How a Difference in Approach to AI + Bots Impacts Business Outcomes

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Many AI + Chatbot providers in recent years have convinced brands that deploying their technologies will result in an improved customer experience while reducing operational inefficiencies and associated costs. Yet many of those Conversational AI platforms have not lived up to those promises. Gartner calls this phase the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’ in its often-referenced “Hype Cycle”:

Interest wanes as experiments and implementations fail to deliver… Investment continues only if the surviving providers improve their products to the satisfaction of early adopters. 

As the customer-support platform powering billions of bot interactions to millions of end-users per year, Helpshift is focused on delivering on the promise of AI + Bots with its fundamentally smarter approach in its underlying technology. 

With a focused approach to AI + Bots and a toolset designed for business stakeholders, Helpshift makes it possible for businesses to realize a return on investment within weeks rather than months or years. The following sections lay out the business impacts of Helpshift’s approach to AI + Bots, and the technological difference that makes such claims possible. 

AI + Bots Deliver a Speedy Path to Value 

  • The first step toward realizing the promise of customer service automation is making self-service resources easy for customers to consume. Helpshift empowers the incorporation of existing organizational knowledge in a hosted, mobile-ready Help Center.  Within the first two weeks of a Helpshift engagement, companies establish FAQ content as a bulwark and the first step in the Automation journey.
  • FAQs power Helpshift’s proprietary Answer Bot, which gives customers the opportunity to self-serve. Helpshift’s AI has delivered 50-75% deflection of requests with this bot alone. Answer Bot can be configured in conjunction with onboarding FAQs, so this capability represents a second – almost immediate – attribute in realizing value in the platform.
  • Answer Bot is the first in a series of purpose-built bots that can be deployed by businesses within minutes-to-days, not weeks-to-months. 

….Compare this to the Path to Value of Traditional AI + Bot Platforms 

Conversational AI platforms — Salesforce’s Einstein, Amazon Lex, IBM’s Watson or Oracles’ Digital Assistant — are built on natural language processing (NLP) technology which requires complex implementation processes in which AI models must be trained and deployed at every step of a customer interaction. 

This NLP approach has significantly contributed to the “Trough of Disillusionment” in which our industry currently finds itself. Even well-funded and well-staffed development teams require months or years before Bots and AI return even baseline improvements. 

How does the difference between Helpshfit and these NLP providers create such disparity in Time to Value? Helpshift’s AI, Bots and Automations are laser-focused on the Customer Support process. Conversely, the aforementioned vendors have intended for their AI to be used for a wide range of business applications, so they must be configured and trained for a virtually endless variety of scenarios. 

In conclusion, executives considering AI + Chatbot strategies should look at programmatic, purpose-built platforms designed for Customer Support applications, and they should avoid the NLP approach dominant in big-name vendors which has contributed to the disappointments in the AI + Bot space in recent years.

Level of Effort in Deployment and Maintenance

NLP bots and digital assistants (including Oracle’s) are conversational and intent-based. Understanding customer intent and deploying appropriate automated steps requires developers and subject-matter-experts to work together to design experiences, often for multiple channels. 

Conversely, Helpshift’s bots are simple, robotic, decision-tree bots. They guarantee 100% predictability of the flow without guesswork by NLP-based AI. Helpshift’s simple visual Bot Builder empowers any business user to build bot flows and automations without code. 

In summary, Helpshift approaches automation through the lens of simplicity: 

Empower Customer Support leaders – those who are accountable for great customer experiences and the costs related to delivering them – with a toolset that puts them in charge of those outcomes, cutting dependence on their overburdened IT teams. 

Published January 11, 2020
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