Whatever your industry—integrating automated chat capabilities, like an AI chatbot, into your customer service plan is a game-changer! As we’re sure you know, customer service is an integral part of any business. And while it’s essential to gain new customers, you really need to keep your current customers happy. Implementing an AI chatbot does just that by ensuring your current customer service needs are managed quickly and efficiently. The AI chatbot’s goal is not to replace live agents but to support them by effectively responding to customer inquiries and freeing your live agents up to handle more complex matters.
The support AI chatbots offer includes an improved overall customer experience by eliminating wait times, providing instant responses, and offering 24/7 availability. To stay competitive in today’s market, this quick communication is necessary. Time is valuable. Nobody wants to wait on hold, and with AI chatbots—your customers won’t have to.
For more details about how an AI chatbot can modernize and improve your business’s customer service, we’ll discuss the technological advances from the traditional chatbot to the AI chatbot. Then, more importantly, we’ll point out the latter’s benefits, specifically in the customer service industry.
Differences between Traditional Chatbots and AI Chatbots
Chatbots are computer software programs that communicate with humans via typed or spoken language on online messaging applications. They often take the place of a live agent and can be rule-based, or they can use artificial intelligence.
All chatbots are not created equal. Choosing what kind of chatbot is right for you is a personal decision based on your company’s structure, requirements, and desires. Traditional chatbots were designed for very specific tasks, such as question and answer templates. For example, a traditional chatbot might pop up on a messaging app and ask, “How can I help you today?” You type in your question, such as, “What are your hours of operation?” and the chatbot will provide the answer.
Alternatively, the chatbot can route you to the correct web page that provides the answer to your question, or it can even connect you to a live agent if one is available. Traditional chatbots are restricted by rules, meaning if nobody programmed the rule to exist, the chatbot can’t respond correctly to the customer’s query.
AI Chatbots, on the other hand, are equipped to do much more. The most significant difference is that rules do not restrict them. Using Natural Language Processing (NLP), combined with AI and human data, they can understand language—not just pre-programmed commands, but real language, and can also process voice. Based on information AI chatbots receive from customers, they continue learning by ingesting customer data. And AI chatbots can make changes based on identified patterns in this learned customer data. The more they experience, the more data it gathers, and the smarter it becomes. The possibilities for AI chatbots are endless. These AI chatbots are used in a ton of different ways and in a variety of industries to improve customer experience and lower overall costs.
How AI Chatbots Provide Better Customer Service
Availability is possibly one of the most significant benefits of AI chatbots in customer service. The need to be available around the clock is increasingly common. If you want to stay competitive, don’t make your customers wait for the next available operator—or even worse—opening hours. AI chatbots can increase customer support because they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. If a customer has a question about a product during off-hours, an AI chatbot can respond in mere seconds. If no live agent can respond because no live agent is working, that customer may move on to the next site or forget about the product altogether. This improved availability is especially important for your customers who hold 9-5 jobs and find it harder to call during business hours. It’s also much easier to implement support for multiple languages via automated chat than to hire and train agents in multiple languages.
AI chatbots help businesses maintain consistency by providing constant and correct answers to all queries that come in. The dependability of an AI chatbot improves customer service and avoids misinformation.
Talking to different live agents can result in slight inconsistencies in responses. This could be for several different reasons. Maybe the live agent is new and is still learning the job. Perhaps the live agent is having a bad day or feels rushed and therefore, doesn’t give as thorough of an answer. Or maybe an inconsistent answer might simply fall into the human error category. The benefits of an AI chatbot include predetermined responses to common questions. These are provided quickly and efficiently to customers, deleting the possibility of discrepancies and inconsistencies.
Integrating an AI chatbot into your company’s existing systems lets the bot do the bulk of the work for your customer service team. The AI chatbot can authenticate the customer and provide personalized information, such as order status, payment details, etc. The customer’s personal data is assessed securely by the AI chatbot and introduced into the chat, creating a more engaging customer experience. This enriches the interaction, makes it more personal, and creates a better customer experience.
Nobody wants to wait on hold. An AI chatbot can eliminate the need to put a customer on hold by answering their queries quickly. This curbs caller frustration and improves the overall customer experience.
An AI chatbot also can cut down on call times by evaluating the caller’s intent and answering questions accurately and quickly. And when an AI chatbot responds quickly, customers are more likely to stay on your website a little longer. You keep their interest and avoid losing them to competitors.
Customers want to know their data is safe. By partnering with a reputable vendor, your customers can rest assured that their private information is protected based on the requirements of your ever-evolving industry. For example, Plum Voice’s platform provides an extra layer of assurance by complying with and passing rigorous standards such as PCI-DSS, SOC2, and HIPAA. With high-security measures such as these in place, AI chatbots can communicate using personal data and your customers have confidence their information is safe and protected.
Removing language barriers is a massive benefit of AI chatbots in customer service. As you can imagine, your customers may wish to communicate in a language other than English. An AI chatbot can understand a number of languages and, therefore, improve your customer’s experience and expand your product to additional demographics without international support teams or a translator.
Transitioning to a hybrid model where AI chatbots and live agents serve customers can save your company both time and money. It will also help your contact center respond to basic inquiries faster and allow live agents to be more available to help customers with complex matters that need to be addressed. Sure, implementing AI chatbots is an investment. Still, it’s an investment that will help you save extra costs, provide excellent customer service, help retain customers, and add money to the bottom line.
At some point, most companies have traffic surges. Whether it’s a festive season or just peak hours or days of the week, AI chatbots and cloud hosting provide the option to scale the support and ensure your business can handle all calls during hectic times. It allows you the opportunity to expand, work with more customers, and increase revenue. If you are looking to grow your business, scalability is a fantastic benefit.
Insight and Analytics
AI chatbots don’t just help your customers find what they need and answer their questions; they collect valuable data about customer experience. These AI chatbots provide helpful insights into customer expectations. For example, reports (already in text format) regarding the analytics of your AI chatbots include things like customer behaviors, common complaints and issues with services, and the products with the most satisfaction. These reports can give feedback, suggest improvements, and streamline customer service.
The benefits of AI chatbots are so substantial that their technology is catching on quickly. And no wonder why! The benefits expand from both customer to company. Not only can AI chatbots improve your customer’s overall experience, but they can also reduce your operational costs. No more frustrating labyrinths and dead ends. Long wait times can be a thing of the past!
Implement an AI chatbot to answer simple requests and free up live agents to handle more complex matters. You won’t be disappointed! Your customers will appreciate the efficient and effective customer service, which will increase your company retention, and possibly attract new customers.
No matter what size your company is or what industry you operate in—if you want to stay competitive in the customer service market, an AI chatbot can help you do just that. Plum Voice can help you implement intelligent virtual agents that leverage best-in-class AI to answer your customers’ questions with automated voice chat. Start building with Plum today or get in touch with our experts.