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AIrtificial Intellegence in Customer Support ReadWrite

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A Victoria’s Secret chatbot helps to take further steps on the website


When we speak about artificial intelligence, most people associate it with “something smart.” From voice assistants capable of finding the answer to any question and self-driven cars to cutting-edge fridges that can plan meals and stream your favorite content – the game is changing, technology is engaging, and AI is getting smarter and smarter on its own.

However, the concept of artificial intelligence is wider than it seems. As you may see from progressive web app examples, AI enhances the work of PWAs, making them fast, responsive, and impressively stable compared to native apps.

AI may also include such technologies as natural language programming, machine learning, neural network, deep learning, machine perception.

All the things mentioned above, one way or another, are created due to merging those technologies.

Yet, the impact of AI goes beyond the building of smart things for IT corporations.

A plethora of companies and vendors of different sizes try to jump on the AI bandwagon to take advantage of intelligent software and hardware to improve their products and services.

Questions about AI

How will AI help improve customer support experience? Why businesses are striving to implement AI chatbots — and what to expect from them in the future.

Image Credit: Official Victoria’s Secret website.

The Past of Chatbots in Customer Service

Interaction with chatbots used to be a painstaking and frustrating experience in the past. That was because chatbots were equipped with specific templates of responses and weren’t flexible if the user’s intent didn’t coincide with the preset scenarios.

A chatbot is not able to understand the words it was not taughtImage credit: Medium

What was the purpose of the above Chatbot survey? It was designed to surface the answer like “Couldn’t find anything” and suggested following the strict “phone tree” menus.

As a result, users got disappointed in the technology and turned to live agents for assistance. But nowadays, AI has turned the tables making chatbots more sophisticated and intelligent.

Artificial Intelligence and Customer Support: a Match Made in Heaven

The immense impact of artificial intelligence is most noticeable in the customer service area. With more and more companies using chatbots as smart assistants, the number of interactions carried out without human participation is growing exponentially.

Chatbots are here to stay. While humans are limited by biological evolution, AI is not. As artificial intelligence is becoming smarter and stronger, bots have fewer and fewer restrictions on what they can’t do. They proved themselves as valuable technology in terms of both personal and business use.

So, let’s dwell further on the subject and discover what makes things really intelligent, how AI-driven chatbots work, what progress has been made, and why artificial intelligence is considered to be one of the major drivers for the customer service industry.

What Do We Mean by Artificial Intelligence?

The most important part about AI is that the technology makes it possible for computer systems and machines to mimic human behavior and natural processes by adjusting to new inputs and learning from previous experiences.

In a nutshell, the concept of artificial intelligence is based on simulating human cognitive behavior. In this regard, the software is “intelligent” if it:

  •   understands the current context;
  •   can make decisions evaluating both the environment and previous experience;
  •   can learn;
  •   has a memory that allows a chatbot to remember pertinent details to reuse during a conversation;
  •   in equivocal situations rest upon so-called “common sense.”

No doubts, AI is becoming smarter with each day and similarly enhancing natural human behavior. Thus, with the technology evolution, it becomes easy for smart software to identify the emotional coloring of a message and respond to it relatively. This creates opportunities for empathic conversation and significantly improves communication between two parts.

A shining example of this ability is the Cogito Corp. Cogito is AI-driven software that helps customer service agents to improve their outcomes. It can detect such speech patterns as tone, pace, pitch, empathy, pauses, word frequency, and others to give the agents coaching suggestions on responding to them correspondingly.

As such, once installed on the CRM, the software displays immediate real-time notifications to the service agents, advising them to speak slowly, loudly, gently, amiably, make a pause, or start talking. Below you can see how this assistant works.

AI software Cogito analyzes how customer service agents respondImage credit: Cogitocorp

Conversational Chatbots: a Way to Smart Customer Interactions

As we mentioned earlier, AI chatbots provide users with the humanlike experience people expect to get when they think about artificial intelligence.

However, not every chatbot that you can talk to on a website is driven by AI. They may rely on algorithms to determine the meaning of a question, but if you go off the script, then they are left floundering.

A hallmark of conversational AI systems is the capability to understand a customer’s intent, regardless of how the question is phrased. These smart bots can:

  • fill out the form;
  • provide recommendations;
  • upsell;
  • make reservations;
  • book appointments;
  • and even integrate with back-end software like CRM, ERP, RPA to carry out further tasks.

