Tag: AI

09 Nov 2017

Using AI to Help Customers Avoid Information Overload

Ever feel overwhelmed when you go onto a retailer’s website or mobile app? Today’s ecommerce experiences put massive amounts of information at shoppers’ fingertips — but oftentimes this influx of data can be harmful to the customer experience.

Navigating all the available information on a website can be both frustrating and create a roadblock for consumers shopping for a particular item or looking for a specific answer. Luckily, artificial intelligence technologies are helping solve this problem, empowering shoppers to cut through noise and quickly find the right information without having to comb through all the text. Here’s how AI-driven chatbots can help minimize information overload, making for seamless, intuitive customer experiences:

Getting to the root of customer needs

A big issue customers face when interacting with brands online is the feeling that their issues and needs aren’t accurately understood. With so much information now available, customers can be forced to search for answers on their own — taking extra time and effort to find relevant information that impacts their demands.

Chatbots help to mitigate this qualm. Equipped with cutting-edge natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, these tools have the ability to dig down into customer issues and truly understand the intent behind their queries to, in turn, provide the most relevant and accurate response and/or escalate the customer to the best resource. Ultimately, this not only ensures customers questions are accurately answered, but gives them the feeling that their issues and situations are being heard.

Pinpointing where online support falls short — and fixing it, fast

With AI, brands can monitor how their customer experience strategy is actually performing and whether they’re efficiently supporting customers. Embedded within chatbots, retailers have the back-end capabilities to pinpoint repeated semantic clusters of phrasings, and understand where their support isn’t accurate or helpful to customers. From there, they alert CX managers to these problems and prompts them to address them by adding more information.

Another key part of this equation is the ability to quickly update all of the company’s knowledge across every platform the chatbot exists on — be it social media, a mobile app or website. This multi-pronged integration ensures the company’s channels offer consistent support no matter where a shopper is looking for answers.

Personalizing the experience

Personalization is a major buzzword in today’s hyper-digital retail space. But the fact of the matter is that tailoring the customer experience is a valuable way minimize information overload for customers.

In the customer service realm, chatbots can ensure customers get information that is most relevant to their particular situation. Specifically, by allowing the chatbot to dig into a specific customer’s profile on the retailer’s website, they can understand previous interactions or purchases and ensure they are providing insight that aligns with these historical insights. Understanding an individual customer’s needs is crucial to providing a seamless and supportive digital experience.

Today’s retailers are tasked with not only having the most interactive ecommerce experiences, but they’re expected to present information in a way that is valuable for their specific customers. Leveraging AI technologies, retailers can ensure their digital properties minimize information overload and provide a top-notch shopping experience.

26 Oct 2017

Getting Realistic About AI: Why Customer Service Teams Should Welcome the Technology, Not Fear it

The robots are coming! At least, that what people seem to think. In fact, a recent Pew study found that nearly three-quarters of Americans (72%) are worried about a future where artificial intelligence technology will completely take on human tasks — stealing their jobs and livelihood. While this apocalyptic view has garnered a lot of media coverage and social conversations, people aren’t acknowledging the major advancements and progress this technology has sparked in our hyper-digital world.

In the customer service industry, specifically, this technology has quickly become a major part of how brands support their customers. While many people would assume that this also means they’re replacing human representatives, the truth is that this technology is actually helping customer support agents to be more productive, engaged and overall happier employees. Here’s how AI-driven virtual assistants do it:

Taking on the easy questions — and leaving the rest to the pros

Yes, one of the main benefits of AI-driven virtual assistants is that it provides a new channel for customers to ask questions and get faster responses. But the bigger benefit here is for live agents. Specifically, when a volume of simple customer queries come in around shipping processes or new products a retailer is selling, they can eat up a live representative’s day and, ultimately, make their work feel repetitive and unfulfilling.

By implementing chatbot technology to take on these quick questions, live agents are able to focus their full attention on those more complex customer situations that require the human touch. This not only means that customer support agents are focusing on high-value activities, it ultimately creates more engaged workers who have a sense of purpose in their jobs.

Providing an internal resource to ensure consistent support everywhere

Chatbots work great as an external, customer-facing tool — but their smarts seamlessly translate into an intelligent internal resource that helps customer service teams offer consistent and cohesive support. Specifically, by implementing virtual assistants internally, agents can use the technology to get up-to-speed on new company policies or processes, and therefore ensure they’re providing the most up-to-date answers to any customer question. This way, no matter which touchpoint a customer is on or who they are speaking with, they will receive a consistent customer experience.

By equipping a chatbot with innovative AI technologies, support teams can provide a new level of service — providing a channel to seamlessly share insight on specific customer history, or previous interactions to ensure the agent has all the information they need to get a customer’s situation solved. As an internal tool, chatbots augment customer service teams’ ability to provide stellar support.

