Beyond the chatbot: Can AI improve your customer experience?

Why? Because they’ve become so accustomed to choice, convenience and personal attention that instantaneous, tailored and even hands-free service has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-have. As experiences become the new brand, you need to deliver one that requires as little time and effort as possible.

Still, it can seem difficult – if not impossible – to do so 24/7, at a reasonable price, and in a way that reflects your values, all without exhausting your well-intentioned (yet unmistakeably human) workforce. Chatbots might seem like the answer, but there’s a better one. And it lies in artificial intelligence (AI).

Forrester predicts that across all organisations, there will be a greater-than-300% increase in AI investment in 2017. And it’s no wonder, given that 57% told the analyst firm they expect AI to help improve customer experience and support.

So, how is AI helping organisations to go beyond the chatbot and give customers an easier way of getting what they want?

By building a conversational AI platform, you can offer lifelike interactions that provide the same experience to the one customers expect in-store. Far from the staccato-sounding, often-unhelpful bots that provide automated answers, these platforms respond to questions in natural language and real time, powered by AI technologies that are advancing as you read this.

By building a conversational AI platform, you can offer lifelike interactions that provide the same experience to the one customers expect in-store.

As we begin to communicate with our cars (so long, sat navs!) and our homes (“Alexa, put on my favourite playlist…”), we should be asking: why are we still forcing our customers to use hamburger menus and drop-downs? And in response, we must develop sites they can speak to.

Essentially, we have to start with the consumer and their needs. Forget about gimmicks; AI can build advocacy, and therefore profit, by helping you to provide the experiential service your customers now demand. In fact, IDC claims that by 2018, 20% of major retailers will use AI to personalise the brand experience from awareness through purchase.

An AI platform isn’t just awesome for your customers. It’s also affordable for you, costing less than training individual staff members to do the same job – not to mention driving down cost to serve.

It’s a way of releasing your team from the mundane, as it can perform the repetitive tasks they may find tedious. It’s a method of offering consistently positive, personal experiences without the risky fragility of human emotion; essentially, no one will ever need to face the wrath of your grumpiest rep again. Let’s be honest – it’s a far cry from any bot you can buy.

And that’s not all. Soon, these platforms will be able to recognise faces to establish mood and serve up content that complements this. They’ll also establish personality, providing information formatted to appeal based on the way you communicate.

This isn’t the future. This is happening here and now. We’ve already created conversational AI platforms for other leading global organisations, and now is your time to do the same before your customers become tired of searching your website and start looking elsewhere.

You can meet our Digital Concierge® application – LUSY – at volume.ai.

Chris Sykes is CEO and Head of AI & Robotics at Volume


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