It’s an exciting time to be involved the customer service and communications space. There are more ways to interact with a brand than ever before (email, Twitter, even Snapchat), but one of the most new and exciting advancements is chatbots.
Business communications have traditionally been person to person—someone answers the phone, sends an email, etc. But in recent years, business communications have started incorporating automation in their IVRs, live chats and call routing. In fact, 53.6% of contact centers today use IVRs.
However, some businesses have moved beyond using automation in their business communications—they’re using artificial intelligence. Take Slack, for instance. The popular collaboration platform uses bots to onboard users and interact with them for a variety of reasons. Narrative Science, the natural language generation platform, uses artificial intelligence to draft reports that read just like a human-written report would.
Empowerment. That is the word that comes to mind when one considers how recent technological changes have affected a business’ ability to create compelling communication experiences. Despite the fact that the basic tools for making a phone call haven’t changed much in the last 150 years (even your smartphone still offers you a standard numeric keypad, not so different from the rotary phones of old), we are entering an age of innovation around communications such that the world has never seen before. And best of all, many of these technologies don’t require heavy-lifting from IT teams.
Unlike the monolithic incumbents in the enterprise communication space that require multi-million dollar upfront investments and multi-year deployment schedules, the future of communication lies in software. Developers are now able to leverage communication APIs to build proofs of concept in hours or days that they can share with their business partners. Similarly, business analysts can leverage drag-and-drop user interfaces to build communication solutions in minutes, without having to request development resources. Never before have both technical people and non-technical people had so much ability to create meaningful solutions.
However, there are real risks and process challenges to account for when trying to build your own communication solution. There are both technological and experiential conditions that you must account for.
As we look back on 2015, it’s tempting to refer to that age-old adage: “The more things change, the more things stay the same.”
This year, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
That’s because 2015 was the year the technology really made its presence known in customer service. Automation, artificial intelligence, social media, CRM integrations, texting–all were major customer service trends in 2015.
If you stop and think about it, Twitter and text messaging aren’t so different. They both have limited characters (140 and 160), they’re both fast-moving channels, and they’re both widely-used channels.
But how widely-used? Let’s take a look.
Tired of ordering pizza over the phone? Domino’s understands—that’s why they’ve launched AnyWare, letting you “order your favorite oven-baked goodness on your favorite devices.”
I’m not going to lie—this is a pretty awesome use case (in theory). With AnyWare, you can text, tweet and even use your Smart TV to order pizza and more, and all you have to do is send a pizza emoji.
How many text messages do you think the average American exchanges each month? 100? 500?
Try 914. That’s roughly 30 texts a day, or more than double that if you’re between the ages of 18-24.
Now, a good chunk of those text message conversations in your personal life will be conversational (“I miss you”, “Just a reminder to pick up the kids”, “Great to see you last night!”) but many others are transactional (“I’ll pick up the kids if you make dinner- deal?”)
Up until recently, these kinds of messages were only sent from person to person, not business to customer. However, more and more businesses are starting to see the value of letting their customers interact with them using their preferred communication channel: SMS.
Three weeks ago, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal, killing 7,000 people and displacing millions. Homes were leveled, monuments were reduced to rubble, and a people were shaken.
In the hours that followed, aid organizations rushed into action, mobilizing medical personnel and rescue workers in response to the crisis. Organizations like Doctors Without Borders and global Red Cross societies organized search and rescue efforts, tended to the wounded and distributed supplies.
Then, a second earthquake hit.
Across the world, countries have put forth millions of dollars in aid, with the U.S. alone pledging $26 million. On a smaller scale, global citizens have made donations of their own, whether online, over the phone or through text messaging. But in the wake of a disaster, it’s important not only to only to have donations set up—it’s important to have communications as well.
A 2013 study found that 80 percent of patients say it is their doctors job to keep them healthy, not just to treat them when they are ill, and “70 percent of respondents say their doc has never checked on them when they weren’t sick in order to help them stay healthy.”