Here is a brilliant example of how the chatbot understands the context.

It doesn’t even need to know the whole utterance: it suggests the user a possible end of a request! What is more, it goes beyond just offering a suggestion. It runs through the source material such as FAQs and knowledge bases and resolves questions.

Chatbot anticipating what the user’s request will beImage credit: Intercom.com

Why Do Businesses Love Conversational Chatbots?

Surprisingly, most people are quite content knowing they are speaking to a machine. According to the latest survey, 40% of consumers make no difference whether a computer or a human being helps them if they get the help they need. Even more, for some users, it means that they can discuss any technical problem as much as they want without feeling foolish.

Unlike human agents, chatbots are fast, friendly, and are always there whenever a user needs them.

Besides, the latest generation of conversational bots can perceive and understand people’s intents without keyword matching and are able to give accurate answers to the clients’ questions. Using the smart assistants helps the agents significantly boost their productivity and effectiveness by imitating conversations naturally and humanly.

Nowadays, more and more companies worldwide start adopting these intelligent assistants to improve their customer service quality.

For instance, Salesforce has introduced its own AI-driven Einstein bot that can perform a variety of tasks. As such, it is able to resolve routine issues, check claims status, modify orders using natural language processing on real channels, and so on.

The Salesforce Einstein chatbot responds in a dialogueImage credit: Salesforce

However, it can be hard for an inexperienced user to handle such a complex CRM as Salesforce. To configure it properly, you may need someone who knows how to use its Service Cloud (onilabdotcom).

The 5 Main Reasons to Implement AI-Powered Chatbots

1. Better Customer Understanding

Chatbots store information about customer preferences and previous searches. In the future, they can use these insights to instantly anticipate a request or make personalized offers. It can improve customer attitude towards the company and increase retention.

2. Non-Stop Customer Support

Chatbots don’t need to sleep and rest. They can offer a solution to the problem at any time of the day and not make mistakes. If the problem is too complex or unique and requires human intervention, the chatbot can respond to the user when they can get a specialist’s answer. Then it will direct this question to the correct department.

3. Saving Money

Since chatbots reduce the time spent on routine tasks, you can reduce the cost of hiring more support staff. The Juniper Research study shows that by 2022 businesses will leverage chatbots to save costs of over $8 billion annually. And probably it’s the right time to embrace this innovation.

4. Overcoming Language Barriers

Chatbots expand the horizons and geography of your customers. Since your employees may not know all languages, chatbots can come to their aid. NLP, by which the chatbots work, allows understanding of different tones and languages. That’s how you will overcome friction in communication instead of risking the loss of a potential customer.

5. Scalability

Let’s imagine your business goes through a festive season or peak hours. The entire stream of questions rests on the shoulders of the support team, which can’t cope with the increased demand. Scalability means that during this time, you don’t need to attract additional resources such as live agents and train them.

Chatbots provide multichannel conversation in real-time and can easily cope with even the 200% hike in chats.

AI-Powered Chatbots: What to Expect?

Thanks to the rise of artificial intelligence, customer service has made a big step forward from simple query inputting to advanced perception for providing human-like interactions. With the growing number of companies building deep neural networks and leveraging AI to make their services smarter, we can expect the impact of bots will expand over 2021 and in subsequent years.

AI-powered conversational bots are predicted to be employed in call centers worldwide, where they will provide customer support instead of human agents. This is especially true, considering that they already help businesses reduce costs up to 30% by employing well-trained chatbots.

However, this could instill fears about the possible staff reduction and replacing them with robots. Crises and stock market crashes, shocks, and natural disasters, all this can shatter confidence in the future.

However, chatbots cannot brainstorm new ideas; they cannot think about what challenges a business may face. They expect commands from people and are ready to execute them. So, there is nothing to worry about.

Even though artificial intelligence and related technologies are still far from perfection and have numerous issues to overcome, the prognosis over chatbot development is promising. They are likely to be one of the dominating trends in customer support and beyond.

Top Image Credit: rodnae productions; pexels; thank you!

Alex Husar

Alex Husar, a CTO at Onilab with 8+ years of experience in Magento development and Salesforce. Alex is an expert both at full-stack dev and providing project-critical guidance to the whole team.

Politics

Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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