Chatbots are a common part of our lives today. If you’ve ever contacted a company on social media or through a live chat feature on their website, you may have interacted with a chatbot and not even known. Chatbots have a bad reputation for most people, as they’re associated with annoying customer service experiences and overall bad service.
Today’s chatbots have come a long way from the very first versions. They’re more sophisticated, adaptable, and useful for handling complex situations. One of the most recent trends in this sector is AI chatbots, a whole new way of interacting with customers and enhancing communication.
Evolution of Chatbots
By the technical definition of a chatbot, the very first step was taken in the 1960s, although the term “chatbot” wasn’t coined until 1994 as a shortened form of “chatterbot”. The 1995 development of an open source chatbot was more foundational development that led to many more updated versions as technology kept advancing.
This 1995 chatbot, called ALICE, used natural language processing to have a more comfortable conversation with humans. It was usually apparent after a short conversation that the bot wasn’t a real person, but it marked a huge jump in the capabilities of computers for use as communication devices.
Since 1995, chatbots have evolved into more complex entities. However, until a few years ago, they were mostly limited to a collection of pre-coded responses and lines of conversation. Chatbots are known for handling complex questions poorly, which has meant poor customer service for many people. However, AI chatbots are the latest iteration of this technology, and they hold a lot more promise than previous innovations.
What Are AI Chatbots?
AI chatbots are the next step up from basic chatbots. Although there are pre-programmed responses to customer questions, these chatbots don’t rely on those answers alone. An AI chatbot will learn from human inputs to provide more comprehensive answers to customers.
When AI is involved, customers get a better response to complex queries. Simple queries have always been easy for chatbots, but AI takes it further by analyzing more complicated questions and statements to give a better answer rather than sticking to generic, non-specific scripts. In this way, humans can get more answers from chatbots instead of having to be passed along to human channels.
Most AI chatbots are programmed with machine learning that helps them answer better the longer they’re in operation. As time goes on, an AI chatbot will become more useful than it was when it first launched. It will collect more data and figure out more about what people are asking for and what information they may actually be requesting, as well as how to answer them properly. This all happens with little to not human interaction on the backend of the chatbot.
How AI Chatbots Are Transformative
Unlike older chatbots, AI chatbots provide better customer service. They learn from interactions and apply that new knowledge to giving more useful responses next time. Because the responses from AI chatbots are so much more useful, they can effectively take over a portion of customer service communications and free up humans for other, more complex tasks.
The end result is a satisfying customer service experience for the person making the enquiry, plus fewer manhours devoted to answering simple questions. AI chatbots are transformative because they help your customers get the answers they needs without the frustration of dealing with useless scripted responses.
Customer service is something every company deals with. Bad reviews are hard to shake, even for big players like Comcast or DirectTV. If you have the chance, it’s better to get ahead of bad reviews by providing the best service you can from the start. AI chatbots are just another way for you to expand your service without asking for more from your customers or your employees.
AI chatbots aren’t a perfect solution for every business. But, they do make a significant impact for companies that want a more refined automated solution. An AI chatbot is a good way to beef up your customer service without sacrificing the customer experience.
Christine James believes that every customer has a voice. She is the Community Manager at HissingKitty.com (a customer complaints website) and loves talking to customers on social media about their challenges with Fortune 500 companies. Her work has been published on Huffington Post, Inc., SocialMediaToday, and Thought Catalog. Follow her on Twitter @hissingkittycom.