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, giving the right answers and guides them to the next steps that will help customers make a decision and even help in making a transaction.
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.
Simply put, natural language processing (NLP) is an AI technology that gives a computer or software the ability to understand languages as we humans speak them. 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.
It’s easy to see the huge benefits of this technology in customer engagement. Virtual assistants that are powered by the AI natural 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.
eGain has 16 years’ experience of working on natural language processing technology. eGain Virtual Assistant, the NLP 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 becomes an even more effective as a customer service tool.