Customer service is one of the hardest things to get right in the modern business landscape. Yet artificial intelligence is reimagining this essential part of the customer experience with chat bots and automated responses like never before. 

Today, customers no longer need to wait for the response to a simple query just because the person at the other end was away from their desk. In fact with the magic of artificial intelligence, businesses have ensured there doesn’t need to be a person at the other end at all!

There’s a definite advantage in using machine learning to cater to the urgent needs of consumers but in these trying times, the benefit of AI powered chat bots and customer support is even greater. 

Let’s take a look at how businesses have used artificial intelligence to make the art of customer service faster, easier and more efficient with the use of customer service chat bots and how this revolutionary technology will help you redefine your customer support in 2020.

What are Customer Service Chat Bots?

You would have probably seen (and interacted with) a customer service chat bot a hundred times while visiting websites on the internet. Though these helpful little bots are customized to appear differently on each website, they all essentially perform the same function.

Chat bots are software applications that are used to provide quick and ready made responses to frequently asked questions by customers. These responses are automated and once set, do not require any human intervention. 

It’s important to know that there are essentially two types of customer support chat bots. The first is the simple rule-based chat bot. It relies on programmed responses by detecting keywords in the queries of customers. Since it cannot learn from the interactions with humans so the responses do not vary as long as the query is interpreted in the same way.

The second type of chat bot is AI chat bot that relies on artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide customer support. This is the one we will be focusing on throughout but let’s just touch on some basics first. So an AI chat bot uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning to learn from the interactions with humans and then replicate human-like responses. 

The most impressive feature about the AI chat bot is that it learns as it interacts with customers. So unlike normal chat bots, AI-powered chat bots can answer different forms of the same question and can even adjust their responses according to changes in the query. 

This is important because not all customers are satisfied with the same answer. Even though the wording may be similar, yet the reason for asking the question may be different. When you take this into consideration, having an AI powered chat bot that adjusts responses based on the type of consumer is an edge over the field. 

AI chat bots even collect data from frequently asked questions and other information sources such as articles to give immediate responses to consumers’ queries. This is what sets them apart and why AI has become such a driving force behind the improvement in customer service and support.

Even though normal chat bots can still be found on many websites all over the internet yet artificial intelligence has made non-learning bots all but obsolete. This is because businesses have recognized how chat bots with machine learning are redefining the practice of customer service and growing sales online

Let’s take a look at exactly how they are able to go one step further than their less sophisticated predecessors.

How AI is Redefining Chat Bot Support?

Traditionally, chat bots gave predetermined answers according to their programming. This might not have been useful to customers since each customer has a different mindset and set of queries. So, normal chat bots could be shrugged off as fancy additions to a website just to make it look good, without adding much value for customers. 

Artificial intelligence has changed that mindset drastically with its ability to allow chat bots to learn responses and behavior. This has impacted not just the way customer service takes place but also how customers experience the brand and business online.

After all, the difference between a good and bad customer experience could be chalked up to how well their requirements are met on an urgent basis. With AI powered customer service chat bots, customers are able to get an intelligent reply to an immediate query. A couple of seconds saved makes all the difference to a user who is in a hurry!

The beauty of chat bots with artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities is that they recognize the need of users more effectively and respond to it more efficiently. Something that cannot be said for normal chat bots with linear programmed responses.

As chat bots learn with each interaction, they are able to improve the responses given to customers. They can even easily identify frequently asked questions and provide a response even before the user finishes typing the question.

Not to mention, AI powered chat bots have multilingual capabilities and can be used to support customer service across all devices. This is particularly useful for businesses that need to expand worldwide and attract visitors from multiple locations. 

You can even map the entire customer journey with the interactions customers record with chat bot support systems. By flagging certain keywords and phrases as checkpoints in the customer lifecycle, the progress of customers from awareness to purchase can be better understood.

Naturally, this gives your business valuable insights as to how you can improve the customer journey simply by monitoring the interactions between chat bots and customers. 

These small yet intelligent improvements, built on the back of AI and machine learning, have drastically redefined the customer support for businesses online. With AI, chat bots have become an asset to businesses by ensuring consumers remember their experience and return to repeat it once more.

How AI-Powered Chat Bots can Improve Customer Service?

By extension of the improvements to customer support chat bots mentioned above, AI has given businesses the opportunity to improve their entire customer service experience. As chat bots for support handle the menial and repetitive queries of customers, your customer service agents are free to deal with more complex issues.

This provides two benefits in one go. Firstly, your business saves cost by allowing AI chat bots to engage with customers which is a scalable solution for all devices. Secondly, you prevent employee burnout by shielding your customer service agents from repetitive tasks that drain energy and reduce motivation. 

Instead, you can redirect your resources to tasks that require intensive focus and can only be solved through human intervention. You can be rest assured that when your agents do intervene in customer service tasks, it is for queries that could not be addressed by customer service chat bots. 

After all, no matter how advanced chat bots are they cannot replace the expertise and experience of real life people. So you can improve your customer service by allowing AI powered chat bots to give product tours and send targeted messages to first time and returning customers thereby allowing you to optimize your SEM strategy as well.

All the while, 24/7 customer support will be available through AI chat bots that save costs and respond immediately to customer queries. So when it is time for actual customer service agents to step in, it is either at the end of the purchase cycle or to address a serious concern for the customer. 

Besides providing customer support, AI-powered chat bots also improve customer experience through website navigation and integration of services. Most customers do not have the time to browse through entire web pages and websites to find what they are looking for. 

That’s where chat bots come in handy. You’ll be able to save your customer’s time and effort through AI chat bots who know exactly what they’re looking for with the least amount of interaction. 

The beauty of AI chat bot customer service is that you can measure and improve it as you go. So if you notice that some answers by your chat bot are being ranked as unhelpful by customers, you can improve the answers and address pain points for the users in the process.

Why Chat Bots for Support are Important in 2020?

With all the benefits of chat bots in customer service discussed already, there’s one benefit that needs to be reiterated. The lack of interaction required to complete a transaction or to satisfy a customer is unique to AI chat bots. 

This capability has never been more useful than in today’s circumstances when a worldwide pandemic has shut down markets and all but eliminated human interaction.

For online businesses operating through the COVID-19 pandemic, chat bots for customer support present a unique opportunity. Brands and businesses can continue to maintain relationships and satisfy customer needs with artificial intelligence chat bots. 

Instant solutions and immediate responses to urgent consumer needs in a time of crisis are sure to be valued by customers. The integration of this technology with online businesses is important in 2020 for the sake of survival as well as success.

It’s no secret either that AI is fast revolutionizing the world of online business which means that sooner or later, all businesses will have to follow the trend. Otherwise they will not be able to fulfill the quality of customer service that 21st century customers have come to expect from brands.

So the sooner businesses jump onto this bandwagon of AI powered technologies, starting with chat bots for customer support, the sooner they will be able to meet the expectations of customers. 

The learning capabilities of AI powered chat bots are particularly important in this regard. As consumers will have less contact with actual employees this year, chat bots can help identify pain points and offer improvements.

For example, if a consumer comes to a website and inputs that a certain response by the chat bot was unhelpful, the AI based customer support program will register this feedback and improve responses in the future. This can also provide your business with valuable insights about what is and what isn’t working for customers on your website. With objective insights you’ll be better able to eliminate biases in AI chat bots.

As such, improvements can be made simultaneously to your customer support chat bots as well as to certain aspects of the business while interaction with customers is reduced. These insights may even help you to eliminate bias in your preliminary findings.

Despite the current crisis, 2020 represents an opportunity of integrating and improving your AI customer support program so that it improves customer experiences and makes your business equipped for the future.