AI and chatbots: an illusion, evil, or a revolution?

Published on Jul 01, 2019 at 3:50 pm in Blog

AI helping humans“Silicon Valey and social media are the biggest criminals!” This is my translation of the title of an opinion article that I read from El Pais very recently. Being in the contact center and customer service industry for quite a few years now and having and inside knowledge about the benefits of AI to ease people’s lives, I couldn’t disagree more with Markus Gabriel.  

According to him, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an illusion, it doesn’t exist and it never will. What exists is software code written by humans to exploit other humans”.  Say what? Exploitation? Sorry but no, it’s quite the opposite. 

AI is a reality, not an illusion and it is revolutionizing the customer service industry to simplify humans’ lives and improve companies’ business results.  As the world shifts gears from social media towards messaging apps, it’s time to bring down the misconceptions of AI and chatbots and point out what great opportunity it is for businesses. 

Chatbots are dummy 

There is a general understanding that chatbots are just dummy machines that do not understand user’s intent and never get the answers right. These may be true allegations, but it doesn’t have to be that way. AI technology, such as Natural Language Processing (NPS) and Machine Learning, enables chatbot training to recognize and process user intent and provide contextual, custom answers to customer queries. It´s all a question of how well the bot is trained and how good is the continuous learning process. When it gets to a point where the conversation is not going anywhere, the chat bot can transfer the interaction to an agent, to ensure that the customer is handled properly. 

It’s true that chatbots are not able to understand human emotions and they don’t have a personality, but they can help to deliver a great customer experience. An insurance company wouldn´t have a chatbot handle critical problems, such as a line to report home damages caused by wildfires, as that requires for sympathy and empathy; but they can certainly use a chatbot for new policy suggestions. An AI chatbot can understand customer needs and suggest the most appropriate policy. 

 Chat bots will replace humans and take over their jobs 

“AI will be a net job creator starting in 2020 … AI will automate 1.8 million people out of work, but it will create 2.3 million jobs” Gartner 

Chatbots will never replace humans. What they do is, using AI, take care of monotonous, repetitive, time consuming tasks, optimizing human potential in a smart and efficient manner. Chatbots help businesses to give their customers quick and consistent answers to FAQs or other simple queries; reducing the workload of human resources, leaving them free to focus on other complex and important tasks. AI and chatbots are changing how we work and shifting human responsibilities towards more specialized content. AI helps humans to do their jobs more effectively, rather than being a threat. A chatbot can help a human, but not replace a human. Yes, they can be used to engage customers, but ultimately, if there is any requirement for critical thinking or emotional intelligence, humans must come to the rescue to ensure the best customer service. 

 Chatbots only serve for simple transactions and pulling simple data 

Most people think that the purpose of chatbots is to chat with customers when there are no human agents available to do so. It can’t be farther from reality as chat bots can handle most requests from the most varied types. Business as diverse as H&M personal shopperfinancial advisor for important banking institutions, or Svenson hair clinics benefit from an AI chatbot to improve their business results. As can more traditional sector, such as medicine. AI technology already uses algorithms to diagnose diseases, make recommendations about treatments, and even have robots to perform surgeries. 

study by PWC states that in the next five years AI chatbots will be interacting with customers in the following business sectors: 

consumers believe AI will replace humans. How AI is pushing man and machine closer together
“In the next five years, I can see AI replacing humans as a…”

 

Chatbots are here to disrupt, in a good way, how we interact with services from any industry, as they have the power to deliver the most excellent customer service and business results. 

Chatbots support only text messages 

Not really. It’s true that text-based messaging, with more than 3 billion active users on the 4 top messaging Apps, paved the road for the acceptance of chatbots, but voice is a more natural way of conversation. Both bot types allow customers to accomplish a task and both are powered by NLP to process interactions in an intelligent way.  Moreover, text based chatbots can support voice, through the use of text to speech technology, to transform voice into a text message. Businesses can also use chatbots to transfer documents and other media with customers. 

Chatbots are only for big companies 

This is probably the biggest misconception about chatbots. If configured correctly, they can deliver an outstanding service and modernize small businesses. They can provide service 24*7, allowing the business to run non stop at no additional cost. Customer satisfaction is crucial to the success of all businesses, this is even more true for small companies. The fact that chatbots offer real help in real time, highly increase customer satisfaction and engagement and customer retention.  

AI and cloud technology make chatbots a must have feature for businesses of any size. They are crucial to provide an engaging customer experience for all sectors. There is a task for every bot, from answering simple questions and queries to using natural language to reminding patients of the healthcare sector to take their medicine. Don’t miss the AI hype and empower your business with a chatbot. I promise you won’t regret it!  

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