How Chatbots Are Leaving the Hype Behind

This post is from guest author Kate Crane, Content Marketing Manager at Zendesk. Zendesk is an industry-leading customer service company and thought-leader in the CX space.

AI is here, and AI is now. But even though machine learning and deep learning are so integral to how we use services like Netflix and Facebook, or how we hail a ride or get service from online retailers, 2019 research from Zendesk found that nearly two-thirds of customers either did not think they had engaged with a customer support bot in the previous six months, or simply didn’t know. 

Here and now doesn’t mean perfect, though — as anyone who has ever interacted awkwardly with an off-base chatbot could tell you. In a recent interview, Ray Wang, principal analyst and founder of Constellation Research in Silicon Valley, spoke to the importance of delivering personalized service at scale: “We have to determine when we automate something, when we augment it with a human, when we augment it with a machine, or when we actually automate it completely.”

The good news is, AI is not only here but also increasingly sophisticated. Read on for more on what to expect from AI in the coming months. 

Chatbots will actually work in 2020

Support follows the 80/20 rule to a certain extent. When it comes to support, there are high frequency, common questions that tend to represent about 80% of your total support volume. The other 20% are usually outlier questions or issues. Low-value, repetitive questions are perfect for bots — according to Harvard Business Review, “84% of customers would prefer a straightforward solution to their problem.”

Effective chatbots are emerging from the hype with more credibility and proven value than consumers have been able to enjoy in the past.

Get ready to meet the real AI chatbots. As the noise and confusion in the market continue settling, solid, effective chatbots are emerging from the hype with more credibility and proven value than consumers have been able to enjoy in the past.

Goodbye to the awkward convos that get screenshot and jeered at on Twitter. More and more, customers will be able to trust that when a bot is handling a request, it’ll be handled properly. Or more to the point, customers may not even think about it — because the problem is solved, the question is answered, and they can move on.

All service will be self-service

According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2020, less than 30% of companies offer self-service, live chat, or other digital options, even though their customers unequivocally expect it. Automation powers 365-days-a-year, 24/7 self-service support, and with the Ada and Sunshine Conversations integration, self-service is possible across all channels, on demand. 

Chatbots and AI go hand in hand, sure, but with self-service in customer support, the benefits of AI go further: AI can flag topics that require new help articles to be written; ensure that help articles are simple to find, for both customers and agents; and help support organizations to be proactive rather than reactive.

Zendesk’s AI-powered tool Content Cues, for example, helps content managers optimize their knowledge base. Tickets created in Zendesk Support are automatically examined to identify trending topics. Existing articles in Zendesk Guide get reviewed for relevance with trending topics. And Content Cues makes recommendations—if new articles should be written, or existing articles updated—complete with an editing tool that provides the phrases that customers are searching.

The AI/ML advancements will keep coming

As deep learning becomes more refined, we’ll see increasing advancements to artificial intelligence in customer service. Increasingly, Zendesk and Ada are working together to provide shared customers with enterprise-class machine learning at the front end of the support experience, which also improves the quality of live support.

Learn more

For an example of a healthy AI + support partnership, look no further than Ada + Zendesk. When Ada and Zendesk work together, customers can better reap the benefits of AI. Learn more about this premier partnership here.

Kate Crane
Kate Crane

Kate Crane is a content marketer based in the Bay Area who made that leap after a long career as a journalist in New York. Her first book will be out on an imprint of HarperCollins in 2024.

More info about Kate Crane: LinkedIn

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