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What Is AI and What Are Chatbots?

Jan Schauenberg
2 August 2019

Did you know that 86% of consumers list bad experiences as reason for churn? Furthermore, only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain while the rest leaves. The point here is that customers’ expectations have massively changed over the last few years. Due to digital transformation and the constantly evolving digital landscape, customers are hyper connected across mobiles, tablets, social, and even non-digital avenues.

As a result, customers expect fast responses and instant gratification across their life-cycle and experiences, across all touch points. Those expectations are significantly changing the way brands do business, and have created a need to produce and offer products, services and solutions that resonate personally with customers.

Enter AI and chatbots

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots are proving to be game-changers when it comes to delivering the best customer experience. The truth is that most customers today are already technologically savvy.

Because of this, enterprises have to keep this reality in perspective when engaging with customers or else they will likely lose touch with them. Gartner estimates that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their engagement with the enterprise without having to interact with a human agent.
Artificial intelligence is transforming how organizations do business and how they manage their customer relationships. It is forming the bedrock for stimulating ideas as well as spurring creativity, which in turn fuel groundbreaking innovations.

Enterprises have realized the value of AI, chatbots and the need for digital contact centers,  as well as why they should swiftly become part of the conversation. Big tech companies have invested heavily in these technologies: Apple has Siri, Amazon has Alexa, Google has cleverbot, and IBM has Watson.

Various countries are also heavily investing in the development and usage of AI and chatbots. The UK, for instance, has established the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence in Cambridge which will bring together top researchers from across computer science, philosophy, social sciences, and other disciplines such as law and politics.
The aim is to explore the development of AI and both the opportunities and challenges it brings.
Additionally, this has seen big tech companies buy AI companies in the UK: DeepMind was bought by Google  (for $400m), SwiftKey was acquired by Microsoft ($250m) and Magic Pony Technology was bought by Twitter ($150m).

Reports by MMC Ventures shows that UK based AI companies have doubled between 2014 and 2016, compared with 2011-2013; every week in the UK has seen a new AI company launched. 
The potential of these new technologies is enormous. Accenture projects that by the year 2035, AI will boost labor productivity by 40%. This figure alone should emphasize why your business needs to embrace AI and chatbots. But what exactly are AI and chatbots, and where can you start with embracing these ground-breaking technologies? It is time to take a closer look.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a scientific discipline that focuses on emulating human intelligence and behavior through many types of machines, particularly computers. It encompasses multiple technologies which learn over time as they are exposed to increased data. Examples could include speech recognition, semantic technology, biometrics, natural language processing, machine and deep learning, chatbots and voice bots, and swarm intelligence.

Chatbots

A Chatbot is a computer program that one can talk to using messaging apps, through chat windows and, increasingly, by voice. This system can reply using the same applications as humans, thus enabling a back and forth communication between parties.

With near to 100% automation, chatbots optimize and streamline a business’s digital services by honing in on the specific requests and questions of each customer. Bots can access data from a huge database and make use of artificial intelligence in the background to help scale conversations and deliver almost instantaneous relevant responses.

Additionally, mobile apps, social media and web chats are taking over as the telephone loses its primacy as the preferred channel of communication. This shift reflects an explosion in the global market for chatbots. Already estimated at over $1 billion, the market is forecast to be worth $1.86 billion by 2020, and is set to triple in size in a decade.

Below are several examples of how other companies have used AI and chatbots to achieve impressive results.

How AI and Chatbots transform business operations

JP Morgan is using AI and chatbots to streamline their processes. At the law firm, more than 360,000 hours are regularly spent researching, analyzing and interpreting commercial loan agreements alone, not including other sectors of law practice.

The AI and chatbot enabled system reviews these documents in seconds with very minimal error. This system has significantly reduced the number of loan servicing errors incurred as a result of erroneous human interpretation of 12,000 new wholesale contracts yearly.

Mohamed Marikar, the Director of Intelligence and Automation at Royal Bank of Canada, confirms that at his company, AI and chatbots are used in augmenting human analysis. They enable the Royal Bank of Canada to scale up their capacity 10,000 fold of their human analysis capacity, and also scale down when needed.
Siemens and Atlas Copco have experienced a 20% increase in productivity with AI and Chatbot autonomous systems.

