We are living in a world where customer service has become as important, as the quality of the product or good an organisation is selling.

Less than a decade ago, the only options consumers had for getting in touch with brands, were making a phone call or sending an email. Neither of these options was exactly fast and effective.

And, let’s face it; who likes to contact customer service to resolve an issue?

We all try different ways of reading from the internet, asking our peers and trying to fix a problem by ourselves; rather than reaching out to the customer service team.

This clearly indicated that the manual way of handling customer queries, needed a big revamp. And ever so in these times, when work-from-home has become the new normal, customer service really needs to re-define the way it has been running so far.

That brings up the importance of organisations opting for a more automated way of managing their customer services. And here’s where virtual assistance or chatbots come in.

By incorporating bots into live chat interfaces, businesses can deliver instant, 24/7 customer service — even when their support agents are off the clock. But using them successfully requires building out workflows that get customers to the information they need.

In particular, the involvement of AI/ML in virtual assistance is taking it to the levels, where it is not only during a fair job in handling customer service departments; it is also exceeding customer expectation in lot of ways.

In MIT Technology Review’s The Global AI Agenda survey, it was found that customer service is the most active department for AI deployment today. And till 2022, it will remain the leading area of AI use in companies (say 73 per cent of respondents), followed by sales and marketing (59 per cent).

So let’s understand what a chatbot is.

Chatbot or a ‘chatter robot’ self explains its mechanism of interaction using some super advanced technology via a chat interface. A smart machine-based (AI/ML) program that helps to have a conversation with a real human being.

In today’s world strongly supported by giants like Google, Facebook and Apple, chatbots are witnessing an age of highest demand, powered by either a predefined set of rules and responses, or artificial intelligence techniques.

While artificial intelligence forms the core of chatbots and analyses a customer’s data, incorporates the response with chatbots; machine learning techniques are used in the process of understanding the input from the user and replying to the user thereafter.

Advanced chatbots also uses natural language processing (NLP). It enables a bot to have a conversation as naturally as possible. Meanwhile, a deep learning algorithm helps in the analysis of conversations.

Chatbots have the potential to transform customer service experience. They enable brands to offer round-the-clock support, provide unparalleled response times, and simplify the process of delivering the right information to users at the right time.

Although we have very few examples for great contextual virtual assistants right now. Most of the examples available today are more on notifications and frequently asked questions.

But, it is an evolving and developing product, which is only going to exceed in expectations.

So let’s gear up for a new and enhanced way of customer service – virtual assistance or chatbot.

Chandan Kumar Ghosh

Chandan Kumar Ghosh

Chandan Kumar Ghosh is a Principal Architect (Innovation) at Mahindra Comviva Technologies. In his role at Comviva, Chandan focuses on building and maintaining the Innovation Culture in the Organisation, to strengthen Comviva’s technological competency...