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Chatbots: Disruption is coming to the call centre

By Joe Tawfik, CEO of Kinetic Consulting Services. Leveraging the latest in AI technology and robotics, chatbots are expected to replace numerous jobs in the contact centre industry. In one case study, Shell designed a bot to answer technical questions on over 3,000 products. It reduced call volumes by 40%.

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are programs that are designed to provide an interaction which mimics a human. Programs like Siri or Cortana are the most accessible examples. The interactions are becoming more sophisticated as cognitive computing has matured in the past couple of years. Chatbots are used by companies to provide customer service and help desk support to customers.

Whilst most s use only online messaging to communicate with customers, there is a rise in the number of chatbots that are being deployed to provide voice interactions using natural language for any customer service interaction.

Companies such as Artificial Solutions are providing a low-cost platform to enable companies to design a chatbot specifically for their business using natural language. Their Teneo platform accepts spoken and textual inputs, processes this input and delivers a relevant output. The platform supports 21 languages and has been designed to provide human-like interactions through sophisticated dialogue management algorithms.

They can talk to other machines

These chatbots don’t just mimic humans but have the ability to access other systems and websites during a conversation to deliver the appropriate answer to a question. They have the ability to perform actual transactions during a conversation as well making them more useful in a customer service or help desk interaction.

At any point if the chatbot is unable to process the enquiry there is always the option to transfer the enquiry to a human counterpart to enable them to complete the interaction.

What about the customer experience?

Poorly designed chatbots can have a devastating impact on the customer experience, however, the technologies existing today have carefully considered the importance of giving chatbots a personality to properly reflect the brand values of the company. Many of the solutions enable you to fabricate a personality for your chatbot.

If properly designed, the chatbot can provide a higher level of consistency with each interaction enabling companies to deliver a branded experience more easily than with live agents. In addition, companies can control the wait times for queues and can theoretically eliminate ALL wait times for their customers using chatbots.