AI is Changing the Face of Customer Service

Having a good customer service process is an integral element to the success of any business. The way this process looks, however, is dramatically changing.

Let’s explore the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and messaging for customer service.  

The Rise of Chatbots

A chatbot is an artificial intelligence or a computer program that interacts with a user through text or audio. It’s hard to imagine a world without chatbots since it has become part of ordinary transactions today. However, they weren’t always around to assist customers.

Chatbots was first contemplated by Alan Turing, an English computer scientist who authored the paper, “Computer Machinery and Intelligence”, in 1950. In his article, Turing outlined the Turing artificial intelligence test and challenged his students and colleagues by asking whether machines can think.

The Turing test inspired many computer scientists. Among them was Joseph Weizenbaum, who created ELIZA in 1966. ELIZA set out the foundation for the structure of chatbots used today such as pre-programmed responses, keywords, and specific phrases.

Impact of AI to Customer Service

In research conducted by Forrester, messaging itself ranked as the No.1 customer service channel preferred by consumers in South Korea, Singapore, India and the US, and among the top three preferred channels across the world.

Small wonder then, a large proportion of businesses (both big and small) and incorporating some form of messaging functionality into their CRM.

Round-the-clock Service

Chatbots can be operational 365 days a year and 24 hours a day, allowing them to serve your customers even while you’re sleeping or doing other tasks.

Easy Access

Chatbots can be easily accessed by users who are increasingly moving away from traditional phone inquiries and want everything accessible from their mobile phone.

Consumers are not the only ones who benefit from chatbots. According to Chatbots Magazine, the incorporation of AI-enabled customer support by businesses has saved up to 30% in cost as it allows prompt resolution of basic customer queries. Juniper Research relayed that chatbots were responsible for a $20 million business savings in 2017. In addition, research by PWC showed 34 per cent of business executives express that utilizing chatbots reduced their workload and allowed them to focus on creating new business ideas, which were previously spent on resolving clients’ concerns.

Aside from the benefits mentioned, the use of chatbots can also increase your sales.

In a recent experiment conducted by HubSpot using Facebook Messenger to drive and follow up leads to an event, they saw an incredible 477 per cent reduction in lead cost, and 242 per cent increase in opens, followed by a 619 per cent increase to their click through rate. Not bad for a free bot integration.