5 Methods for a Powerful AI-Driven Customer Experience

Millions of people are embracing AI, not fearing it. It’s not the job-killing, unpredictable digital nuisance experts tried to warn us about. If anything, it’s making our lives easier.

This is especially great news for fighting tied up phone lines and stuffed inboxes in customer service. AI answers, organizes and analyzes the constant stream of conversations and data from your customers. In return, your customers receive quick, accurate assistance without having to wait for a human agent.

How is AI doing this, and how exactly does it improve the customer experience? Keep reading to learn more.

AI in customer service

Think about the last chatbot you “talked” to - what was the conversation like? Did you type freely or use button options to find an answer? Or both?

Chances are you used a rule-based chatbot, much like our Logic Bot, which follows a predetermined decision tree. This is fixed AI, and is the most common among businesses. It’s relatively easy to build and deploy, and more cost-effective compared to a contextual option, like IBM Watson.

Userlike's Logic Bot assisting a customer with an energy question
For a complete explanation of AI types, read my post, “5 direct ways to use AI-powered customer service.” Source: TEAG

That’s because advanced AI is rarely necessary for customer service. A rule-based chatbot can handle the simple tasks and frequently asked questions customers have on a daily basis.

However, this is just not enough for many large businesses or companies in need of AI for complex use cases. An advanced solution learns from your customers and can automate many business processes — going way beyond just creating tickets.

If it sounds like a viable option for your business, continue reading to learn how advanced AI will not only help your support team, but also improve customers’ overall experience with your company.

At its core, AI supports businesses by automating processes, analyzing data and helping customers and agents. How it does this, however, can have an impact on your customers’ experience.

Take Sprinkles’ cupcake ATM, for example. With a standard vending machine, you insert coins or cash, punch in a number and your snack falls to the bottom of the machine for you to collect.

But with Sprinkles’ appropriately pink “ATM,” you select your cupcake with a touch screen, pay by card, and see a countdown until your cupcake appears behind a sliding door. It’s the same familiar process, but different enough to be more enjoyable and exciting for the customer.

Standard chatbots are like standard vending machines. AI chatbots are like Sprinkles' cupcake ATM. Standard and AI bots have the same end goal, but intelligent details make the process to get there more enjoyable for the user.

Keep reading to learn how you can use AI to benefit you and your customers.

Advanced AI “understands” almost anything

This is where rule-based chatbots and contextual chatbots part ways in terms of features and experience.

A business chatbot doesn’t need to have the same conversational proficiency as Replika, but picking up on keywords and switching topics on the fly makes for a natural experience.

Banking chatbot Cora helping a customer with two questions at once
Royal Bank of Scotland’s Cora uses a combination of buttons and typed answers, and can alternate between topics.

Customers love textual chat and prefer it over other channels for its convenience and ease of use. However, according to LivePerson’s study of messaging habits, “While the majority of customers use chatbots to make appointments and reorder products, 41% still believe AI-powered chatbots lack a human touch.”

The key is to lead with empathy. Advanced AI can dissect pieces of a conversation into something it understands to give the most accurate answer back to the customer. It’s quite human — we can understand the context of a text by scanning it.

This kind of free-flowing speech stays in pace with the nature of messaging - instead of having to click through buttons to find answers, a customer can freely type and the AI will understand keywords, like our Smart FAQ, to instantly suggest solutions.

Userlike's Smart FAQ customization options
Userlike’s Smart FAQ can even be customized to fit the look and feel of your website.

Understanding this unstructured data allows for more “natural” conversation. If more businesses invested in their script writing and planning to create more engaging AI, we might see fewer “bots are too impersonal” articles.

Conversation personalization is on another level

Contextual chatbots use a business’ diverse set of data to stay in sync with your human agents.

An AI chatbot “remembers” specific details collected during a conversation, such as the customer’s name, past questions, use cases, location, and more, depending on what you program it to save.

It also doesn’t get thrown off by topic deviations and start a conversation over if a customer goes rogue. This feels more like a personal, human conversation, which is an important trait for chatbots to have according to consumers.

What does personalized conversational AI look like in customer service? First off, free flowing conversations. Not having to find answers from select button options and instead typing in your own words.

