It is impossible to deny the love affair people have with texting. Pew Internet reported last year that 97% of Americans use text messaging at least once a day — it’s the most widely and frequently used app on a smartphone. And, Informate Mobile Intelligence found Americans send five times as many text messages compared to the number of phone calls they make. Serving customers on the channels they use to communicate with each other can help to improve the customer experience. And doing it in a way that saves you cost is even better.
Applications like Interactive Text Response (ITR) use Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to enable people to engage in personalized, conversational text interactions with an automated system. Users simply ask a question and get an answer.
The customer experience strategy behind ITR can also be applied to Facebook Messenger. In July, Facebook Messenger counted 1 billion monthly active users — that’s more than 13% of the world’s population. As a customer service tool, Facebook Messenger can improve brand engagement, service and support levels as well as strengthen the voice of the customer. Messenger can even be used to deliver automated, proactive notifications and announcements with the potential for two-way chatbot dialogues.
Intelligent virtual assistants are another example of chatbots. Once Apple iPhone users got past the novelty of asking “how much wood would a woodchuck chuck” or “who’s your daddy,” the 2011 introduction of Siri was the beginning of the intelligent virtual assistant revolution. With Siri, as well as Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa, users could suddenly speak using natural language voice commands to perform actions such as sending messages, placing calls and setting reminders. Over the past five years, these nearly ubiquitous assistants have proved that human-to-machine interactions can be easy, convenient and increasingly accurate. The latest advancements in NLU, combined with intelligent virtual assistants, open the door to a new breed of self-service applications that give customers a conversational, human-like experience that is entirely automated.
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