Chatbots have established themselves in the customer service industry, replacing human agents in contact centers with automated responses to customer inquiries and freeing up human workers to perform more complex tasks, but their potential for other areas is now wider in scale as more real-world use cases are tested and proven. Contextual real-time communication and collaboration within the workflow is the next step.
Richard Heaps, Head of Product Management for UC&C at Orange Business Services says, “CPaaS is a perfect mechanism for enhancing the user experience and for taking UC&C tools to the next level. It offers a big advantage in providing communication at exactly the right time and in exactly the right way that users want to receive it. Today’s workplaces are about communication and collaboration, bringing people together, talking and resolving problems. CPaaS now enables us to embed a communications and collaboration tool in an existing app, making that communication more targeted and relevant, more specific to the issue you’re already talking about.”
A technology whose time has come
The blend of chatbots, AI and CPaaS perfectly addresses the demands and expectations of a digital consumer audience: as end users become accustomed to using chatbots, they have a logical progression into other applications in the enterprise environment. According to Gartner, 25% of customer service and support organizations will use chatbot technology by 2020.
Next-generation use cases
The evolution of chatbots and AI in CPaaS has potential applications in all kinds of vertical sectors. Here are just a few:
1. Retail and e-commerce: Embedding chatbots, communication capabilities and AI in retail apps can deliver instant help to shoppers, and, for the retailers themselves, it helps drive incremental revenues and increase customer satisfaction by letting them engage with consumers via live chat. Shoppers can have the power to engage with a supplier or store instantly, no matter what the app: stores can interact with customers in real time, can deploy automated product specialists, track deliveries and extend the reach of their customer service.
2. Travel and hospitality: The scope here is to use AI and chatbots to deliver customer service via social networks using messaging APIs. Companies can provide relevant updates to travelers in unexpected places, they can engage them in a richer conversation, and travel companies can engage traveling audiences at a scale not previously possible.
3. Financial services: A perfect use case here is in-app messaging for mobile banking customers. Financial services companies can eliminate complex menus and use chatbots and AI to engage customers in conversations in real time using in-app messaging and voice. The benefits include closer customer/agent connections, being able to keep customers engaged with relevant information, fraud detection and to connect and interact with customers worldwide and 24/7.
Richard Heaps continues: “All these types of use cases are about engaging the customer in new ways and on their terms. Consider the way Uber disrupted the marketplace by enabling private driver/passenger communications when booking a car. The customer gets real-time updates on the location of their car and when it will arrive, the provider gets to reduce customer service inquiries and is able to deliver an enhanced experience. This type of real-time Uber-style communication application is also ideally suited to the transport and logistics industry, where suppliers, couriers and order recipients can engage in similar ways in real time. Happening in real time is the key benefit of this technology.”
This is the ultimate goal for how chatbots, AI and CPaaS can work together. “CPaaS has now become a mainstream technology, thanks largely to disruptive start-ups like Uber, AirBnB and Netflix embracing it, that companies know can help transform their customer communications and customer service and take them to the next level, the level that customers now demand,” adds Heaps.
Gaining traction, becoming central
If you want your customers to stay satisfied and loyal, you should invest in the experience they have with your company. Gartner predicts that by 2019, half of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. Chatbots, AI and CPaaS will be central to that transformation.
In the video below, Richard Heaps, Head of Product Management for UC&C at Orange Business Services, discusses how AI and automation can improve customer experience.