January 15, 2020 By IBM Consulting 2 min read

With technology-driven advancements in all forms of communication, customer preferences for interactive experiences continue to dramatically evolve. Digital transformation is increasing the complexity of channel management for companies seeking to deliver on their brand promise to provide improved customer experience. Digital channels are being redefined by the use of AI — specifically with chatbots and conversational applications. According to the State of Salesforce 2020 report, 29% of the better contact center teams are investing in chatbots.

Across sales, service and marketing, chatbots foster customer loyalty by providing personalized experiences that engage customers and prospects before, during and after critical decision-making points.Chatbots also allow for the deflection of some inbound customer calls, while automating tasks within sales or service centers providing immediate opportunities for organizations to achieve substantial business value.

However, not all chatbots are created equal. There are specific attributes and functionality that allow chatbots to have the broadest impact both on your business costs and customer experience. Here are the seven characteristics or best practices — to help you design a great bot for your organization:

Conversational maturity

Beyond understanding and interacting conversationally, a great chatbot has specific natural language processing (NLP) capabilities to understand the context of a conversation in multiple languages. It can also identify the intent of a question — what is needed — to provide an accurate first response, and also propose options to confirm or clarify intent. The better chatbots have advanced conversational capabilities. They can proactively seek out information and also ask clarifying questions, even if the conversation isn’t linear.

Omni-capable

The chatbot converses seamlessly across multiple digital channels and retains data and context for a seamless experience — in best cases, even passing that information to a live agent if needed.

Integrates with CRM

The chatbot can be integrated with critical systems and orchestrate workflows inside and outside of the CRM. It can handle real-time action as routine as a password change, all the way through a complex multistep workflow spanning multiple applications.

Emotionally intelligent

The chatbot can infer customer personality traits and understand sentiment and tone during an interaction to deliver a personalized experience, or escalate to a live agent when necessary.

Free to explore

The chatbot can reach, consume and process vast amounts of data — both structured and unstructured — to surface insights from virtually any source in order to gather relevant data to solve customer issues quickly.

Autonomous reasoning

The chatbot can perform complex reasoning without human intervention. For example, a great service chatbot should be able to infer solutions based on relevant case histories.

Pre-trained

The chatbot is pre-trained to understand brand-specific or industry-specific knowledge and terms. Even better, it’s pre-configured to resolve common customer requests of a particular industry.

AI is now for everyone, and while companies may understand the opportunity for AI to impact their business, they often struggle to prioritize early investment and develop an action plan to embed AI capabilities into processes and workflows.

Learn how IBM can help you build or enable the perfect chatbot for your business. 

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