Seizing chatbot opportunities in customer service
In a 2022 Marketing AI Institute study, only half of responders told them AI was “either very important or critically important” to their success. Just one year later, 64% now say AI is critically important to their success and almost 40% of those people are involved in CX.
Customer experience is changing rapidly.
The once-humble chatbot, set up with only a rigid set of FAQs, is now driven by powerful AI technology. Next-generation assistants use natural language processing to understand everyday human language and assist people with enquiries. Unlimited integrations mean you can blend AI seamlessly into your everyday business systems too, like your CMS or booking system.
When The Boston Consulting Group ran a global survey of customer service leaders, almost all of them (95%) said they expect their customers will be served by a chatbot “at some point in their customer service interactions within the next three years”.
AI chatbots are no longer an optional tool for customer service providers, they’re central to enhancing CX. It’s not a question of if you should, but how you will make the most of their potential.
11 ways AI chatbots are improving customer service today
From travel and retail to property and leisure, frontrunners in all kinds of industries are reaping the rewards of using AI, from corporates and startups to local government. Here’s a peek into 11 specific examples of all the ways AI chatbots are reshaping and improving customer service right now.
1. Give instant responses to customer queries
Move past the era of overlooked emails and exasperating phone queues. An AI chatbot can give your customers real-time, instantaneous responses to promptly solve their queries.
When leisure provider Mytime Active had to unexpectedly close their call centre, their AI assistant let customers know what was happening and handled queries as they came in, so the contact team could re-open without a backlog and they got zero complaints.
3. Greet customers on their preferred channels
AI chatbots help to rapidly improve your omnichannel experience since they can chat with customers across multiple channels, including the messenger and social media platforms they already use. Make your service available where they are and customers don’t have to go to any effort to reach you. They’re more likely to return when support is accessible and user-friendly.
Over many years, Stena Line Ferries kept their AI assistant versatile and saw a 171% increase in users talking to it every year after it launched. Stina appeared everywhere, from Facebook Messenger to their Travel Mate mobile app, and even had the ability to assist passengers on-board as a hologram.
4. Serve anyone, anywhere, with multilingual capabilities
Breaking down language barriers is a breeze for AI chatbots, thanks to their multilingual skills. Use AI to support any customer, wherever they may be, removing language barriers. Easily pave the way for an accessible, first-rate customer service that reaches every corner of the globe.
Stina, whose fame we already mentioned, helps ferry passengers across all of Northern Europe and so was trained to speak in English, Swedish, Polish, Norwegian and Dutch.
5. Automate lead generation
AI chatbots have become an automatic lead generator, especially using QR codes to offer customer support on the go. Property managers, for example, can add a QR code to For Sale or To Let boards for potential buyers and tenants to scan. QR codes take them straight through to the AI chatbot to book a viewing, right there and then, speeding up the enquiry process and filling up your diary with potential new customers.
6. Keep a consistent tone and accurate information
Using an AI chatbot to handle routine enquiries eliminates the risk of human error, making sure customers receive consistent and correct information every single time, so they can put trust in your service and stay loyal. A word of warning, though: choose which platform you use to create your chatbot carefully.
LLMs (large language models) like ChatGPT are transforming customer service, making it faster and easier to create and train your AI chatbot. The problem is, LLMs are prone to making up answers (hallucinating) and giving customers a different answer every time, which goes against the consistent service you’ll want to provide. To eliminate this risk of sending out wrong information, choose a more advanced AI assistant with enhanced capabilities from a provider that keeps a human in the loop (HITL) at all times. The HITL makes sure, once you’ve given your AI chatbot a response to give to customers, it’s never changed or altered unless you actively choose to update it.
Name your AI chatbot for maximum business impact and it can also help with offering a uniform customer experience for every interaction. When The Camping and Caravan Club first launched their AI assistant, Compass, they found customers responded well to their new aptly-named personality that guides and directs them through their services.
7. Offer self-service to give customers independence
AI chatbots naturally create a smoother self-service journey for customers with parts of your service fully automated. Take a car dealership. A potential buyer can interact with an AI chatbot to book a test drive without any human intervention. This not only saves your agents time, so you can focus on the test drive itself, it’s a much better experience for your customers, making the booking process quicker and easier.
