After emailing a service request to a company, there’s nothing better than receiving a quick reply. Often times though, quick replies are automated and say something like, “Thank you for your email. A representative will be in touch to help shortly.” While you may initially feel happy that your email request was acknowledged, wouldn’t it be even better to receive a quick reply that includes helpful information?
Streamlining service is a top priority for many businesses. As the multichannel nature of service continues to grow, companies are looking for new ways to communicate with customers, fast. Enter the auto-responder; a technology that responds automatically to service emails or is triggered by a certain event (such as a purchase). Many companies in various industries use autoresponders to lighten service representatives’ loads. Chatbots — another emerging service technology — have a lot in common with auto-responders, however they use AI (artificial intelligence) to “read” and respond to service queries on apps such as Facebook Messenger.
Intelligent answers use all of these technologies. So that when customers send email, instead of receiving a general automated response, they get one that’s specific to their needs.
Providing Service with Intelligent Answers
While email autoresponders spit out a general and pre-written message response, intelligent answers use machine learning to understand human messages and respond with helpful answers. The company, Zendesk, has developed “Automatic Answers,” which is a service platform for businesses to send automated smart email replies. Because this technology is based on AI and machine learning, as it reads and replies to customer questions, it simultaneously improves over time by learning from every customer interaction.
And given that multi-channel service has become the norm, there’s the hope that we’ll start to see AI and intelligent answers move into the realm of social media, voice, and chat responses– not just email. Since Facebook Messenger’s bots are already in use, this would be huge for other social media platforms, especially Twitter, where smart answers could revolutionize how brands respond to customer tweets.
The Future of AI and Intelligent Answers
Intelligent Answers are not only business-to-consumers, but consumers can also use them to make communication faster and more efficient. For example, Google has developed AI for Gmail that reads your email then automates three responses you can choose from if you don’t feel like writing your own reply. Like Automatic Answers, Gmail’s technology uses machine learning and creates email replies by reading and interpreting your real, human-written emails.
Furthermore, just recently, major airline Delta saw a computer glitch that caused all flights worldwide to be canceled. Instead of waiting in line at the airport terminal to rebook flights, what if there was an automated AI bot grounded customers could contact via their preferred service channel, and the bot could respond to them immediately. An AI chatbot or Intelligent Answer platform could deal with a large number of passengers at once — while a human service rep can only handle one at a time. Once the bot gets passengers on their way with new flights, both the customer and the service reps lives will have been made easier by AI.
AI and Chatbots Still Need Human Element
As is always the worry, human service representatives will still be necessary despite the presence of chatbots that can message with people and automated intelligent answers that respond to emails without human interference. Automating these kinds of tasks is actually beneficial to both service reps and customers, since it gives them more time to have high-value interactions with customers, such as arriving to complete in-home service. In Mila’s case, we use AI to ensure that we have tech-savvy local experts at-the-ready for any service requests that come in. Thanks to AI, we know exactly when a customer might need service and integrate it at the point of sale.
Chatbots can make delivering service easier as long as the bots bring value to the customer. Also, AI can make service faster, more efficient, and on-demand, which improves service for the customer and makes reps’ jobs easier.