Customer Service is an integral part of services industry. Traditionally, it has been catered to by call centers run by the companies or third party entities. As companies grow exponentially, a need arises for a way to address the increasing customer demands and queries. Some of the typical challenges being faced by customer services teams are:
- Ever increasing cost of service and customer satisfaction levels.
- Continuity, Scalability and Speed of service.
- Lot of mundane tasks done by customer service executives.
- Training issues for processes, guidelines etc.
This is where Chatbots come in.
A Chatbot is a text and voice based interface that runs on powerful Artificial Intelligence technologies and allows the end user to interact with it in order to get information. ‘Chatbot’ is short for ‘Chat Robot’, which is essentially the task that it performs. The current technology is evolved enough to allow for highly engaging conversational experiences as they can simulate human conversation and dialogue.
The benefits of a Call Center bot over a human agent in a call center are obvious. The Chatbot can work 24*7, is quicker and more efficient, and much less prone to error. It is important to remember that Chatbots are not as intelligent as humans, meaning that complicated queries or instructions will not be comprehensible to them. But any quick task or query is serviced much better in every aspect by a Chatbot.
Some popular Chatbot building services are Google DialogFlow, IBM Watson and Amazon Lex.
Amazon Lex is an AWS service for building conversational interfaces for text and voice media. It provides high quality speech recognition and powerful Natural Language Understanding capabilities, courtesy of the same technology that is behind Amazon Alexa. These features are compiled into a user friendly interface that can build natural language Chatbots which can be added to any necessary applications.
Lex is compatible with the numerous services provided by AWS, thus making AWS a one stop solution for the Chatbot services. This means that Lex is integrated with Amazon Lambda for intent fulfilment, Amazon Cognito for authentication, Amazon DynamoDB for databases and Amazon Polly for conversion from text to speech. Additionally, the Chatbots are easy to publish to mobile devices and multiple chat services like Facebook Messenger, Slack, Kik and Twilio SMS.
Lex does not require any expertise in Machine Learning techniques to build Chatbots. The developers’ part is to specify the conversation flow declaratively, while the Natural Language understanding and Speech Recognition parts are taken care of by Lex.
Lex comes with its set of limitations, although the pros far outweigh the cons. The main limitation is that Lex only supports the English Language.
AI powered Chat Bots are already helping customers in areas of customer services and beyond. And solutions like Amazon Lex or DialogFlow is enabling technology teams to quickly test and deliver solutions to businesses. As per one recent study in 2017, $1.3 trillion are spent on customer service calls per year. This is a great place to be in for technology teams and add value to businesses by reducing cost of customer services calls.