By Marko Reis, Regional Manager – East Africa at Infobip
Modern customers are increasingly becoming information seekers rather than passive recipients of information. A great deal more is therefore required from organisations when it comes to the way in which the ‘brand’ communicates to its customer. