Customer Service May Lose the Human Touch

September 11, 2017 | 3 minutes read

If you think automation of after-sales support and customer engagement with chatbots is some science fiction idea slated for execution in the distant future, then let this post serve as a reality check.

Advances in Artificial Intelligence have resulted in the creation and development of bots that can understand, relate to and participate in human conversations. Traditional chatbots are wired to answer a finite set of hard-coded questions. New AI-based chatbots are trained with data sets of human conversations so that they can learn on their own and identify the intent behind every request or conversation, a technique known as Natural Language Processing. This makes them more relatable and natural for current and prospective customers to interact with.

IBM Watson, a cognitive system enabling a new partnership between people and computers, has already begun replacing paralegals and junior lawyers in top law firms. With IBM Watson, you can build virtual contact center agents to answer any queries your current and prospective customers may have for you. If you’re familiar with the American legal drama Suits, you’re no stranger to the fact that the character Mike Ross is always buried in paperwork before court cases. Researchers at the University of Toronto have already created an AI lawyer named Ross. Ross can take any legal question posted by an attorney and sift through its database of legal documents, statutes, and cases to come up with the correct answer. The system grows more accurate over time, as it learns more about a firm’s specific areas of practice and preferences.

In the next couple of years, AI bots are expected to take on a huge chunk of the work currently done by customer experience agents. This paradigm shift will address some of the major challenges faced in managing customer contact centers. Studies indicate that the average contact center representative lasts only about six months in their job. Also, contact centers have a whopping 40% average annual turnover rate. What’s more, bots will neither have off-days, unless they have to go offline for maintenance and software updates, nor call in sick, unless malware impacts their normal flow of operations. Replacing human customer experience agents with chatbots will allow multiple queries to be efficiently and promptly responded to.

After-sales support is usually about providing answers and clarity to questions your prospective and current customers may have. These questions are likely to be repetitive, so who (or what) is better to perform repetitive tasks in a better, more efficient, and faster manner than the bots we have created?

Perhaps you’re currently wondering how much capital and expertise is needed to deploy the solutions we have discussed above. Do not fret. In Hubtel’s bouquet of offerings, you will find some products and services that will allow your outfit to automate certain sections of the customer experience journey. We will discuss some related low-cost tech in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout.

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