AI-Powered Mobile Chatbots Promise More Efficient Customer Service

Helpshift’s new Web Chat application uses artificial intelligence to help companies release scalable chatbots that can automate customer service through real-time interactions.

The new AI-based tool, released last week, will boost Helpshift customers’ ability to provide enterprise-grade support to their customers, according to Helpshift, which specializes in mobile customer support for the gaming industry.

“We have taken our mobile expertise and built a mobile-first conversational chat experience with built-in AI chatbots to drive huge efficiency gains in large-scale chat operations,” CSO Abinash Tripathy and CTO Baishampayan Ghose told CRM Buyer via email.

Web chat applications for the desktop have existed for years, they noted, but they typically utilized a synchronous phone call-like service that placed customers in a queue, essentially putting them on hold until a customer service agent entered the conversation.

Bringing in robotics and AI will help free human agents from having to answer questions that previously may have been answered, suggested Tripathy and Ghose, who pointed to data indicating that simple things like frequently asked questions could deflect 50 percent to 70 percent of customer queries.

Value of Customization

The Web Chat application allows routing of questions based on priority, skill and availability. It also allows prioritization of customer questions based on whether the customer is a premium user, on the value of items in the shopping cart, or on the status of an airline or hotel reservation.

It gives agents a 360-degree view of customer interactions — for example, allowing them to view all prior chat history — and provides other customized data from a CRM system.

The Web Chat interface has a look and feel similar to Facebook Messenger or Apple iMessage, with functions including typing indicators, chat avatars, and send and received receipts, according to the company.

The Helpshift chatbot types include the following:

  • An Answer Bot, which matches questions to relevant FAQs, sometimes negating the need for an agent;
  • A GetInfo Bot, which prompts users to enter their name, email and other information, so the agent doesn’t need to request it; and
  • A Customer Satisfaction bot, which monitors customer satisfaction immediately following resolution of the issue.

Customers will be able to develop their own customized bots as well.

Need It Now

The AI-based Web Chat application comes at a time of increasing demand for faster customer service, particularly due to the increasing use of mobile phones and other portable devices for online shopping.

“Customer expectations have shifted towards immediacy, and preferences for service through Web and mobile chat have increased,” said Cindy Zhou, principal analyst for digital marketing and sales effectiveness at Constellation Research.

“Chat is preferred over phone calls,” which often entail voice response unites that route customers to multiple places “before a single question is answered,” she told CRM Buyer, “or emails that can take days for a response.”

Questions like hours of operation, location address, credit card balance and payment due are perfect for interaction with bots, Zhou noted. Adding AI can look at patterns of questions in order to speed up the entire customer experience.

Helpshift’s applications already are installed on more than 2 billion devices worldwide, and the company claims more than 600 million active consumers engage with them every month.

Helpshift has made a major difference in Chatbooks’ ability to service customers, the startup said. Chatbooks converts photos from social media into photo books for customers.

“Live chat is a game-changer for us at Chatbooks,” said Angel Brockbank, director of customer support at Chatbooks.

“If a customer has a question while making a Chatbooks photo book and she doesn’t get immediate support, she may never return,” she told CRM Buyer, noting that using live chat has allowed the company to reduce average time to resolve issues from nine days to 18 hours.

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