For today’s customer-centric enterprises, delivering an optimal digital customer experience across all platforms and channels is a do-or-die proposition. Today’s consumers are pickier, savvier, and more demanding of the brands they do business with than ever.
But companies that operate in multiple markets or run multiple lines of business will find it even more challenging than their more simply modeled competitors to ensure customers get the level of service and engagement they expect.
Many of them fall into the trap of thinking only artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning solutions are the answers to meeting their evolving business demands at scale. They’ll allocate precious dollars to these solutions and spend countless hours implementing them, only to be disappointed that the costly platforms are hard to build, harder to maintain, and incredibly difficult to manage amid the tangle of other integrated technologies.
“70% of companies fail at large-scale digital transformation initiatives because they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.”
Worse, they do all of it with no real return on investment — that is, if they can even complete the process at all. In fact, around 70% of companies fail at large-scale digital transformation initiatives precisely because they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.
What complex enterprises need is the ability to meet customer demands for speed and personalization without having to resort to AI tools first. Here’s a closer look at why going “all in” on AI often fails to deliver, and how a simpler, customizable solution using your existing live chat platform, some smart bots, and custom automation can help your enterprise provide superior, scalable digital experiences.
Why AI fails
AI and automated customer service and engagement solutions have revolutionized business in many ways. The tools streamline and improve processes and increase cost-effectiveness over time. And let’s face it: AI is also the direction in which nearly everything in business appears to be headed, and it’s why you may feel compelled to get on board with it right away.
But if you don’t know what you’re getting into, you can leave your organization without the knowledge and resources needed to implement and manage AI solutions successfully—to the extreme detriment of your customers and your bottom line. It’s a bit like jumping into the deep end without first knowing how to swim.
Here’s how AI can set you up to sink:
- It’s expensive. AI costs an exorbitant sum for a reason: it’s robust technology that requires an enormous amount of computing power, security, infrastructure, and other factors to run. The upfront investment, let alone the cost to manage, simply may not be in the cards for you.
- It’s unwieldy. Most AI and machine-learning technologies require lengthy deployments and configurations that have to be carefully understood and coordinated. When you throw a multitude of locations, audiences, platforms, and use cases into the mix, a tolerable level of complexity can quickly turn into an intolerable level of chaos.
- It requires specialized knowledge. AI is only as good as the data fed to it — which means you need an experienced, knowledgeable team of engineers and data scientists on hand who can make the most of the technology. The problem is, qualified engineers and data scientists tend to be in short supply — and only add to your costs if you’re able to recruit them.
- It’s not human. At the end of the day, AI can imitate a lot of things but it still can’t replace a human, and there are always going to be nuanced or more complex customer interactions that require a human touch. In fact, more than 85% of consumers still prefer connecting with a human than with a bot. Expecting an AI solution to handle those interactions, too, is to disregard and alienate your customers who fall into that category.
AI can seem like the answer to a rapidly evolving world in which customer expectations change by the minute. But AI doesn’t have to be the immediate next step you take. There’s an interim solution that offers your customers better digital experiences without breaking the bank or saddling your organization with complicated technology it may not be ready for yet. Even better, it allows you to keep your existing team of human agents.
Live chat, custom automation, and smart chatbots: a better way forward
Instead of relying on a team of human agents alone, which can hinder scalability and quality of service, a combination of smart chatbots, live chat, and custom automation can help you meet customer demands for faster response times without ignoring their desire for personalized, contextualized interactions.
Your human agents play a necessary role in engaging with customers. But there are specific instances when a smart chatbot can take over to handle the lower-value, more repetitive interactions that bog down human teams. These bots can provide customers with quick answers or instructions and be programmed to automatically transfer customers to the right human agent in a warm handoff when the circumstance calls for it. These bots deliver quick responses to customers but never prevent them from chatting with a human when they need or want to.
These simpler chatbot technologies give you the benefits of conversational bots and robust automation without the expenses and headaches that come with more extensive and resource-intensive AI tools. They’re faster and easier to scale, and they’re easier to deploy and maintain since they can integrate with your existing live chat platforms and don’t require special skills to implement, making them a truly cost-effective alternative to AI. Yet similar to AI, each interaction can be analyzed for patterns and insights that can help you improve your front-line customer communications.
Rather than relying on a hefty AI solution for everything all at once, you can deploy different chatbots for different audiences, brands, or use cases — over time and in phases — to suit business needs as they arise.
By blending the best of both worlds — computer automation with the human touch — your customer service and engagement teams can grow strategically with the needs of the business. And your enterprise can build and maintain a competitive advantage by providing a superior digital customer experience that’s responsive and adaptive to whatever the market demands.
To learn more about how smart chatbots and custom automation can help your business deliver a better digital customer experience, download the eBook.