Bots and AI: The Cutting Edge of Customer Care (Part 2)

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This is part 2 in a series about using chatbots in customer service (see part 1). As I attended the Bots and AI conference in Pittsburgh and heard from researchers and practitioners about the art and science of customer care, three points stood out as best practices in employing chatbots.

#1. Chatbots provide fast and easy service

According to Vodafone UK and KDDI, customers want fast and accurate answers that are easy to get and available in multiple formats (e.g., text, chat, or social media). Gartner predicts that, by 2020, more than 50% of customer interactions will be handled by machines. It is more common than ever to have voice interactions with customer agents. Considering that 20% to 30% of all help-desk tickets are low-priority issues (Gartner), there is a lot of opportunity to automate these into fast and seamless services using chatbots.[i]

#2. The best chatbots are specialized

Accuracy is extremely important and so is context. The conversation you have with an agent about paying your cable bill is different than a conversation with a retail store about store location and hours. That’s why IBM Watson Virtual Agent comes preconfigured with core scenarios for industries and personalized configuration for the specifics of an organization.

#3. Chatbots can result in honest input

This third one is perhaps the most intriguing. Carnegie Mellon University professor Louis Philippe Morency addressed this when discussing why his team created a multimodal chatbot. He found people are more likely to be honest with a chatbot than a human because there is less fear of evaluation and judgment. For example, consider how your answer might differ if your doctor asks you how often you smoke, versus a chatbot asking you the same question. In terms of insight into your customers and their concerns, this can be a differentiating factor.

According to the IBM Global C-suite CMO Study, 63% of CMOs say creating better experiences for customers is their top priority. In an age where customer experience is one of the biggest differentiators among brands, cognitive chatbots can partner with humans to provide timely and accurate information whenever and wherever customers need it.

To learn more about Watson Virtual Agent, sign up for a free trial. Check out the video below for a sneak peek:


[i] Gartner Summit’s “Gartner Customer 360 Summit: CRM Strategies and Technologies to Understand, Grow and Manage Customer Experiences ,” Gartner, Inc, 2011


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