8. Automate onboarding
By handling routine tasks and initial customer interactions, AI chatbots can make sure all the new customers you bring on board get a seamless introduction to your services. Automate onboarding and, overnight, your process can become more efficient and user-friendly.
For Get Living property developers, onboarding new customers means moving them into new rental apartments and they use their advanced AI assistant, Evie, to do this. From reminding people to fill in the inventory to letting them know where they can park, new tenants can ask Evie for help with anything they need to help settle in.
9. Make it easy for customers to choose from multiple services
If you work for an organisation that has many different locations, services or departments, like a local council, you can use an AI chatbot to avoid passing people between agents and departments to get the answers they need; simply train it to recognise which enquiries relate to which department. Barking & Dagenham Council use their AI assistant to handle queries for six different departments.
To avoid more sensitive or complicated queries being automated, use live chat alongside your AI chatbot to pass customers straight through to one of your agents. The best bit is, that agent will know from the history of the AI-driven chat exactly what your customer needs help with, so they can go straight through to the right department without any fuss or frustration.
10. Deliver personalised experiences for every individual
AI chatbots take personalisation to a whole new level, catering your experience to each unique individual, even if you have tens of thousands of customers. Knowing the habits and preferences of every customer, smart AI assistants can offer highly personalised recommendations for each person. This transforms your customer insights, so you can turn everything your AI chatbot learns about your customers into actionable steps to enhance the service you provide for them and improve satisfaction.
The AI grocery assistant for Coop Sweden knows to only recommend recipes with suitable ingredients to customers who only shop vegan and never buy meat. It’s the equivalent of that customer going straight to the free-from aisle in-store because the AI chatbot already knows what they want (and don’t want).
11. Reduce hold times
Say goodbye to lengthy hold times with AI chatbots. They answer customer queries instantly, cutting out time customers have typically spent waiting for a response. This swift service not only boosts customer satisfaction but also frees up your customer service agents to work on more profitable or unusual tasks, improving overall efficiency and making room to grow your business.
Understanding how AI assistants can help customers
Automated services are instant, easy to use, and help remove traditional elements of frustration that creep in for customers. When we created an AI assistant for Legal & General Insurance, 83% of their customers who used it started turning to it first for help, rather than emailing in or phoning up.
- Access to support that suits their schedule (any time of the day or night) is convenient for customers and so encourages them to stick with your service.
- Not having to sit on hold or wait for replies means customers can avoid frustration, especially when enquiries are urgent or they’re out and about needing mobile support along the way.
- Consistently receiving prompt, accurate replies means customers can feel more able to put their trust in you, since you provide a dependable service that makes their lives easier.
- Being able to access an AI chatbot from anywhere in the world means there’s no barrier to anyone getting support and customers have the freedom to interact with you from anywhere.
- Customers can feel empowered by self-service options, having the opportunity to solve their problem instantly for themselves and make their own way to a swift resolution.
- Having the freedom to use any channel to chat with you means customers can use their favourite platforms or those they’re most familiar with to feel at ease using your service.
- Customers don’t have to keep repeating themselves when there’s a real-time transcript of what they’re asking for help with, so they can get help quickly and move on with their day.
- Get to know your customers well enough to make relevant recommendations and reliable suggestions and they’ll spend less time having to search for the right products and services.
Stress-free CX using AI chatbots
One clear theme that runs through all the reasons why AI chatbots improve customer service is eliminating frustration. Since customers will often need help with a problem or to clear up some confusion, removing hurdles that typically annoy people, like long wait times, being passed between departments, or having to get in touch at certain times or through limited channels, is a real win for customer service leaders. Especially since Salesforce found “only 38% of consumers actually want to talk with a human when engaging a brand”.
Using AI chatbots, it’s easy and affordable to offer a convenient, personalised customer experience so that everyone that comes to you gets a superior service.
Improve your customer service today with a next-gen AI assistant
You don’t need any technical skill to launch an AI assistant. It takes just 10 minutes and all you need is your website url ― take a look at our how-to guide to see just how easy it is.