Three Things You Need to Know Before Deploying Your First Chatbot

Chatbots are the big trend in customer service today and many experts predict that they’ll completely alter the way that people and brands interact going forward. Chatbots can not only ease the burden on customer service agents but they can in eliminate the need for costly mobile apps that many smaller businesses can’t afford. But before you invest time and money in developing and deploying a chatbot for your small business, here are three things you need to know first.

Who is your audience?

Your chatbot can’t interact effectively with your customer base if it doesn’t understand who they are and what makes them tick. And the only way your chatbot can be programmed to know your audience is if you already know them and make the effort to program your bot with that same knowledge. Some obvious places to start is with obvious demographics. Are they primarily male or female or an even mix? Are they younger or older or does their age vary widely? Do they come from wealthier or poorer backgrounds? Do they lean conservative or liberal? Chances are your customers will usually divide along these lines. Another thing to consider about your customer base is where they usually turn for customer service help. To they go to your website, call a customer service line or do they turn to social media for help?

What is your goal and how can you achieve it?

You need to have well-defined goals for your chatbot or it will be a complete failure. A surprising number of companies are just programming chatbots just to do it because everyone else is. To improve the customer service experience is a given but how specifically do you want to improve it? Are you trying to reduce wait times? If so, how can your chatbot help you accomplish that? Also recognize that your chatbot won’t be an overnight success. Chatbots learn by making mistakes. You will almost certainly need to go in and make adjustments to make it more effective and achieving the goals you’ve set for your bot.

How will you get customers to use it?

No matter how much time and effort you put into creating a useful chatbot, it will all be a waste if your customers don’t know about it or don’t wish to use it. Revisit the question of audience and where they turn to for customer assistance. If you have a customer service line they usually call, maybe you can provide instructions for reaching out to your chatbot in the automated phone answering system you use so customers waiting for a live agent might hang up and go to your chatbot. If they go to your website, you might have your chatbot initiate a conversation when it seems your customers are stuck on a webpage. You can use existing marketing channels whether that’s email, SMS, or something else to tell your frequent customers about your newest customer service agent. Give it a catchy name that people will remember and be excited about.

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Source: smallbiztrends.com/2017/08/chatbots-for-customer-service.html

#ai-chatbots, #chatbot-ai, #chatbot-programming, #chatbots, #customer-service-chatbots

When Will Chatbots be Able to Pass the Turing Test?

Alan Turing was a renowned computer scientist and mathematician and a pioneer of artificial intelligence and machine learning research. It was Turing who proposed a test for distinguishing between “true” artificial intelligence and the machines that can kind of replicate it.

The Turing Test

The Turing Test is rather simple: a human converses with a machine (either verbally written) without seeing it. If the human cannot tell whether the machine is human or not, it is said to has passed the Turing Test. Artificial intelligence and machine learning research has come a long way since Alan Turing’s death in 1954 but we still haven’t been able to create a machine capable of tricking a human into thinking it’s human. For a good example of how far we’ve come and how far we have to go, look no further than the growing popularity of chatbots.

What are chatbots

Chatbots are computer programs that can be deployed on SMS or other messaging platforms to communicate textually with humans. They’re a perfect real-world example of the Turing Test in action. The problem is that it doesn’t take humans very long to realize that the entity they’re chatting with online isn’t human.

What chatbots can and can’t do

Most chatbots are designed to do one or two simple tasks that humans ask of them or they might be programmed to select the appropriate response to a predetermined set of frequently asked questions. More advanced programs like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri have been programmed to respond to a wider number of questions but they still fall short of passing the Turing Test because they aren’t actually able to think as humans do. They have access to vast amounts of information that they can draw from to answer questions or perform certain tasks. What they can’t do is infer meaning from language. They can select an appropriate response to a question when certain keywords are used or when it’s worded in a way they’re programmed to recognize. But they can’t parse language as humans and take into account the context of when it was said and by whom and with what tone to know what the person is meaning.

What are they good for

More intelligent chatbots that can fool humans and pass the infamously difficult Turing Test may yet be developed but in the meantime, the chatbots that are being developed serve a purpose. They automate customer service and free up human resources by fielding the easy questions and handling the more mundane parts of the job that require less critical thinking. And many consumers prefer dealing with chatbots than having to get on the phone and be put on hold.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: sciencemag.org/news/2017/06/when-will-alexa-google-assistant-and-other-chatbots-finally-talk-us-real-people

#ai-chatbots, #chatbot-ai, #chatbot-customer-service, #chatbots, #mobile-marketing

Meeting the Customer Service Expectations of Consumers

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Technology is continually improving the efficiency for people to interact both in the real world and the digital world. Someone can send a text message and get a response in the time it would take that same person to look up someone’s number and actually call them. Anyone too busy or overwhelmed to drive to a store can order food, clothes, and anything else online. A flustered web user can chat with an automated chat service to find answers to questions. The ability for people to live their everyday lives has become much easier due to improved technology. But as these aspects get better and more efficient, people expect the same easiness and efficiency in everything else, including customer service.

