Tag: customer service chatbots

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.

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

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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

No Facebook’s chatbots weren’t planning to overthrow humanity

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Facebook’s AI team made headlines across the world this week when they announced that they were shutting down a chatbot project after their chatbots developed a new language to more effectively communicate with each other–a language humans couldn’t understand. The announcement sparked a long-held fear of humans: that our machines could rise up and overthrow. Dozens of news networks published pieces with scary sounding headlines about artificial intelligence takeovers. They couldn’t have been farther from the truth. For hundreds of years humanity has feared new technologies because we fear what we do not understand. Hollywood has capitalized on this fear making movie after movie where robots overthrow us and enslave or destroy us. But that’s not what was happening with Facebook’s chatbot project.

The project

A few weeks ago, Facebook announced a project they were working on with the goal of creating chatbots that could be trained to negotiate and strike deals with each other. The thinking behind this is that deal-making is an integral part of interpersonal communication and the world of business and if chatbots are going to play a role in that future, then they need to have negotiating skills. Facebook’s team used machine learning by inputting real-world examples of negotiations–actual transcripts that the program could use to look for patterns and “understand” how negotiations work. Next, they would instruct two chatbots to negotiate by instructing them to divide up a collection of various different items between themselves. The hope was that they would make deals: “If I can have this item and this item, you can have that item and that item, etc…” It didn’t work out that way.

What went wrong?

The chatbots evidently diverged from human speech instead speaking a gibberish version of it. Make no mistake, this wasn’t some advanced language designed to hide their motives from human observers. It went something like this:

Bob: “i can i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .”

Alice: “balls have zero to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to me to…”

What does it all mean?

The end result didn’t surprise the researchers (though it certainly disappointed them) nor should it have surprised us. Artificial intelligence can do some incredible things. In fact the same principles of machine learning that Facebook used to teach negotiating to machines was already successfully used to develop computer programs that can beat the most intelligent humans at their own game be it chess or some other strategic game. But language is infinitely more complex, even more than chess and harder to teach machines.

Not a complete failure

The researchers didn’t shut down their negotiating bots because they feared a robot apocalypse. They shut it down because chatbots that communicate in a way humans can’t understand offer no benefit to humanity. They will go back to the drawing board and create parameters that prevent them from reverting to gibberish and try again. This is how artificially intelligent chatbots are programmed: through trial and error.

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Source: wired   .com/story/facebooks-chatbots-will-not-take-over-the-world/

 

Pros and cons of deploying a chatbot

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As with any mobile marketing channel, chatbots have their strengths and weaknesses. Before investing in chatbots, it’s a good idea to understand where they’re current at, technology-wise and what they can and can’t do.

Pro: They provide a personalized experience

Since chatbots can be programmed to have access to a vast amount of data, it can provide people with a highly personalized experience. Imagine a shopping assistant chatbot that remembers the personal tastes of each person it assists. I would be able to suggest products that the shopper is much more likely to purchase.

Con: They’re not quite human

Though the artificial intelligence programming that goes into chatbots has come along way, they still can’t fool humans. Currently, most of the chatbots being developed are only capable of choosing from a selection of set sentences or questions. They can’t create sentences in an infinite number of ways like humans can and within a minute or two users will catch on that they’re chatting with a computer program. This is off-putting to some who will still prefer doing things the old-fashioned way–speaking, or at least chatting with a real person.

Pro: They can shorten customer support wait times

If you’re planning on using a chatbot for customer service purposes, you can free up live agents by letting the chatbots ask the routine questions and pull customer data. They can also route customers to the appropriate department similar to the way that automated phone answering systems do for phone calls. If customers are able to get assistance via text promptly, they will have a more positive customer service experience and will be more likely to remain customers–and customer support users–in the future.

Con: They can get caught in a loop of unhelpfulness

Most people have had the experience of listening through a series of options and trying to navigate a complicated automated phone answering system to get to the help they need. The same thing could happen with chatbots if they aren’t programmed well and if there aren’t enough humans monitoring things to jump in and take the reins. Chatbots won’t always be able to understand what a human is saying or asking and consequently, they’ll provide unhelpful responses. If a customer can’t get the help they need promptly, the chatbot may do more harm than good when it comes to the reputation of the brand it’s representing. This drawback of chatbots can be overcome through better programming and live agent support. A “go back” command option, for instance, could allow a customer to return to a previous question or back out of a line of thought that they don’t want to pursue. If the chatbot is quicker to admit that it can’t assist a customer and quicker in transferring that person to a live agent that can, it will be viewed in a better light than if it were to keep guessing incorrectly until the customer gives up.

 

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Source: martechtoday   .com/pros-cons-future-facebook-chatbots-200783