Chatbots have revolutionized the customer service space: instantaneous, personalized customer response that not only meets customer expectations but also saves businesses hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more.
2018 stands to bring even more chatbot innovation. Already, developers are working feverishly to bring new consumer experiences to market. For example, when WhatsApp opens to bots next year, it will unlock direct access to over one billion new users. Chatbots continue to push the envelope of new tech, and there more coming
The ability of bots – a term which can describe any automated process present in a computer network – to mimic human online behaviour and language has developed sharply in the past three years. Naturally, because of the scale of the task, they must enlist bots to help them find bots. Lark A health coach that can help users manage the symptoms of hypertension, diabetes etc. Some bots help to refresh your Facebook feed or keep you up to date with the weather. The progeny of Eliza has evolved into chatbots – bits of software designed to mimic human conversation.
The Oxford research team began examining the huge growth of bot activity on social media after the shooting down of the MH17 passenger plane with a Russian missile in 2014. A dizzying number of competing conspiracy theories were “seeded” and encouraged to spread by a red army of automated agents, muddying the facts of the atrocity. The more Oxford researchers looked, the more they saw how similar patterns of online activity were amplifying specific hashtags or distorting news.
“The most striking thing to me to this day is that people are really, really bad at assessing the source of information”, Emilio Ferrara.
Tiago Paiva, CEO of Talkdesk
AI improves customer-agent conversations instead of replacing agents. For years, we’ve heard buzz about chatbots replacing phone support agents. The implications of chatbots dominating the call center industry are exciting to the inventors of potentially disruptive technology, but the buzz has never materialized. Front-end chatbots have two major weaknesses compared to a human: they lack empathy and are not capable of problem-solving. Think about the interactions you’ve inevitably had with a front-end bot. Would you trust this bot to solve your most pressing issues? If you’re like the majority of customers, the answer is no. Front-end chatbot technology is primitive and only useful for simple, pre-defined processes. There’s no flexibility, creativity or intelligence about it.
The conversation around AI until now has been about how it would assist customers directly, but there’s another possibility that’s much more beneficial: the AI powers an agent to resolve customer issues with more efficiency. Contact centers can pair AI with voice analytics to identify keywords and present the agent with relevant assets and options in real time. It’s the best of both worlds: the technology is still actively pulling information based on the customer’s comments, but a human has the logic and context to make decisions. AI-assisted human agents are the future of support AI.