People 'n' Issues

Thumbs up for customer service via thumbs

February 23rd, 2017
Artificial intelligence (AI) and Instant Messaging (IM) are poised to fundamentally change the service call experience says NICHOLAS O'CONNOR, strategic business development consultant at hi.guru.
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“Already, many companies are using social media and considering chatbots to address customer queries – resulting in a rethink of how service resolution may be optimised. The evolution of these developments is enabling the provision of mobile service solutions with enhanced customer experience.

The VentureBeat Bots Landscape indicates that companies across Europe and the United States have increased their investments in AI and machine learning systems. With research showing that online shopping and services are increasing globally, these investments reflect changing customer behaviour and buying patterns. What’s more, the increase in online shopping requires enhanced service availability and social media channels are offering compelling solutions.

“In South Africa, the use of smart devices and mobile data are changing shopping and service behaviour and as a result, embracing social media as a channel to resolve queries and support the brand experience is becoming a business imperative,” adds O’Connor.

The past few months have seen the rise of these chat bots and intelligent agents that interact with clients via text based Instant Messaging platforms. Social networks like Facebook have provided the necessary interfaces for companies to integrate the Facebook Messenger IM platform into a call centre environment. This enables Facebook Messenger and other channels to be used by customers to instantly engage with support agents without requiring an additional app. This also empowers the agent with a richer set of tools including user history records and security validation to provide a new level of customer experience (CX).

“The use of AI (machine learning) with social media enabled customer service will enable service calls to be dealt with within a social media environment,” says O’Connor. “The IM tools provide more than just additional channels of communication. The richness of the data provided through these platforms means companies can analyse customer engagement better and adapt operations to support ongoing customer experience improvement organically as behaviours [and service expectations] adapt in real-time.”

Companies will need to adapt their call centres, and effectively analyse data to optimise the client experience. IM communication generates data which provides insights, which will enhance the customer experience when applied correctly.

“Social media is a driver of competitive change which is accelerating; businesses will need to embrace IM service solutions effectively within their own operating environments. Instant messaging and service automation will require technology platforms which support multiple IM channels and integrate human and automated agents.”

“Getting service via thumbs is becoming a reality,” says O’Connor.

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