MasterCard even intends to use AI and chatbots to improve their accuracy in transaction verification. They are also hoping to reduce the number of false declines, which are currently estimated at 13 times more the amount lost in actual fraud. Unfortunately, 1/3 of customers stop shopping at a retail outlet once they are falsely declined.

The bottom line is that AI and Chatbots reduce false positives and their associated costs. As a result, they increase operational efficiencies, employee productivity,  reduce the ratio of operational cost to process improvement, reduce false positives, and improve regulatory compliance at a reduced cost.

Here is an outline of how AI and Chatbots can improve your business.

They help your Sales and Marketing teams work faster and more effectively

Chatbots and AI are beginning to impact sales teams and marketing campaigns. One example is Kit, the business-facing virtual marketing assistant recently purchased by Shopify. Kit leverages messaging platforms to help brands market their online stores. It is capable of sending email campaigns, posting updates, and running ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

GrowthBot is another example. It is a sales and marketing chatbot that professionals can interact on Slack and Facebook messenger, as well as through SMS and social media. It uses the AI’s natural language technology to answer general questions about people, brands and technologies, and connects to tools like HubSpot and Google Analytics to reply to web-traffic queries and other business-specific questions.

AI- and chatbot-managed marketing platforms can also increase sales leads, sales volumes, and profits. The use of these technologies, in fact, helps automate digital advertising as well as marketing efforts. They can even be used to champion new products and generate leads.

Harley-Davidson, a motorcycle dealership, for instance, has implemented chatbots and AI for highly targeted marketing. The organization utilized them in identifying customers who shared the same attributes as previous high-value customers.
These tools helped analyze thousands of campaign variables that identified similarities, patterns and trends, as well as what worked and didn’t work in the campaign, and pulled out insights that had previously gone unnoticed.
As a result, the motorcycle dealership went from getting one qualified lead per day to 40. In the first month, 15% of those new leads were “lookalikes,” meaning that the people calling the dealership to set up a visit resembled previous high-value customers and therefore were more likely to make a purchase.
By the third month, the dealership’s leads had increased 2,930%, 50% of them “lookalikes”, leaving Harley-Davidson scrambling to set up a new call center with six new employees to handle all the new business.

They create new insights and ensure better analysis

74% of organizations that are implementing AI and chatbots believe that they are making their organizations more creative through the generation of new insights, improved data analysis, and as a result, better decision making.
As AI and chatbots eliminate routine tasks, engineers at Ericsson, for example, are able to find time to engage in more creative and collaborative work.

They enhance customer satisfaction big-time

In this day and age of global markets and digital shopping, great customer experience and service are considered as key elements of any company’s success. AI is transforming how brands are engaging with and satisfying their customers.
SoDash, for instance, enables companies to scale their social media engagements. Virgin Trains uses it to analyse messages, prioritize customer service questions and eliminate irrelevant social chatter. SoDash’s Orla improves client’s reach on Twitter through the following way:

“Orla finds relevant content for businesses, analyses followers of competitors and suggests recommendations for retweets and follows….Whenever you give [the bot] feedback, she’s learning from the user ... and will tailor her suggestions accordingly. Over time, Orla is able to act as near as possible to how you would on social media”  – Daniel Winterstein founder of SoDash

KLM, the dutch airline, is already using AI and chatbots to reinforce their current customer support staff. The AI and Chatbot assisted human agent can identify more than a hundred human vocal features needed to authenticate and process a call. The agent is also able to attend to queries over multiple digital platforms; for instance, if the question comes from a twitter account, it can respond in prose form in an email, with less than 140 characters.
More than 30% of KLM’s queries are now resolved through the AI-chatbot platform, and the company has seen 35% increase in efficiency. With increased operational efficiency AI and Chatbots frees up employee time and resources which are then used to build customer relationships and intimacy; in fact, more than 59% of the organizations agree to this finding.

AI and Chatbots will transform Businesses

Today’s digital age dictates that business organizations should leverage the best technologies when it comes to winning and retaining customers for the long haul. On the basis of facts, the key to establishing a successful enterprise is the relationship companies maintain with their customers and the management of that relationship.

The trick is to engage consumers with the most technologically advanced methods by way of chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI), while satisfying that very personal and delicate human connection based on trust. Finding this perfect combination, will be key to any company’s success.

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