Tag: chatbots

Five things your customer service chatbot needs to succeed

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By the end of 2015, more than half a million Americans had professed their love for Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant/chatbot. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then to learn that in 2016, more than a quarter of a million Americans had proposed to Alexa. Fortunately, Amazon had the foresight to program Alexa with a number of witty and noncommittal answers for just such an occasion. Though silly, this anecdote illustrates an important point: US consumers are becoming more accustomed to and comfortable with interacting with artificial intelligence and brands are paying attention to this trend. Of businesses surveyed, 80% said they planned to integrate AI into their customer service efforts by the year 2020.

Of course, not everyone is in love with chatbots. While humans may not be able to tell the difference between communicating with a chatbot and communicating with a human early on in the conversation, it usually becomes apparent within the first several exchanges. Chatbots seem weird, or even creepy to some and many feel that humans still provide superior customer service. Since getting humans to accept chatbots is a huge step in the chatbot revolution, chatbot developers need to provide them with five key traits if they are to succeed.

Just a touch of personality

Creating a personable chatbot is a tricky balancing act. On the one hand, people don’t like chatbots to be too cold and impersonal. On the other hand, chatbots that are too life-like tend to creep people out. The balance, then, is to create a chatbot that is merely pleasant but not overly conversational. An effective chatbot will efficiently and accurately assist customers all while remembering it’s manners–greetings, please’s and thank you’s, etc…)

The ability to delegate

Artificial intelligence and related fields such as natural language processing simply haven’t come far enough yet to create chatbots that can handle any and all customer service issues. There will be questions that chatbots can’t answer and requests that chatbots can’t fulfill. An effective chatbot will be able to recognize early on in a customer service interaction when it isn’t suited for the situation and transfer the person to a live agent in the appropriate department who is best suited to assist that customer.

A willingness to admit defeat

Along with the ability to delegate must be the willingness to admit defeat. Too many chatbots, when unsure what a customer is asking, get stuck in a cycle of “I don’t understand” or “please say that again” responses.” When a chatbot gets stuck, customers will grow frustrated quickly if there isn’t an option to get routed to a live agent.

The ability to explain what it can and can’t do

As mentioned above, chatbots can sometimes be indistinguishable from humans at least initially. This can cause people to overestimate a chatbot’s ability and will lead to frustration when it can’t do what they expect it to be able to do. An easy solution for this is to have your chatbot provide customers with a list of functions it can fulfill early on in the interaction so customers have some direction about what kinds of things they can ask of the chatbot and which things they might need to talk to a human about.

Access to CRM data

Every good customer service department needs an up-to-date customer relationship management (CRM) database. This is where information about customers such as their preferences or notes about ongoing matters can be recorded so that they are available to other agents who might assist that same customer. Surprisingly, many chatbots aren’t programmed with access to this CRM data. This is a huge missed opportunity because one of the biggest advantages chatbots have over humans is the ability to process vasts amounts of data quickly. There’s no reason your chatbot shouldn’t be able to use machine learning and data from prior interactions to provide customers with the best possible service that is tailored for them individually.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/301145#

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Five ways chatbots can save businesses and customers time and money

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In all likelihood, you’ve used a chatbot before even if you didn’t know it. Chatbots are the new hype in the tech world just as mobile apps were in 2008 and just like mobile apps, it seems chatbots are here to stay. Hundreds of thousands of chatbots have already been developed and deployed across various messaging apps and websites. Chatbots are helping businesses by driving increased sales and reducing the strain and customer support staffs. They’re helping customers by automating customer service and offering a customized online shopping experience. Here’s a more detailed look at how chatbots are helping businesses and customers alike to save time and money.

Chatbots as personal assistants

The average small business doesn’t have room in the budget for personal assistants and many don’t even have office assistants or secretaries. Thanks to chatbots you don’t need to worry about finding more office space or room in the budget for personal assistants. Chatbots can be programmed to work at every employee’s workstation. They can assist in setting up, modifying, or cancelling appointments, they can manage employee’s calendars as well as remind them of upcoming appointments, they can send and receive emails on employees’ behalf and they can connect employees with the appropriate IT or HR staff when needed.

Gathering feedback

Chatbots are excellent tools when it comes to gathering feedback. Helpful feedback is essential for every business and chatbots can aid in gathering feedback both formally and informally. The advantage chatbots have over automated surveys via text is that they can ask follow up questions to better understand customer responses and customer responses don’t have to be limited to numbers on a number scale. Another advantage that chatbots have is they have access to every prior interaction it’s ever had and can access that vast database of information to provide better assistance.

Personalized newsfeeds and reminders

Chatbots that scour the news sites for only the information that’s relevant for the user are hugely popular and are great time savers. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, having a chatbot that can sort through all the news and handpick only stories that you want to see are a huge help.