Helping business understand where they’re falling short

We know chatbots are a great tool for internal and external use cases — but they can also help companies understand customer service performance. With knowledge management capabilities, chatbots have the distinct ability to pinpoint specific customer questions that aren’t receiving relevant or accurate responses — and therefore create frustrated customers. These tools create a new channel to understand where a company’s support is lacking and, in turn, prompts CX managers to make immediate improvements. This becomes a process of continuous improvement, where a focused knowledge management system can answer a wide variety of questions and new issues that pop up are quickly identified and addressed.

For customer service managers who are trying to win over anxious employees, the proof is in the pudding. With so many valuable use cases for AI-driven virtual assistants, managers will not only get their CX teams on board with the technology, but they’ll become happier and more productive workers with these tools at their disposal.

07 Aug 2017
chat bot hype - reality and expectations

Harnessing the Chatbot Hype

There has been a huge amount of excitement with the onslaught of chatbots and virtual assistants this decade. Gartner predict that by 2020, 85% of customer interactions will be with AI, rather than humans.
But at the same time, companies like Facebook have scaled back on their chatbots, admitting that the majority were only able to fulfil 30% of requests, seemingly a huge failure.

The problem is clear. Our expectations are far from reality. We see the potential value in a new technology, and then experience a crash when we realize what we can’t achieve. To manage AI successfully, and provide valuable digital self-service, business leaders need to understand what makes this technology challenging, and focus on what we can do to push the industry forward.

Focus on Core Value

Bots fail for many reasons, but one that comes up time and time again is user expectations. As a business leader, you need to think about what you want your bot to be able to achieve, and make sure that this element is flawless. Of course, the bots of the future are sophisticated channels within a harmonious, interconnected experience. Users have increasing expectations of capabilities, and the technology indeed has progressed to justify this desire for a seamless interaction. It is no longer enough to provide limited, targeted, restricted interactions. The bar has been raised, and the customer deserves better.

If you are a weather bot, you don’t need to be able to discuss traffic or music. But your customers will expect you to be able to tell them if they need to grab a raincoat. This becomes even more important when you use conversational UI, as the moment you ask your users to talk to something, they will personify it. This makes it very difficult to change their minds once it’s made up.

88% of users are unlikely to come back to your website after a bad first impression. People judge harshly and are known to be critical, so owning its limitations is integral to a successful chatbot.

Hybrid Experiences

If your bot is unable to do what’s being asked, there’s no value in being cute or trying to work around this. The best solution is to be clear about what it can’t handle, and then guide users to what it can do instead.

This is where hybrid experiences can come in very useful. Your bot does not need to be a pure bot solution. Perhaps your solution is meant to help users with flight arrival and departure times, but to book a new journey, they need to open the mobile app, or visit your website. Creating a hybrid journey where users can be guided to the right place for their needs creates a richer experience. Far from taking away from the effectiveness of your chatbot, it actually increases and adds value.

Leverage connecting with human agents too where you need, for example when your bot meets with limitations in functionality, or an issue needs escalation or you have simply found from past trends that customers are fine self-serving for everything else but prefer to complete a specific segment with human guidance. The future of AI is in leveraging the relationship between all the channels on a customer journey, and your business’ ability to make these seamless and complementary. The best solutions will also give you visibility to understand when escalation is preferable, and the ease of allowing you to dictate those situations and trigger this transition when needed without losing the customer or the information along the way.

Effective, not Human

A common misconception is that bots should aim to be as similar to humans as possible. With this (misconceived) goal in mind, chatbots are almost certain to fail. Experts have shown that thought and languages are extremely closely tied, to the point where in order to fully emulate human language we would need to teach our AI to emulate human thought. Perhaps one day we might have mastered what Forbes call cognitive computing, but we’re not there yet. This makes the goal of ‘lifelike’ AI not just unnecessary, but unachievable.

Rather than try to copy human interactions, the biggest wins for AI are leveraging the parts that bots excel at. One example which everyone would agree with is a chatbots ability to be ‘always on’. This is something a human member of staff couldn’t achieve, and gives your business a new way to succeed, a greeting for your customer which never sleeps.

Every medium has its own strengths. For humans, it might be the way in which we think. For bots, it is likely to be something else altogether, from speed or personalization, to its ability to integrate with any knowledgebase or seamlessly connect across channels. By focusing on trying to make bots more human, we are ignoring the capabilities which they have in and of themselves.

Magic Moments

While we don’t need to try to make our chatbots more human, we do want to be aware of our customers’ humanity. Just as they will make quick first impressions, they are also impressed by the personal touch, or by your bot going above and beyond.

One way to do this is with anticipatory customer service. Think again about the core value of your bot. With a human interaction, there may be obvious next steps to that conversation which we do without thinking. Let’s say a customer asks ‘Do you have these shoes in a size 6?’ Your bot can say a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ which certainly satisfies the core value. But think about the peripherals around this. It could also say ‘Yes, would you like me to add these to your basket?’ or ‘No, should we email you when they get back in stock?’ Being proactive rather than reactive creates a magic moment where your customer feels supported and listened to, and further helps increase efficiency and satisfaction.

