You Ask, I Answer: Bots and the Future of Customer Experience?

Bernie asks, “Do you see chatbots being effective in building and growing the relationships between the brand and audience in 2020?”

Bots are a tactic, a tool. The question is, how effective are they at enhancing the overall customer experience? Right now, they’re a form of automation and as such are best suited for repetitive, predictable tasks. What in your customer journey is incredibly repetitive on the part of the customer?

  • Getting basic information
  • Asking for help
  • Finding resources on your website
  • Greeting and proactively introducing known resources

What are bots NOT good at?

  • Handling anomalies and exceptions
  • Rich natural language queries and conversations
  • Dealing with unhappy customers

The perception is that bots are simply a money-saving, job-cutting step for many companies to take to avoid spending money on customer experience. However you choose to deploy them or any other tactic, know that you want to avoid playing into this perception at all costs if you measure by things like NPS score.

That said, over the next year, expect natural language processing to continue improving, pretrained AI models to continue growing in complexity, and chatbot software to continually be easier for brands to deploy.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode Bernie asks, do you see Chatbots being effective and building and growing the relationships between the brand and audience in 2020? So Chatbots are a tool right there a tactic? The question really is, the question should be, how effective is a chat bot at enhancing the overall customer experience? Remember that a chat bot is really nothing more than piece of software, right that piece of software that interacts with customers at a certain point in the customer experience.

Most of the time, they are used in two places they’re used in upper funnel introductions and end of journey customer support customer relationship management, their form of automation and as such, because they are an automation they are best suited for high repetitive, highly predictable tasks.

So the real question is, what does your customer experience look like? What does your customer journey look like? What steps in that customer journey are highly repetitive on the part of the customer not on our part.

Again, with all customer experience technologies, we want to make sure that we are looking at things from the perspective of the customer and improving things from their perspective, not from ours.

The perception for good or ill is that Chatbots are a money saving job cutting technology that companies used to avoid spending money on customer service and avoid spending money on customer experience and reduce headcount.

There is some truth to that, right? however you choose to deploy Chatbots or any customer experience technology.

You want to avoid playing into that perception, right? You want to use the tools for what they’re best at.

Not use them to cut costs, you want to use them to enhance the customer experience not take away from it.

So what are What are Chatbots? Good for? Right? What’s repetitive getting basic information? Right? What are your hours? That’s that’s a question that is well suited for a bot.

Basic asking for help.

So a bot that can say it like, if you’re here for help, how can we help? Do you want someone to call you to ask someone to email you do want to do a live chat, whatever the case is, you can use the box to reach out and ask people how they want to be helped.

Probably not tried to, you know, build a massive botnet to help on behalf of the customer.

Unless you know that there is just there’s one thing that everybody needs help with.

You probably should fix that thing first.

Third is finding Resources bots are really good at helping somebody navigate especially if you got a large website, you have a large support catalog if you have a like, say you’re a consumer products company, and there’s, you know, 500 frequently asked questions and manual pages and stuff on your website, a bot is really good at helping somebody skip the navigation, as long as the natural language processing was good and say like, I need help with the manual for these new headphones, you know, the Model X 722 had headphones, and the bot should if it’s well programmed to be able to find that content for the customer, and get it to them and forth of courses that bots are really good at greeting and proactively introducing known resources.

So as part of that introductory phase when the customer first comes to the website, the bot to be able to say Hey, welcome.

Here’s some things that people commonly look for.

What can I help you with that way? realize this bot is here to help the customer experience to help them get to their answers faster.

That’s really what they’re good at is get people to an answer faster.

What are they bad at? Well, bots are really bad at handling anomalies and exceptions, right? When somebody writes in says, Hey, I got the new Xm 22 headphones and they caught on fire.

That is an exception.

I hope it’s an exception.

That’s something that again should not be something that the software should we try and handle that’s something that ideally if there if a bot is well constructed to has anomaly, an exception detection and set and immediately routes to a human to help out bots today, even with really good models are still not great at natural language queries and conversations, right? There’s still a tremendous amount of training that has to happen now it’s getting much, much better two years ago, I would have said they were terrible natural language processing period, but they are Much, much better than it used to be, they’re still not as good as a person.

And most of all, bots are really bad handling unhappy customers, right? If someone is angry or upset or frustrated, you want to get them to a human as quickly as possible.

You do not want to try to get them to avoid talking to a human.

Because that’s not why that person is there.

One of the things that companies need to think about is that sometimes in some cases depending on how frustrating your product is, your human support almost has to have some like basic therapist training to help to help a person get out of an unhappy emotional state first before solving their problem.

That is not something about can do, period.

Now looking forward in 2020, what do we expect to happen? The last two years have been absolutely exceptional in what has happened to Natural Language Processing and our ability for machines to understand language.

You’ve heard big news this year about Google’s BERT models, and open a eyes GPT to technology and many, many, many other pre trained models.

Those are continuing to grow and complexity.

Those are continuing to process data and language really well.

And I expect that to be the case in 2020 as well.

Making use of those pre trained models is getting better.

The ability for people to simply download a massive pre trained model, tune it up a little bit for their use case and then deploy it has gotten substantially easier in the last year or so.

And again, I expect that to continue and that that the impact of that is that you will be able to hit the ground running with a chat bot or any AI task that uses language much faster.

Download the model, spend maybe a couple of days tuning it and immediately roll it out in production.

Chatbots software continues to improve as well, it continues to get easier for people to deploy two years ago, you were rolling up your sleeves and coding.

Right? That was just how you got a chat bot running.

And one of the reasons why initial people who tried it out were like, Man, this is not for us because it’s a lot of work to support.

Many services are getting much easier to use, drag and drop, or very, very simple code.

I was sitting down with one of my kids over this past weekend, and we built a first our first bought in discord and it was very straightforward and you know, some basic Python to get it connected and stuff, super, super easy.

Download template and just modify it.

So bots are getting much easier for brands to deploy as well.

So those are what we have to look forward to for the future of customer experience the future Chatbots in 2020, there are any number of things that could change that we can Can’t see right now.

We may have a revolution in compute power.

For example, if that happens, it could be a massive game changer.

So some things to look forward to no matter what.

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