Second, being “remembered.” When talking to customer service, it’s a relief not having to explain what plan or product you have once an agent looks up your account. An advanced chatbot can do the same and make changes or suggestions without asking too much from you.

And third, receiving detailed, accurate answers. Elite companies, like Capital One, are building chatbots loaded with extensive company knowledge. You can count on their chatbot to answer you directly in the chat and not just forward you to a somewhat relevant help center article.

Real estate chatbot helping a customer search for properties
The Keyes Company’s Sunny asks all the same questions you’d expect from a real estate agent before making suggestions.

Also, consider the tone and personality of your chatbot. Warm, “human-sounding” language makes a great impression. This applies to all chatbot types, but advanced AI leaves more room for script and persona creativity.

Uses data to understand customers better

Customers can be difficult to read. If they land on your website, they must be interested in your product and want to buy immediately, right? Right?

As my German colleagues like to say: Jein. Yes and no, basically. Yes, because they’re interested in your offerings, no because they may not be ready to commit to a purchase.

AI helps you understand a customers’ position in the sales funnel and what to do next. Workflows are completely reimagined — an intelligent chatbot processes massive amounts of data faster to remember, understand and make recommendations.

This analysis is done with trust and transparency — there is no cognitive bias with AI and outcomes are produced with machine accuracy.

Ethics is not a technological problem, ethics is a human problem.

Leon Katsnelson

What do you get? Cognitive insight. Algorithms can detect patterns in vast amounts of data to determine what a customer is likely to buy, common product issues and even what types of ads you should create.

Programming a chatbot to understand the emotional sentiment of a message
AI chatbots can even identify the emotional tone behind a body of text, as shown by Jamal Ceder from Chatlayer.ai.

Of course, it’s worth noting that this is mostly achievable with machine learning. Most chatbots on the market use “fixed” AI, but sophisticated live chat providers offer more advanced AI features that let you gain valuable insights about your customers.

This means product improvements, tailored messaging and an overall pleasing website experience from AI data insights.

Makes auto predictions to save time and effort

Answering frequently asked questions is perhaps the biggest benefit of chatbots. But now other aspects of your website benefit from your chatbot knowledge base.

FAQ pages are smarter and make auto predictions as customers type. The AI recognizes keywords from past customer conversations, which were fed into its knowledge base, to “understand” what the customer needs.

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This also applies to your contact forms. AI can use this existing knowledge base to try and answer the customer’s question as they type so the customer can resolve their issue themselves without reaching out to your team.

This shows that your business pays attention to what customers need and saves them time in waiting for an answer.

Seamlessly helps customers across channels

Conversational AI meets your customers on the messaging channels they enjoy using. These types of chatbots aren’t confined to your website — something you can expect from a “cheaper” solution.

Like I mentioned, we’re welcoming AI into our lives more and more, and our standards continue to rise. We expect Google Nest, Alexa and Siri to understand us on the first try. The same applies to chatbots — if it’s in our messaging inbox, it better not waste our time. Instant, intelligent interactions on WhatsApp or Messenger will boost CX, satisfaction and loyalty among your customer base.

Userlike's chatbot seamlessly forwarding messages
Create a powerful customer experience with AI-powered live chat.

AI chatbots are also multilingual. Instant translations, like Userlike’s live translations feature, helps you capture customers worldwide — or right in your backyard. As an American living in Germany, I appreciate when I can switch a website to English. Bonus points if I can speak with customer service or a chatbot in English.

I’m sure there are many others like me, or those who are convinced by your solution but are in another country and hesitant to start a conversation with your business. Auto translations help boost your reach and chatbot adoption in messaging.

Pair AI with live chat to steer great customer experiences

AI sounds great, looks great, and IS great, but may seem out of reach for many businesses.

Maybe you’re unsure if undertaking this advanced kind of software is right for your company. AI, whether it’s contextual like IBM Watson or fixed like our Logic Bot, will help simplify processes at your business and be a huge help for your agents.

Major companies such as BMW and Hermes are taking advantage of automation through Userlike to serve more customers and reduce response times.

Sign up for our software and learn more about our automation solutions by scheduling a consultation or talking to us in the chat on our website!