Personalization can also help with this. Look at the information you have about your customer and use it to your advantage. This might be as simple as using their name or location. With the right data, it can also include leveraging account information or past shopping habits.

The Information is Already Yours

Whether it’s proactive questions, personalized touches, hybrid customer journeys or defining your core value, these steps all have something in common. Listening. The main driver for success with AI is going to be understanding what your customers want.

You can use the interactions across all of your channels to get the most accurate view of the needs your visitors are looking to fill. This makes the flow of data between your systems critical for success. Every question which your consumer asks, and each interaction they have, regardless of channel, tells you another element of the single voice of the customer. With this data, you can create bots which hone in on what your customer really wants.

Limitless Possibilities

Encouraging your chatbots to imitate humans takes away from how effective and useful they can truly be. Rather than confining your AI to human limitations and borders, a change in this attitude will set them free to do so much more.

When you stop thinking about making your chatbots more human, it opens your business up to think about what their real goal is, and how they can delight your customers with magic moments and added value. Giving your bots a key role on a hybrid consumer journey, promotes a richer customer experience, allowing you to simultaneously learn from each and every interaction.

15 Jun 2017

Don’t Miss Nanorep’s Webinar on How AI Transforms Customer Service, Featuring Guest Principal Analyst Ian Jacobs

I have seen the interest grow in adoption of AI. It is no longer a question of whether there is urgency in implementing a project to leverage intelligent technology, but instead a question of how. Beyond this, though, I have seen that many companies get thrown off once they make a decision to invest. What do I do? How do I do it? With which tool? Why is this not intuitive!??

Studies shown that the customer experience is a crucial factor in consumers’ decisions of where to bring, and keep, their business. it’s also clear that Artificial Intelligence can be harnessed to facilitate customer service, but companies struggle in the step of implementing an intelligent solution in a way that doesn’t leave them drained of energy and resources. What starts as a smart decision to use technology to take support to the next level often leaves customer service professionals frustrated and fatigued by long, complex projects.

Like many of your peers, you might be wondering what you can do with AI to help your brand improve the customer experience now – without jumping through hoops or feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. How do you get the competitive edge you need while using the solution to actually improve not just your customer service but also your product, processes, and practices themselves?

We’re excited to let you know that this Tuesday, June 20th at 9 am PST, I will be joined by Forrester Principal Analyst Ian Jacobs to talk about trends and give you tangible tips on such topics as:

  • The need for a seamless customer service experience
  • How chat bots and virtual agents allow you to value your customers’ time while prioritizing high-value queries
  • The ways in which self-service gives the power to the consumer to help himself while giving you analytics and ammunition for optimization

AI has become a necessary component of a successful customer experience strategy, and we hope to help attendees understand the correlation between rising investments in AI and trends in the modern customer experience, empowering them to then apply this to real action in their own organizations. Register even if you think you may not be able to join on the day, register – we will send a recording!

Event Title: Nanorep-sponsored Webinar - Strategies to Use AI to Transform your Customer Service

I will be joined by Guest Speaker Ian Jacobs, Principal Analyst for application development and delivery, Forrester Research

Date and Time: Tuesday, June 20th, 9 am PST

The event is free and open to the public, and you can register HERE.

Hope to see you there!

26 Jan 2017
winning CX with self-service

Isn’t it time you win with CX-boosting self-service?

January is already on its way out the door, and February is coming, with its own assortment of fun ready to come your way. The most successful companies know that a consistent customer experience strategy has to be instituted from day one. But taking cx seriously isn’t enough anymore, to succeed you need a wisely-chosen self-service support solution to seamlessly address customer needs across all channels, learning from each experience to aggregate data, optimize, and improve processes and content for superior customer service and a better understanding of your customers.

With an integrated solution across all touchpoints, your customers are able to smoothly complete most processes themselves, freeing up agent time to focus on high-value escalations. Further, making use of robust analytics allows you to improve self-service for customers and optimize your content, adding and editing in real-time.

Because the solution is intelligent and AI-enabled, it goes further with contextual and natural language understanding and can draw on integration to go a step further with personalization. Who doesn’t want automatic assistance enriched with personalization for help returning a purchase or finding the perfect Valentines’ Day gift, booking travel to the Superbowl with rewards points from within the system, suggestions of flights based on origin location, or contextual answers where the bot knows that when you say “I want to fly tomorrow,” it actually knows what tomorrow’s date is and not that it is a vague concept of time?

It sounds alluring, appealing, but are you ready to take the plunge? Well we have news for you. It isn’t an “if” anymore, it’s a must, because your customers expect access and ease, and we can assure you that your competition has noticed. So if your site isn’t providing the experience they need, they will find it elsewhere.

Read about transforming your customer experience with tips for the definitive chat bot strategy.