Who would have thought that in 2011 one could predict what was going to happen 10 years later? And that Artificial Intelligence (AI) would play a key role in enabling that? Though we’re not in 2020 yet, in 2011, Gartner had predicted that “By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with the enterprise without interacting with a human.”And though it is unclear whether this prediction will come true, we’re not far off from this scenario.
With constant pressure to deliver superior customer interaction and services, businesses are looking to leverage the power of AI in order to enhance customer experience. Within AI there are a number of popular examples of its use eg. Apple’s intelligent personal assistant, Siri, or Google’s Now, or even IBM’s natural language question-answer computer system, Watson.
These and many other types of chatbots are revolutionizing the way businesses interact with their customers. In fact, over humans, these support tools can provide a huge number of advantages. First, obviously they don’t need downtime (or sleep, as is required for us, humans) so they can function 24×7, thus, ensuring your business provides round-the-clock service.
Second, by saving time, costs and being more efficient, chatbots can allow “more time for customer service representatives to focus on complex customer demands and interactions.”This means customer service reps can invest more time to undergo training and development to better hone their own personal customer service skills.
A third advantage is that chatbots, like intelligent machines, can learn as they go. So the more they interact, the more they develop. Here, it is key to also note that as such machines are still in their infancy, this could also be a challenge given that without the appropriate supervision, the chatbot may not be able to answer a customer correctly as “AI doesn’t yet have the complete ability to understand human emotions.”This could have serious consequences for your customer relationships and it is up to the ‘human’ teams to monitor and understand where and when to intervene during an interaction.
Thus, given that there are still drawbacks to the technology, businesses need to exercise caution when creating and deploying chatbots. To completely replace a human is no mean feat and the tendency to feel a “cold user experience” or to “understand the randomness of being a human” is close to impossible.
However, despite the present-day issues surrounding chatbots, AI still seems like paving the way for businesses in the future. The speed at which technology is moving and the pace of adoption by businesses all point to the fact that 2020 could witness a sea change in machine-human customer experience.