This is part one of a three-article series into natural language processing (NLP) and modern chatbot applications.
Natural language processing (NLP) has been used successfully for multiple applications, from virtual assistants and data analysis through to manual processing and control systems. Despite these many uses, perhaps the best fit for NLP is related to sales and customer service. Smart chatbots can be seen on websites and order forms the world over, with human users able to interact with software in real-time as they browse and purchase online.
NLP has become an essential tool in the world of customer service, where the clever use of technology is used to support users, guide actions, and increase sales.
Let's take a look at the enduring importance of customer service and how you can use technology to improve your sales funnel.
The importance of customer service
As internet speeds accelerate and global networks proliferate, customer service has become more important than ever before. While consumers have increased access to products and services from around the world, the increased choice has also led to a more confusing and less personal shopping experience. Product options and competitive prices are not enough in isolation, with consumers also demanding real-time support and clever site-wide integration.
According to a Call Center survey published in The Article Buzz, "25% of customers would pay more for better customer experience, regardless of product type." While global consumers have become accustomed to large and impersonal websites, we have reached a stage in online retail where people are demanding more from the shopping experience.
Online retailers need to support their customers, with NLP-based chatbots and other smart technology able to respond to queries in real-time and integrate with existing sales and support systems. Rather than waiting for a human chat operator or dealing with a slow email-based messaging system, interactive chatbots allow you to support customers and guide them through each stage of the transaction process.
The importance of response time and interactivity
We live in a fast world defined by instant communication systems and tight feedback loops. Whether it's a relationship, an experience, or a transaction, people can like, comment, and review to their heart's content. As speed and interactivity have become more normalized, consumers have become less patient and more demanding. Online retailers need to adjust to this brave new world or risk becoming irrelevant.
According to the Call Center research, "64% of consumers expect real-time responses at any time." People no longer have to wait to access the latest news or talk to their friends, and they expect the same real-time response from a transaction. "62% of customers will consider switching to a competitor after only 1-2 bad experiences." according to the survey, so it's important to provide interactivity and support from the outset.
NLP-based chatbots work in real-time, with queries answered immediately based on user intent and fundamental elements of the conversation. Whether it's directing users to a product, answering a support question, or assigning them to a human customer support operator, NLP chatbots offer an effective, efficient, and affordable way to support customers in real time.
The importance of integration and complete solutions
Real-time help and response mechanisms are not the only benefits of NLP-based chatbots, with this technology also enabling integration between separate systems. In order to improve customer service, businesses need to embrace comprehensive technology solutions that function as a whole. Customers don't want to deal with disparate or discrete systems, they want a one-stop-shop where problems are solved quickly and outcomes are achieved in a seamless fashion.
NLP-based technology is the ideal tool when it comes to site-wide integration and customer support. From FAQ pages and stock availability questions to order and delivery information, chatbots can direct users quickly to avoid bottlenecks and lost sales. When a chatbot is trained appropriately based on your needs, it can augment and eventually replace your interactive voice response (IVR) system.
NLP systems use machine learning and fundamental meaning to identify user intent, recognize language entities, and analyze key utterances to extract useful information. From specific products and services to locations, dates, and times, chatbots use this information to take appropriate action and ensure high-quality outcomes. Once the language elements are known, important data is given context and shared throughout the communication session.
Technology and automation continue to influence every aspect of modern business, including sales and customer service. In order to meet the needs and expectations of modern customers, it's important to ensure fast responses and accurate results. NLP-based chatbots are highly responsive real-time systems that offer complete integration with your existing business systems.