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View from the Labs: How Can Chatbots Help Your Business?

With the advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning coupled with the exponentially increasing data that businesses have to churn, leveraging AI to automate tasks is becoming extremely important, even for low-level decision-making. Done well, AI enables enterprises to reduce their operational costs and frees up its workforce to focus on the things that require the human touch.

AI, and more specifically, chatbots, have received a lot of attention and are increasingly used for business purposes. But what exactly are they? A chatbot is an artificially intelligent chat robot designed to interact with humans via textual or auditory conversation methods particularly over the internet. It is a computer software design that allows conversations between human and machine using artificial intelligence. The key word here is ‘conversations’. We interact with chatbots as we do with humans. Chatbots therefore are and programmed to support animation and text or speech recognition to provide virtual user interaction.

Instead of finding information via a search tab or drop down menu, chatbots offer a completely different navigational experience. Because chatbots offer a more human-based interaction rather than traditional text-based interaction, they’ve proved useful for increasing customer engagement. Conversation-based engagement creates a feeling of closeness and can improve customer relationships. Companies can use the resulting feedback to optimize their businesses more quickly.

Chatbots can be accessed via various platforms such as web pages, social networking websites, smartphones and computers. They can be made to interact with human in various languages and can also be made available in various graphical design format based on the end user application. These bots use Natural Language processing (NLP), Text to speech (TSS) and Speech to text (STT) services to interact with humans. When we work on such services, we apply our rigorous framework approach, which helps the resulting bot closely align with business strategy and most crucially, deliver the intended business results. Businesses who’ve worked with us before will know first-hand how this strategy-led, flexible approach helps overcome the inevitable bottlenecks associated with implementing a new service and smooths the rollout process.

Many of us have come across chatbots in some capacity already. They are increasingly used in the sphere of retail customer service, for instance. But what other use cases are we seeing? Let’s take a look at some of the ways chatbots improve businesses.

Customer service

You may already be familiar with these human/chatbot conversations. Preliminary interactions are carried out by chatbots. Conversations can then be scrutinized and staff members can be intervene for selected interactions. By focusing human problem-solving only on the cases that the chatbot can’t resolve, businesses are experiencing improvements in efficiency, cost savings as well as “softer” benefits to do with improved interaction with customers.

Online shopping

Online shopping, popular as it is, has been dogged by its inability to “curate” the shopping experience the way a beautiful display and an attentive sales assistant can in a real shop. Enter….chatbots! Chatbots are used to show customers products after asking them their preferences, thereby personalizing shopping experience for the customers.

Retail banking

Banks have been quick to realize the benefits of AI. Customers routinely want the same sort of straight-forward information to do with their current accounts, such as the balance, the last ten transactions etc. Chatbots are well-suited to this task, leaving staff to trouble-shoot the trickier requests, resulting in improved user experience overall.

Healthcare

Chatbots can make very effective preliminary medical advisors thereby helping the triage process. They are programmed to talk to patients to establish symptoms. They can schedule appointments with a physician and can help prioritize cases that need urgent care.

Finance

Chatbots can be used alongside other investment advice services to offer investment options based on customer’s investment horizon and risk appetite. Man vs. machine trading has long been debated in financial circles. AI takes that to the next level and will eventually be a powerful, and disruptive, force.

Travel

If a chatbot understands your preferences and can see your previous bookings, it can recommend holidays, hotels and flights. We’re used to ads targeting us with the latest holiday deals, but imagine if a bot could inform us if a favorite destination or route was on offer, or was selling-out fast? No more having to catch over-priced flights home at inconvenient times around Thanksgiving, for instance!

Chatbots will play a significant role in each and every industry to improve the customer experience, improve efficiency and save on costs. How a business uses bots can be a real differentiator whether because of an innovative, unusual use case or because of efficiencies gained through automation. In the near future, it will become critical to implement bots not only for growth but as a means of retaining their positions in the market.

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