In times of highly competitive markets, the focus of businesses is consumer-centric and customer service becomes more important. Therefore, a lot of companies today face the problem of maintaining high customer service performance with increasing customer requests. Scaling up customer service capabilities is cost-intensive and ineffective given that most customer service requests are repetitive and do not need intensive human handling.
Chances and limits of AI
This is where Artificial Intelligence comes in. On one hand, AI-powered customer service reduces the customer’s waiting time and chatbots offer a convenient communication channel for consumers instead of writing a mail or call. On the other hand, it can take over the repetitive customer requests so the agent can focus on challenging requests that require human empathy.
The value of AI-powered chatbots lies in scalability, accessibility, facilitating the agents work, reducing customer’s waiting time and collecting data. But AI cannot replace customer service agents entirely in the near future. The hype of chatbots in the last years also revealed their technical limits and great discrepancies between the models on the market. Depending on the maturity of the model, Chatbots are limited if questions exceed their knowledge base.
Although chatbots with Natural Language Processing (NLP) are quite advanced at understanding text-based input, questions that have not been learned before either lead to no answer or wrong answers. This presents a high risk for companies, and their brand equity if customers have negative experiences.
Today, AI chatbots still require human input when the knowledge base is surpassed. The real value addition lies in a hybrid solution. A hybrid model allows to combine the best of human and AI and provides a more comprehensive service at a lower cost.
The best of human and AI
In a hybrid solution with Agent+AI, the chatbot can analyse every interaction between the agent and human and learn from every conversation. In case the knowledge base is exceeded and the Chatbot has no answer to the question, it can still support the process by routing the customer to the most suitable available agent and give answer suggestions based on the gathered data.
One of the advantages of hybrid solutions is accessibility. Chatbots don’t take coffee breaks or lunch hours and can cope with the live agent’s absence. Compared to employees, a product request that hung in the mailbox for days can be answered immediately and personalised by a chatbot. With the all-round service, also in the night or at the weekend, generating additional hidden sales potential. Hybrid AI solutions with Agent+AI can be utilised to offer continuous service without sacrificing service quality.
In addition, artificial intelligence can collect valuable meta-data about customers and offer personalised products or services. AI chatbots can support the business strategy by promoting products or services. They can be programmed to make product recommendations based on the customer’s preferences and play a crucial role as a virtual assistant during their website visit or online shopping. Consequently, the customer experience can be increased which can significantly contribute to a successful sales process.
The real value of AI is not to replace human agents, but to let them develop their skills further. To leverage the benefits of human emotional intelligence and technology and get the best of both, we should combine them in a hybrid solution.
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