According to the US Foreign Service Institute, it takes around 600 hours of practice for English speakers to learn some of the easiest languages in the world – for instance, Spanish, Swahili, and Swedish. Today, AI tools can achieve these phenomenal results in no time. However, the challenge for customer experience leaders was getting them to sound human. So, how have we taught chatbots to “speak” like humans? By combining AI with linguistics and natural language processing (NLP).
When customer experience and marketing commentators discuss AI and its benefits in the media, their themes often tend to be forward-looking. Can AI revolutionise marketing? When will AI augment the workplace? This mindset needs to be corrected.
Changing and humanising chatbot design
It’s true that when the first chatbots were created in the 60s and 70s, they were very basic. In the last few years, customers understood them as tools with pre-programme options, like “Do you want to buy a train ticket, or do you want to talk to an agent?” This is very similar to a call centre’s preset options on the phone.
But chatbot design has changed. The introduction of AI has enabled the industry to move quickly from a pre-programmed bot, also called a click-bot, to a conversational AI bot. This step was essential because many customers want to have natural conversations, even when talking to a chatbot. According to a customer support study, almost 89% of customers are interested in digital conversations with chatbots. Provided they are helpful, of course. The appeal and demand for chatbots is certainly there, but are lacking the human touch.
Modern chatbots are becoming very helpful. When asked to describe their most recent chatbot experience, 44% of consumers said it was positive, according to more studies. Today, a natural human-bot conversation is increasingly possible because chatbots are gaining a greater understanding of human language. And that’s where linguistics, the science of human languages, has changed conversational AI.
This suggests that the chatbots of the future are already here and have revolutionised the customer experience sector. A Sinch customer, one of Belgium’s biggest banks, has used a chatbot to improve customer satisfaction. The chatbot answers around 20% of the customer support team’s inbound queries, which saved 24 hours of work for agents in the first one and a half months alone.
Now is the time for you and your team to step into the future, today.
If we want trust with our customers in the communication channels we use, we must better our tech. Our chatbots should be humanised. So, how do you get started?
1. Use linguistics to design your chatbot
With the help of NLP and linguistics, conversational AI bots can be trained to understand human language. In a linguistic engine, the accuracy you get with your first attempt at designing a ‘human-like’ chatbot is typically higher than with machine learning (where you’d have to teach the tool how to understand language, one sentence at a time).
A linguistic approach means your chatbot can understand languages from the get-go. That is because the rules you define are language-independent, so once the rules are constructed, the bot immediately understands all languages the engine supports. This model means you could also teach your chatbot in multiple languages simultaneously.
This means that your team can deploy a verifiable chatbot efficiently and provide customers with new AI-powered experiences that save them time and resolve their inquiries faster.
2. Put your chatbots to the test
One of the most impressive things about NLP-based bots is that they get smarter with each interaction. However, initially, NLP chatbots are still learning and should be monitored even after they go live. It can take some time to make sure your bot understands your customers and provides the correct responses every time.
What else should a company know before launching a chatbot?
Before launching a bot, consider the following questions, too.
- What problem is the chatbot supposed to solve for your customers?
- What are the tasks that your bot will complete? Who are our customers?
- What should your bot’s personality and tone of voice be?
- How can you create a happy flow of conversation around that?
It is now possible to design a perfectly good AI chatbot for your business needs today. The future you are waiting for is already possible for many brands embracing the technology. What are you waiting for? Don’t be left behind.