It’s 3 AM on a Monday. Maria, a product design engineer, is preparing her presentation of a new ergonomic adjustable standing desk. The weekend flew by, and now it’s crunch time to finalize the presentation. Maria opens the product design application and starts the login process and the application requests an activation code. Maria frantically looks for the code in her email and cloud storage, but to no avail. She calls the CAD design software company’s customer service number, hoping they offer 24/7 support. When a recorded greeting responds to the call, Maria starts to panic. Until she notices an option to communicate with a virtual agent on the company’s website. In under five minutes, the customer service chatbot understands her question and walks her through how to access her alphanumeric code. A wave of relief washes over Maria as she enters the code in her app, and retrieves the needed files for her presentation. After a couple of hours of sleep, she nails the presentation and earns a much-needed vacation.
The company that created the software Maria uses clearly understands the benefit of providing around-the-clock customer support through a chatbot or AI assistant. Could a scenario like this happen to one of your customers, and wind up with a happy ending?
Unlike live agents, AI assistants don’t need coffee breaks or lunch hours. They aren’t absent due to illness, holidays or even natural disasters which can put human lives at risk. Beyond cost savings, these virtual assistants can be leveraged as a business continuity strategy for customer service centers. They can be programmed to cross-sell a company’s full portfolio of service, upsell from their product catalog, and make recommendations based on a customer’s previous orders and preferences.
Better customer service experiences, at a lower cost
- 265 billion customer support requests are made every year, and it costs businesses a whopping $1.3 trillion to service them. Chatbots can reduce these costs significantly when companies upgrade from antiquated, inefficient IVR technology to AI, chatbots, virtual assistants, messaging and other new technologies that are already helping transform call centers across the world.
- According to Chatbots Magazine, businesses can reduce customer service costs by up to 30% by implementing conversational solutions like virtual agents and chatbots.
Make customer service easy, because losing customers is expensive
- Statistics from contact center software provider Aspect Software estimate that the average cost of a customer service phone interaction is around $35 to $50 per interaction. Text chat, by comparison, is significantly less expensive, averaging around $8 to $10 per session. In the healthcare and banking sectors, the Juniper Research study found that interaction costs can also be lowered significantly, by an estimated 70 cents per interaction by 2022 with chatbot automation. Studies show that it’s realistic to aim to deflect between 40% – 80% of common customer service inquiries to chatbots.
- Customers, especially millennials, are increasingly turning away from calling for support and opting for messaging and other self-service channels.
Natural Language Processing to the rescue
- Whether customers reach your customer service center by phone, website, SMS text, email or social media, Natural Language Processing is critical. It enables customers to connect with your company in a more human way than navigating through Boolean search terms, drop-down menus, radio buttons, and forms.
- A recent analyst report from Juniper Research found that by 2022, chatbots and NLP will save companies about $8 billion per year in customer support costs.
AI chatbots continue to learn from every customer interaction
- When agents and chatbots help each other to deliver better service, it fosters increased customer trust and confidence in chatbots as well. It becomes a closed-loop “virtuous circle” of learning and trust.