Learning not to hate chatbots

By Mark Troester, VP of Strategy at Progress 

Since the first customer walked the earth, the same question has been asked:

How do you improve customer experience?

In recent years, whole industries have built themselves up trying to help others answer that question. Analyst houses such as Forrester and Gartner release regular reports that identify the best new technologies to enable customer experience (CX). Conferences are dedicated to the question.

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  You can’t interact with LinkedIn without seeing tips and tricks being touted from every direction.

For a while it looked like chatbots could help with this. They offer the means to free up human resources which saves time and money, they can be deployed easily and scaled up accordingly during times of demand, and they can answer simple requests which are below the skill level of human operators.

The only problem with chatbots is that they are terrible.

We have all been there as the same question is first tapped, then hit a little more aggressively, and then finally shouted down the phone as we give up trying to find out the answer using our computers. Traditional chatbots have certainly helped alleviate some of the pain points around resources, especially through their ability to answer simple requests, but ultimately banks and other institutions still find themselves looking for more seamless alternatives when it comes to helping customers.

So, what’s the answer?

Cognitive chatbots.

But chatbots are terrible

It seems strange to spend the first two hundred words criticising chatbots, only to say they are the answer to themselves, but the gulf between traditional chatbots and those being deployed today is vast to say the least.

We are seeing a significant change in the technology underpinning chatbots that will take them to a whole new level of performance and interaction. The increased availability of data and cognitive machine learning capabilities will radically change what is expected of chatbots and how consumers view their relationship with them. Increasing levels of autonomy, alongside the ability to handle complex tasks beyond even human abilities, will see them take an even greater role within banking applications across the customer journey touch points.Through being able to introduce conversational UI into the applications, banks will be able to successfully introduce natural conversational flow, alongside ‘training’ the chatbot like a person with a set of goals, examples and data from existing backend systems.

So, what do customers get out of it?

Everything from winning new customers to retaining existing ones will be impacted by the use of chatbots.

Here’s a few examples:

  1. Winning new customers

In the modern age, the first experience many potential customers will have with a bank will be online. If this experience is clunky or unenjoyable, then it’s likely that they will fall into the arms of a competitor. The use of a cognitive chatbot helps improve the accuracy and efficiency of the response, meaning that you won’t send a customer down the rabbit hole.

  1. Saving for a rainy day

No one enjoys saving. The trick though is to get better at it, and this is where cognitive chatbots can help. In being able to replicate the advice of a human bank manager, chatbots can help make payments, improve existing spending habits, check balances and provide personalised advice through the month to help keep us out of the bank and out of the black.

  1. Waiting in a line of one

When it comes to an area that is guaranteed to test the patience of customers, you can’t get a more potentially frustrating one than customer requests or complaints. No-one likes standing in a line, but cognitive chatbots are available 24/7 and can provide smart responses quickly. They also possess the ability to remember previous conversations with customers, alongside evolving as they talk more to understand the specific customers’ personality. This improves the experience that the customer has and makes them less likely to require a follow up interaction with a human.

Everything should be geared towards making the customer happy. To this end, everything that helps enable this should be embraced. Cognitive chatbots offer an exciting, efficient and effective solution to improving the CX of your organization.

 

About Mark

Mark is the Vice President of Strategy at Progress, a global enterprise technology company, providing its customers the ability to facilitate enterprise integration, data interoperability and application development, including Software as a Service (SaaS) enablement and delivery.

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