensure they are helpful in providing customers with a good service, as opposed to becoming a frustration, which can ultimately lead to a loss in business.
Full call centre automation is a long way off, if at all, but while AI chatbots aren’t in a position to take our jobs, they should be considered for implementation. Through using this technology for simple enquiries, the hours that can be saved and made available to talented professionals to better do their job will only go to show further how important the human element of a call centre is.