Automated business processes

Chatbots are great for automating tasks including many business processes. For example, a chatbot can be setup to alert relevant team members when a given task is complete. It could be set up to ask frequently asked questions posed by either employees or customers. Chatbots can facilitate better communication between departments and can even automate a lot of customer service by asking for identifying information, pulling up accounts, determining the nature of the customer’s problem, and routing them to the support staff member that’s best equipped to provide assistance for that customer.

Knowing what customers think

Thanks to machine learning and natural language processing, chatbots are better than any employee can ever be at offering a customized experienced for every customer. With each successive interaction with the same customer, it can get better and better and knowing what the customer is thinking and it can make suggestions and upsell to customers when they think they’ll be receptive to it.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: entrepreneur.com/article/303554#

Tips for integrating chatbots into your business model

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People no longer have the same reservations about talking to machines as they might have just a few years ago. Already, 65% of smartphone owners report using voice assistants on their phones. Advances in machine learning and natural language processing have allowed chatbots to become more practical and utilitarian than ever. Chatbots are computer programs designed to communicate with humans via voice or text. Early applications of chatbots include Map applications that give verbal directions while driving and can understand users’ verbal request for directions as well. AI assistants like Siri, Bixby, and Alexa are also examples of chatbots that can understand to some degree what humans are saying or asking of them and respond in kind. Now we’re beginning to see more task-specific chatbots designed to work on a single website or within a single application to connect customers to brands. But as brands rush out to develop chatbots because it’s the trendy thing to do, they aren’t taking care to really integrate their chatbot into their business model and as a result, their chatbot isn’t as effective as it could be. A chatbot can potentially add a lot to your business, but only if it’s integrated properly.

What will your bot do for you?

You shouldn’t be developing a chatbot just to have one. Before you invest one dollar into developing a chatbot, you need to have clear goals in mind for it. What challenge will the chatbot solve for your business? Which performance indicators do you hope to achieve with your chatbot?

How will it work?

Chatbots are complex computer programs. They have to have access to lots of data to make them accurate. Where will that data come from. Do you already have stored transcripts of customer service interactions that you can feed them. Will you be able to grant your chatbot access to databases of information that it will need to succeed? How will you use Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing to make your chatbot better at conversing in a way that seems natural? What will your bot do when it encounters a question or statement that it doesn’t know how to respond to.

Where will it fit in?

How will your bot be integrated into your existing staff. If your bot will be functioning primarily in a customer service role, how will support tickets be divided across customer support staff and your chatbot? Will your chatbot be able to hand customers over to live agents if it gets stuck? If your chatbot is designed to aid customers in the online shopping experience, will it be able to get through the entire processing of narrowing in on the right product all the way through the checkout or will your chatbot need to be integrated with a sales team that can take over at some point in the interaction? Perhaps you plan to create a chatbot to be used for employees rather than customers. How can your chatbot bridge the gap between employees and IT or HR?

Having answers to these questions up front will allow you to be wiser as you invest in a chatbot that will be able to help your business rise to the next level.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: forbesindia.   com/blog/technology/integrating-chatbots-into-your-business-model/

Six things your customer service chatbot must be able to do

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Chatbots are in the midst of a huge growth phase. Chatbot programmers and AI researchers are still discovering new ways to use them as well as things they can’t do. Chatbots are already a lot more useful and practical for the average small business than they were even just a year ago. One of the most popular uses is in customer service. If you’re considering developing a chatbot for your business’s customer service needs, here are six things you’ll want your bot to be able to do.

Use natural language processing to understand what people are saying to them

Early chatbots operated very similar to automated phone answering systems–the kind you encounter when you are forced to call a customer service line and listen to a series of options before giving responses. Deviate in any way from the exact wording and the automated system will have no clue what you’re saying. You don’t want your chatbot to operate in this way. Natural language processing (NLP) is a branch of artificial intelligence research geared towards creating machines that can understand language so that it isn’t limited to responding to several predetermined questions or requests. Your bot needs NLP if you want customers to be able to speak freely with it.

Respond empathetically

One of the things people don’t like about interacting with chatbots is that they can be cold and impersonal. A live customer service agent can defuse a bad interaction by showing empathy and relating to customers on a personal and emotional level. While chatbots may not be capable of feeling emotions like humans, they can be programmed to use empathetic language which can still have the same calming effect on customers.

Offer a personalized customer service experience

Your chatbot will need to be able to remember second- and third-time users. If your chatbot has access to previous conversations it can recall a person’s preferences and personal information. It can address the customer by name without having to ask for it and can make the customer feel important and appreciated.