Innovation professor Enrique Dans says, “If you thought that customer service was simply putting a phone number on your advertisement, think again.” As companies are using technology to better meet the demands of customers, those customers are getting more demanding.

In a recent article in Forbes Magazine, Micah Soloman, president of a customer service consultancy, suggests a few ways that companies can better meet the customer service expectations of customers.

Self-Service Customer Service

Soloman suggests that companies “invest in well-designed customer-facing self-service.” The majority of companies have great employees who are available for customer service calls. Trained in professionalism and kindness, these employees work wonders in meeting the customer service demands of customers. But real customer service agents are not enough. Solomon notes that people need customer service at all times of the day, whether because of conflicting time zones or because people work through the night. By providing self-serving customer service, companies can be available to customers any hour of the day.

Self-serving customer service also benefits the modern man or woman who yields a smart device on the run. People might not have time to stop and chat while driving to work or roaming the halls. Customer service that can be provided through SMS messaging, social media messaging, and other quick means allow customers to multi-task their lives and receiving the customer service they need.

Customer Service for the Consumer

As technology better provides consumers with what they want, when they want it, and how they want it, those consumers will expect the same of customer service. They will want customer service when and how they want it. For some people, that will be a phone call to the company. For other people, that will be a text message. And for the rest, it might be an email or Facebook message. Dans encourages companies to not neglect any potential channel of communication.

Recently Twitter saw the possible frustration of only offering customer service through AI chatbot or other AI-powered means. They rolled out a new system that allows customer to recognize when they are messaging a bot and when they are messaging a real person. By giving some of the control back to the consumer, Twitter is hoping to alleviate potential stress and frustration from consumers.

There are many ways to improve customer service experiences for consumers and companies. Providing various platforms to for people to receive that customer service will help better meet the expectations of consumers.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Sources:

medium.com/enrique-dans/customer-service-in-the-social-web-era-f3dc8cbaaf07#.28iqzpvoe

forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2017/02/23/the-only-customer-service-experience-trend-you-need-to-be-worried-about/#7b8baca52b51

marketingdive.com/news/twitter-tries-to-humanize-customer-service-interactions/436728/

#ai-chatbots, #customer-service, #text-messaging

Customer Service During the Holidays: Social Media

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As the holidays near, there are going to be more opportunities to sell products and services as gifts. And while a surge in purchases is expected, you should also expect to start seeing a surge in customer service requests, whether that is through text marketing, social media, email, or even phone calls. Here are some ways to prepare for customer service during the holiday season through social media.

Customer Service Reps should be informed

A couple of years ago, Target accidentally posted a deal that let customers get a couple of pieces of jewelry for free. It was a misprint, but customers were trying to figure out if it would be honored still. Someone on their social media team responded to a customer on Facebook telling them that Target would be honoring the deal at all their stores, though the response was made without management’s approval. So, Target was stuck honoring this deal and giving away thousands of dollars of free product because of one social media customer service representative’s mistake.

So often, customers go to social media to ask questions and are given responses from customer service agents who may not really know the answer. To protect you and your customers, make sure the reps are well trained and informed on the product, so they can quickly answer questions without giving the wrong information and without offering vague responses that don’t actually answer the question.

Offer 24/7 responses

It is very valuable to offer 24/7 customer service because it means your customers can get help no matter what their situation. One really great way to do this is through AI Chatbots that can recognize a customer’s answer and respond to them no matter what the time of day, and you aren’t stuck paying for 24/7. Twitter and Facebook have both been working to add this feature to their business offerings as well. For now, you can just use text.

Respond publicly to criticism

Often, an angry customer will get on Facebook or Twitter and immediately complain about something that went wrong while working with you. It looks really bad if you just ignore this, but you can actually turn that into a positive by responding to the comment. Apologize for any wrongdoings and ask what you can do to resolve it with them? If you resolve it (or at least show you are open to resolving it) openly, then it will show future customers who are researching their options that it was resolved and they can continue to trust your business.

Be extra prepared

Because the holidays will bring in a lot of customers with high expectations of the product or service they are receiving, you will want customer service to be extra prepared. Make sure everyone is trained to answer questions about products or services, so they can respond quickly to anyone who has a question. If answers aren’t given quick enough, customers may start researching someone else and switch to another company that responds faster. And if there are problems, customers will be desperate to fix them before the holidays because they want everything to be perfect, so make sure you are quick to help with any issues that arise.

Mobile Technology News brought to you by biztexter.com

Source: customerthink.com/5-tips-to-enhance-customer-support-experience-on-social-media/

#ai-chatbot-customer-service, #ai-chatbots, #customer-service, #customer-service-holidays, #social-media-marketing