CALL CENTER AD TECH

June 18, 2018

Chatbots Key to Marketing to Next Generation

Chatbot development comes in at No. 11 in the Upwork Skills Index, which ranks the hottest skills in the U.S. freelance job market. A growing number of software suppliers have introduced tools to build chatbots. And many companies already employ chatbots to help out with customer service.

Some pundits, reports, and sources suggest that the time is now for chatbots given millennials’ demand for easy to use interfaces, fast results, and self-service channels. Some businesses are attracted to chatbots because they promise lower personnel costs, can address customer requests during off-hours or when live agents are otherwise unavailable, and can assist humans in an effort to expedite and improve interactions with customers.

Artificial intelligence pioneer IBM last year wrote that by 2020, 85 percent of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent.

IBM, of course, offers the Watson AI solution. And many companies are now employing Watson today.

Watson offers brands a new way to provide automated services anytime, anywhere,” the IBM piece notes. “It offers a conversational self-service experience that provides answers in real time. Companies can easily customize Watson to fit specific business needs, provide custom content and match their brand voice and tone. Additionally, deep analytics provide insights on customers’ engagement with chatbots and help brands understand their customers’ constantly changing needs.”

In its October 2017 Magic Quadrant for Contact Center as a Service, North America, Gartner talked about how Aspect has used its own natural-language understanding functionality and its omnichannel self-service engine to deliver some of the market's first chatbot capabilities in its Interactive Text Response offering. Gartner added that “most of the focus on AI is at an early developmental stage in relation to supporting chatbots and introducing automation to web chat in much the same way as it has been introduced to voice calls. Although AI developments are promising, it is too early to regard this technology as a leading contributor to CCaaS technology.”

Comm100 is among the other players offering chatbot solutions. The company’s initial chatbot could deliver pre-programmed answers to certain, pre-programmed questions. However, the company has just introduced a new chatbot that employs AI and natural language processing (text-based, not audio) to understand and respond to customer intents without being programmed for them, explains Kaye Chapman, the company’s customer experience and training expert.

That enables the new chatbot to respond to customer inquiries. It can also assist customers in completing transactions, such as paying a credit card bill. It can even see what a customer bought in the past to attain data on customer preferences and details such as shoe size, says Jeff Epstein, Comm100’s vice president of product marketing and communications.

Salesforce offers Service Cloud Einstein. That was designed to allow any companies to deliver more predictive and personalized customer experiences across commerce, sales, service, marketing, and more.

And SAP’s enterprise-grade chatbot toolkit offers Conversational AI capabilities to enable companies to develop intelligent chatbots. “The solution includes a powerful end-to-end toolkit for training, building and monitoring chatbots, tight integration in SAP systems and preconfigured, industry-specific bot packages,” the company explains. “France’s railway company SCNF and telecommunications provider SFR are already using SAP Conversational AI to improve customer service and target younger audiences.”




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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