Companies are optimizing their services and growing their businesses by offering customers chat-based assistance for immediate needs

Today's consumers don't have time for less-than-optimal services—in fact, according to PSFK's 2018 chat survey, 41% of customers now use chat applications for in-depth product knowledge or to get answers about services. This means that more and more businesses are turning to chatbots and voice services as a way not just to automate but elevate their interactions with customers. 

The delivery of relevant information or support becomes as simple as allowing consumers to type or speak using natural language to communicate their queries. This approach is not only on-demand and always available but also contextual, ensuring customers are receiving exactly the type of support they need. Here are three ways that real companies are optimizing their services and growing their businesses by offering chat-based assistance:

Chat integration allows hosts to respond to guests’ queries automatically
US startup Burner launched Hostbot, a bot specifically geared towards helping hosts of short-term vacation rentals like Airbnb communicate and provide answers to frequently asked questions from guests. After downloading the Burner app and authenticating their credentials, hosts can program their own relevant responses to common questions their guests ask. Hostbot then uses a natural language processing service called to help the bot identify multiple query permutations to automate the answers.

AI bot provides on-demand customer service
UK bank NatWest is testing a life-like avatar named Cora to help customers with basic queries and on-demand customer support needs. The artificial intelligence-powered bot can hold a two-way vocal conversation with customers via a computer screen, tablet or mobile phone and is equipped with machine learning technology. Through its capacity to learn, Cora becomes increasingly proficient at understanding and helping customers.

Virtual agent assists customers and forwards unknown queries to human agents
Software corporation Autodesk introduced a virtual agent called AVA to assist customers with their questions and forward unknown inquiries to the correct human agent when needed. Powered by natural language processing and deep learning, AVA understands a broad array of customer inquiries and uses keywords and phrases to quickly unpack the conversation’s context to provide high-confidence answers. If the virtual agent cannot resolve a situation on its own, it collects enough information to create a case and forwards the ticket to an appropriate human agent.

These are just a few of the many innovative ways that businesses are implementing artificial intelligence. Currently, the most common predicted uses for chatbots that consumers reported included getting quick answers to questions in an emergency (37%) and getting detailed answers or explanations (35%). Whether all customer service operations will eventually be digitized remains to be seen, but what's certain is that businesses are seamlessly blending AI and chat-based options with human interactions, ultimately upgrading their services.

More insights can be found in our Customer Service Debrief on building loyalty through conversational AI and chatbots.