AI – Not Just for Chat

By: Rob McDougall, CEO, Upstream Works Software 

Conversational AI is often used as a tool for providing customer service through channels like chat or voice. However, email is still a major communication channel for many businesses, and is often overlooked when it comes to AI-assisted customer service. This is especially surprising given that email volumes are often significantly higher than messaging traffic and can represent a not-insignificant portion of a company’s contact volume.

The problem is that many chatbot providers are not equipped to handle the free-form nature of email communication, where all the necessary information is typically provided in one message. Chatbots are trained to work with dialogs and short responses, which are natural in a chat or voice conversation. Email, on the other hand, requires a different approach. New, Large Language Models (LLMs) are better at addressing this longer communication format; however, aside from their tendency to ‘hallucinate’, they do not specifically have access to your company information- which is what your email customers are looking for.

To address this gap, businesses can look for email bot providers to help automate their email workload. However, these solutions may be harder to find than chatbot providers, and they will likely be different from chatbots in terms of functionality. Additionally, it’s important to plan ahead and measure the success of an email bot just as you would an agent or chatbot, as well as provide the ability to escalate to an agent when the confidence level is low.

Regardless of the customer communications media used, it’s critical to understand how any AI application will integrate into your business systems, have access to your specific (and correct) information for responses, and will be able to escalate easily to an agent when the confidence level of the response is low. Escalations need to be integrated through a single framework on the agent desktop to standardize workflows, simplify the agent experience, and provide consistency across all channels for customers. By considering these factors, businesses can provide a more seamless and cohesive customer service experience, regardless of how a customer contacts them.

Learn how Upstream Works AI application integration capabilities improve agent experiences (AX) here.