Stay consistent in tone and personality

Chatbots are unsettling for many people. A way to reduce the unsettled feeling customers might get is to make sure your bot is consistent in tone and personality. If it fluctuates between friendly and conversational to being very straight-the-point and robotic, people will have trouble getting into the experience of chatting with your chatbot and may prefer to get on the phone instead.

Learn

Your chatbot will make mistakes daily. Don’t worry about creating a perfect chatbot because it’s impossible. The best you can hope for though is a chatbot that grows more accurate with each mistake. Through machine learning, you can feed your chatbot hundreds or thousands of customer service interactions so it can pick up on patterns to better understand what leads to failed and successful interactions.

Ask for help

If people invest several minutes into conversing with your bot only for your bot to get stuck and not be able to help, they then have to get on the phone which is probably what they were trying to avoid in the first place. It defeats the purpose of using a message-based platform in the first place. So if you’re going to invest in a chatbot, make sure your customer service team is equipped with the tools to be able to take over a failed chat session. Make sure your chatbot is able to recognize and admit failure early enough in the process that customers don’t grow frustrated and give up before a live agent can assist them.

 

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: venturebeat. com/2017/09/16/5-small-changes-that-drastically-improve-chatbot-conversations/

How to take your business’s social media strategy to the next level

 

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Social media marketing is changing every single day. New platforms and technologies are constantly being created giving marketers access to new streams of data that they can use to adjust their strategy. The way brands are using social media today is different from what it was even just one year ago and it will be different another year from now. The most successful social media marketers are those that embrace these new platforms and marketing tools and incorporate them into existing strategies to always keep improving. If you want to take your social media business strategy to the next level, then here are four tips you need to keep in mind.

Engage with customers

In the world of social media marketing, you’ll often hear the advice to do a lot more listening than talking. Social media is different than traditional marketing channels in that promoting your products or services is not the primary goal. Social media is about building brand awareness and opening up lines of communication with your customer base. As such, you don’t want to be putting so much attention into your promotional content that you’re not able to adequately listen to what your customers are saying to you on social media. But there’s something even more important than listening, and that’s engaging. Find ways to truly interact with your customers or potential customers on social media and you’ll be on the right track.

Use social media management tools

There’s no shortage of social media management tools that you can be using to track various metrics and better engage with customers. Which ones you use will depend on your particular strategy. Social media management tools can give your social media people a central dashboard where they can schedule the publishing of content, route inbound messages to the right person, and see what’s being said about the brand on social media.

Get the right content to the right people

Outside of social media, almost all advertising is paid advertising. But social media is more diverse. While you certainly can pay to sponsor posts, there’s also earned, owned, and shared content that are free. There is a place for all kinds of content in your social media strategy. It’s a matter of finding the right balance. When you’re putting together a post, you need to consider your audience and objectives and decide on which type of content will be the best for that particular situation.

Find the right balance of human and machine

One of the most exciting things happening in social media marketing is the emergence of chatbots that can help to automate a lot of the business-customer interactions that take place over the messaging platform. Chatbots can be an excellent tool but they don’t replace the need for high quality social media people. Finding the right balance between human and machine so that your chatbot is helping and not hindering your social media strategy is of utmost importance.

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Ten uses for chatbots you’re about to see a whole lot more often

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When the idea of chatbots was first envisioned, chatbot programmers and tech bloggers claimed it was going to revolutionize the way brands and customers interacted with each other. Actual growth of the chatbot industry wasn’t able to keep up with the hype leading many to believe that chatbots were just a fad that would soon disappear completely but 2018 is beginning to look like the year that chatbots will really start to live up to the hype. Here’s a look at ten industries that will see a shake-up as a result of chatbots in the coming year.

Customer service

An industry that’s already starting to see an impact as a result of chatbots is going to be further impacted in 2018 as more companies deploy customer service chatbots. These chatbots will handle answering frequently asked questions as well as getting preliminary questions out of the way to get an understanding of the nature of the problem, pulling customer information, and routing them to a chat with a live agent.

Data gathering/analytics

Because short text messages sent over SMS or other messaging platforms are less invasive than phone calls, expect chatbots to be used by companies for the purpose of data gathering whether that’s short cusotmer satisfaction surveys, or requests for information that they need like contact info or demographic info.

Healthcare

Anyone who has ever visited an urgent care clinic or emergency room can attest that wait times are a huge problem in the healthcare industry and treatment is often subpar as doctors and nurses rush from one patient to the next to make sure everyone gets seen. We already know that artificially intelligent computers are more accurate and more efficient when it comes to analyzing scans and detecting diseases. Chatbots will soon be used in the healthcare industry so that people can contact a bot, enter into some back and forth question and answering, and get recommendations on what to do next whether that’s over-the-counter medications/treatments or scheduling an appointment with a specialist.

