How Enterprises can use Chatbots to Enhance Customer Experiences
At the recent Monage Conference, where Jeff Pulver invited me to speak, I talked about chatbots and shared how they can transform customer experiences for large enterprises. It was a perfect topic for the mix of customers and entrepreneurial chatbot developers in attendance. I highlighted how Avaya is extending our reach in contact centers with chatbot and artificial intelligence technologies. Some are developed within Avaya, some via acquisition, and some via third-party integrated technologies.
Our successes include sports arenas such as Avaya Stadium. When you walk into that stadium, you see a lot of Avaya technology—technology that interacts with all those mobile devices in fans’ hands. Going to an event is now a digitally transformed experience that takes place via the web, online chat, SMS, and more.
Digital transformation continues to inform and change how we all connect and interact. Enterprises understand the need, as reflected in Nemertes Research 2017-18 Digital Transformation Study, where they found that 75% of enterprises have or are planning a digital transformation strategy. Digital transformation—DX—is directly tied to the current huge focus on improving customer experiences. Lori Brown of the Results Company, a recent participant in an Avaya webinar “The View from the Chief Experience Officer,” says customer experience is the most important digital initiative taking place. And DX raises the bar for replicating contact center agents’ human intelligence in chatbots and other AI applications.
Our direct research with contact center executives shows 76% of consumers expect agents to know their contact details, product information, and service history when they request assisted service. Customers don’t talk to an “agent.” They talk to a company, and an agent has to have the full context of all interactions customers have made with that company.
The good news is that the focus on digital transformation goes to the bottom line. This hits home with contact centers, where every communication channel needs to be integrated seamlessly.
When you examine the typical customer journey, customers interact with social media, chat, email, SMS, and live agent assistance. Customers want a company to know them, but they also want to leverage automation to make the experience efficient. In the same way people use an emoji instead of typing 10 letters, customers want the instant gratification of a chatbot giving them the answers they need.
The Avaya Solution
Chatbot technology is growing at such a rapid pace. Avaya’s Messaging Automation performs Natural Language Processing during an initial automated inquiry triage so that a business gains some key information like language, topic, customer sentiment, etc. It’s getting really precise. Self-service is now quite common, but until it is perfected, live agents add significant value. (However, agents can add frustration if they have to ask questions they should already know.)
When a chatbot cannot handle a complex query, the first step is to find the best available agent (possibly even an agent the customer spoke to earlier in the day). Once an agent is selected, the full context of the chatbot discussion must be presented so the agent never asks the worst possible question, “How can I help you?” If a customer is handed off from a chatbot, an agent should not have to ask that question. If that same customer sent an email, the agent should be able to read it so the customer doesn’t have to repeat previously provided information. Businesses running experimental chat silos experience this problem every day, and it leads to frustration, not automation.
Once a customer finishes with a chatbot and chat session, it’s not the individual session that matters. A company’s CMO doesn’t want to know the average chat duration. They want to know the impact on their business. If an ad in the Wall Street Journal highlighting a new online service results in 35,000 chatbot sessions, and 10,000 live agent sessions, how did they all impact the bottom line? Which agents performed the best and what changes can be made to make it better for the next campaign?
Move Forward with Avaya
“I was really pleased to see Avaya participate in the Monage conference”, said Jeff Pulver, Monage Founder and co-Founder of Vonage. “It’s a great way for attendees to hear how large enterprises share the same vision as attendees about the remarkable opportunity with messaging and chatbot technologies—which will enhance the customer experience in even more ways in the future. At the same time, audience members learn how they can work with Avaya with customer opportunities that span the globe.”
Enterprises know they have to continue to innovate. Avaya knows we can provide great solutions, and we can also leverage the world of innovation from many companies at the Monage conference. This is exactly why I was there—to meet companies that want to leverage Avaya’s technology, and to be introduced to so many innovative companies that can join us in the journey. Avaya has the DevConnect and AI Connect developer programs which are ideal for many developers to join.