Natural Language Processing (NLP) is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that gives software the ability to understand language as we humans speak it. The virtual assistant software has to understand the intent of a question, not just the words. It will also have to understand the context of the conversation, continuing the interaction as a flow instead of reacting to separate, standalone questions. This is far harder than it appears and only the advances in AI have made it possible. Natural language search can be used to find answers and the software would understand it. Users can converse with chatbots just like they would another human and similarly get answers that a human would have provided. It is becoming harder and harder to differentiate the chat bots from human agents, which is a good thing. This allows companies to deploy virtual agents to take care of the initial customer touch points allowing agents to take on more complex and challenging issues.
It’s easy to see the huge benefits of this technology in customer engagement. Virtual assistants that are powered by the AI language processing ability become the first line of help. They capture and captivate your customers by guiding them to the right places on the website where they can find their answers. Importantly, they are intelligent enough to know when they don’t have the answer and escalate to human agent assisted channels like email or chat or click-to-call (if these channels are integrated with it). This directly reduces customer interaction with agents at the first incidence thereby reducing costs. The customers are satisfied earlier in the journey and do not end up irritated or frustrated when they finally get to an agent.
Imagine this scenario. You are an eCommerce or insurance company with a website. Your goal: To increase web sales and improve customer self-service. To help achieve your goals, you’ve implemented a brand-aligned chatbot interface on the web pages. Visitors interact with the chat bot (you may also call it a virtual assistant or digital assistant or virtual agent) asking it questions like, “Where can I find shoes to go with my red dress?” or “Which health plan will suit my family of four?” The virtual assistant understands these questions and provides an answer, even guiding customers to the next steps. The result — your customers get to make their decisions, and finish a purchase.
What makes this scenario a success or a failure? It’s the Artificial Intelligence-based natural language processing ability (or the lack of it) of your virtual assistant.
eGain has 16 years’ experience of working on natural language processing technology. eGain Virtual Assistant, the AI powered conversational customer self-service interface, has helped companies deliver unique and differentiated experience to their customers globally.
When eGain’s NLP AI technology is combined with another powerful eGain AI technology—the Case-Based Reasoning or Guided Help capability—the virtual assistant or chatbot becomes even more effective as a customer service tool.
It takes over many of the initial customer interactions and reduces operating costs while increasing customer satisfaction.