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.
These companies are doing extremely well using artificial intelligence for communications, but why? Part of it could be attributed to the fact that AI is well-suited for business communications. AI can process natural language and integrate with other platforms, all while saving your business money.
Here are six reasons why AI and business communications are a great match.
- AI can process natural language. Whenever you call into an IVR, you either type in your input or say a word or two to be directed to the next menu option. But what if the system could understand you without you having to speak with stilted dialogue? With AI, callers can talk or type as they normally would and natural language processing can decipher it, leading to an overall better customer experience.
- It can help your business be brand compliant. We’ve all heard of the infamous instances when a contact center agent loses their temper with a customer and calls them a bad name or refuses to let them out of their contract. With AI, your business can circumvent those uncomfortable situations by preprogramming responses to certain keywords, phrases or scenarios. (Just make sure your AI is programmed to be friendly in all scenarios, and learn from Microsoft’s Tay malfunction).
- It’s cheaper than live agent interactions but doesn’t replace them. A typical phone call costs $6-20 per interaction, but an automated interaction, one managed by AI, only costs 25 cents. That’s not to say it should replace live agent interactions—far from it. In fact, AI can learn from live agent interactions and then provide them with the most common solution based on customer input.
- It’s something customers want. Over 40% of customers would rather use self-service than talk to a live agent. AI is a natural extension of self-service. By adding AI to your business communications, your company can help customers self-serve across channels, and, as mentioned above, let them communicate as they normally would.
- It’s easy to integrate with other platforms for increased functionality. AI isn’t hard to implement and add on to. For instance, IBM Watson lets you integrate AI into your own communication solution. Alternatively, you can find a solution that already includes AI. Integrating your AI-powered communication solution with other platforms means your business can deliver more personalized, intelligent service.
- AI can help your business be more efficient. AI is great for handling lots of data, which is why it can be used to handle a lot of common customer inquiries while agents focus on more complex tasks. In both cases, your business ends up making happier customers—they’re getting served quicker via AI, or getting their issue solved more in-depth with help from an agent.
So how can you add AI to your business communications?
The best way to start introducing AI into your business communications is through messaging. But why messaging? Let angel investor and prolific author Nir Eyal explain:
With text, there are no voice intonations to decipher or accents to understand, no facial gestures to interpret, and no body language to translate. Text is something computers can understand and process quickly and it’s why messaging is a great place for humans and A.I. to work together to serve customer needs.
While you can use AI for both voice and text interactions, starting with a medium that AI can understand means your business can have artificial intelligence implemented sooner rather than later. This means your costs will also start to decrease as well, since text communications are cheaper than voice communications, as mentioned above.
If there was any time to add AI to your business communications, it’s now. Venture capitalists invested more than $300 million in AI startups in 2014, a 300% increase over 2013. AI is a growing presence in business communications—will it be part of yours?
Image of phone technology courtesy of Foundry via Pixabay. CC0 License.