Artificial intelligence in customer dialogue

How chatbots can help you optimize your customer experience

Artificial intelligence in customer dialogue
Sandra Schröter, International Head of Customer Engagement for Bold360 at LogMeIn

If you search Google for the term “customer experience”, you will see billions of hits. It is difficult to determine how to create a positive user experience. For businesses, good CX not only means happy customers, but also a better Net Promoter Score (NPS) and an increased conversion rate. Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots can make a big contribution to this. At least that is what Sandra Schröter, International Head of Customer Engagement for Bold360 at LogMeIn, says.

How can companies use AI meaningfully as part of customer engagement?

AI helps companies improve the customer engagement journey and make it more customer-friendly. Natural Language Processing, the type of AI that enables the understanding of natural language, is used, for example, by AI chatbots to understand the intent of a customer’s request, enabling them to answer questions quickly and accurately. However, AI is also being used behind the scenes to help employees quickly find the right answers, e.g. in live chat situations.

Live chats are very well liked by customers. However, if they notice that a bot is providing the answers, they often lose confidence and break off the conversation. You say chatbots can improve the customer experience. How does this fit together?

It’s a shame chatbots have such a bad reputation. After all, if a chatbot is well done and the concept is right, it can offer advantages for both companies and customers alike. In order to prevent a loss of trust, we recommend that the bot introduce itself as such. It should also provide information on how it can help his users to avoid disappointment. Then a bot can shine with its knowledge instead of driving users mad. For more complex requests that the bot can’t answer, and for those who don’t want to use a bot at all, it’s important that customers have the ability to contact a person. The easiest way to achieve this is via seamless transition into a live chat. Everyone therefore gets what they want.

Customers increasingly appreciate a personal approach and individual service. Don’t personalization and AI work against each other?

On the contrary. AI helps tailor the service to each individual customer. By using customer data, AI can make personalized recommendations or answer contextual questions, such as when a subscription will be renewed or whether a flight is departing on time without passing the customer from one agent to the next.

In which business areas can chatbots provide support? What impact does customer engagement have on key performance indicators such as the conversion rate?

AI chatbots for customer dialog are used in many areas—from supporting customers in searching for information or selecting products to customer service and technical support. Companies can use chatbots on their website or via social media and messaging to be available to customers on the channels of their choice. Due to their benefits, they contribute to an increase in key performance indicators such as customer satisfaction or conversion rates.

What does a chatbot need to know to be able to create a positive interaction and where does the bot obtain its knowledge?

In many companies, just a few key questions account for a large proportion of call and email traffic. These are frequently asked questions that a chatbot can answer quite well and to the satisfaction of the customer. This means customers do not have write long e-mails or spend an eternity on hold. With the help of AI, content managers can identify the questions that are frequently asked and that the chatbot cannot yet answer. They can then consider whether it is possible to have the bot answer these questions in the future and provide the necessary content to make this possible. Thus, the chatbot gets smarter with time. So as not to disappoint customers, whose questions the chatbot cannot answer, it is important to offer an alternative. Ideally this would be an immediate live chat or contact via the customer’s preferred channel for human-machine interaction.

In your opinion, what is the perfect human-machine combination?

Humans and machines should each do what they do best. People are empathetic, creative and flexible. Machines can automate processes, handle large amounts of data, and are scalable. We need people to ensure humanity and personal contact are not lost.

How do you think chatbots will develop? Will call centers still be needed in the future?

Chatbots can perform routine tasks and answer frequently asked questions that don’t require people. The integration of data from enterprise systems, analytics and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) makes it possible to automate even complex processes. However, there are also tasks that chatbots will not be able to take on in the foreseeable future—namely individual requests that are rather rare in terms of quantity and for which there is little data, or interactions in which the human factor plays a role. While AI will relieve us by complementing our human capabilities, it will not make us superfluous.

The Asian app WeChat is already way ahead of the game with its AI-based product consulting. Here, interested parties can ask the bot for a lot of information about all the products and even get individual advice from a “style consultant bot”. Germany isn’t that far along yet. Why is that?

Germans tend to be more skeptical about chatbots and AI. According to Handelsblatt, this is because Germans are more cautious when it comes to their data than Asians or Americans are. Regulations have also played a role. For me it is therefore important to strengthen trust in the technology through transparency and to understand the circumstances under which Germans would like to use chatbots.

What are the first steps for a company that wants to integrate chatbots into its service? What recommendations can you give companies?

Companies that don’t want to immediately start using a chatbot for customer dialog can initially put the technology to the test internally, because chatbots are also excellent helpers when it comes to supporting employees. For example, companies can use an IT chatbot to solve IT problems or contact an HR chatbot to inquire about remaining vacation days. Here, too, it is important to offer another way of connecting.

An alternative to self-service, which relies on NLP technology, are so-called dynamic FAQs. AI dynamically displays the most frequently asked questions in a support center. An intelligent search bar then recognizes the intent of a question and delivers the appropriate answer from a knowledge base. This is a big improvement over static FAQs, because it makes information so much easier to find. It also reduces the number of requests through other channels and increases customer satisfaction.

Using AI & Machine Learning to Bring Humanity Back to Digital Business

The webinar “Using AI & Machine Learning to Bring Humanity Back to Digital Business” by Chris Savio, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Bold360 by LogMeIn gives you even more insights. Here you can watch it for free!

Watch the webinar here!