Personal coach

Personal coaches, whether for health/fitness, finance, or any other area are a prime industry for chatbots since they’re adept at asking questions, recognizing patterns, and forming an understanding of who you are as a person and what your interests and tendencies are. Chatbots can pull from all of this info to customize a plan to help you reach your goals, whatever they are.

Concierge

In the hotel industry, there are many tasks that a chatbot concierge could assist with to free up human concierges to focus on more complex tasks. A chatbot concierge could assist people in booking hotel rooms, finding nearby food options based on people’s preferences, and requesting additional amenities such as extra blankets or pillows.

Sales

Companies are already using chatbots to assist online shoppers by offering product recommendations and assisting with online checkouts. Chatbots will soon be used to follow up with customers who made in-store visits and can provide in-store customers with additional info about products not printed on the label.

Personalized news

Chatbots are already being used by people to get personalized news stories delivered right to them. They can tell the chatbot what topics they’re interested in. But soon personalized news chatbots can be even more helpful. They can deliver local news stories that might be relevant based on your location and can even time the delivery of the news according to your schedule, for instance, waiting until your lunch break or after dinner to deliver the news of the day according to your preference.

Personal assistant

Personal assistant chatbots will be great for internal use within companies to facilitate better collaboration between departments or employees within departments. They can coordinate calendars and set up meetings or reach out to HR or IT for employees when the need arises.

User engagement

Website-specific chatbots are already being used by many companies to help their customers navigate their websites. They initiate a chat session when visitors seem stuck. Expect more companies to utilize these kinds of chatbots. In 2018, the majority of the websites you visit may have a chatbot that is there in the background to help you find what you’re looking for.

Banking

A handful of banks have already deployed chatbots but expect the rest to catch up in 2018. Banking chatbots can tell you your current balance, help you transfer funds between accounts, make bill payments, or set up recurring payments, transfers, or direct deposits without having to visit the bank’s website or open up the bank’s mobile app.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: knowstartup.   com/2017/08/10-amazing-chatbot-applications/

No, chatbots aren’t stealing jobs, but they are making those jobs more enjoyable

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Perhaps the most successful area in AI research currently is chatbots. Chatbots are computer programs that simulate a conversation with a human. Through machine learning and natural language processing, these computer programs can understand to a degree what people are saying to them and they can formulate responses that are intelligible and appropriate within the context of the conversation. What makes chatbots such an exciting area of study within artificial intelligence research is that it is a practical area of study and one that already has real-world applications and implications. Businesses are already using chatbots in a number of important ways and one of the biggest uses of chatbots currently is in customer support.

Not everyone is excited at the prospect of chatbots being used in the customer service industry and some are claiming that chatbots will take the jobs of customer service agents. Ironically, these complaints are mostly coming from people who don’t work in the customer service industry. And the majority of those who do (80%) say that they’d welcome chatbots into their customer support team and that chatbots would improve their job satisfaction. For a better understanding of why that’s the case, consider the following points.

Chatbots reduce the mundane

Imagine you work in a customer service on a live chat team. Would you prefer that 90% of the questions you’re asked consist of the same five or six questions or would you prefer to tackle more challenging questions that require you to really exercise your brain to help resolve them? And here’s a follow-up question, would your work day seem faster in the first scenario or the second? If you’re like most people who work in the customer service industry, you’d prefer the second scenario. Assisting in answering the same handful of boring, easy questions day in and day out is mundane. It leads to decreased job satisfaction. Chatbots eliminate this by fielding the easy questions for customer support agents so only the more challenging and unique situations make it through to the human customer support staff.

Chatbots make customers happier

When customers encounter a problem or question, they expect a quick resolution when they turn to the brand’s customer service team for assistance. You can probably imagine quite easily (because it’s happened to you more than once) a situation where you initiate a live chat session with a customer support team and have to wait for several minutes to get beyond the automatically generated message telling your your question has been received. When a live agent does come on to assist you, there are still long gaps between communications because he/she is trying to balance several interactions simultaneously. Your customer service interaction with that agent starts of on the wrong foot and only gets more strained from there. Chatbots eliminate this problem by reducing wait times and freeing up live agents to give more attention to the more difficult situations that chatbots can’t resolve. Customers are happier right at the start because of prompt service and the chances of a successful resolution increase substantially.

Happier customers means happier customer service agents.

We’ve come full circle. Chatbots make employees happier and more productive because they make their jobs less mundane. This in turn makes customers happier because they don’t have to wait as long and they’re dealing with friendlier support staff. And happier customers in turn makes customer service representatives even more effective because they aren’t facing an uphill battle in dealing with an upset customer right from the start.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: entrepreneur.  com/article/299237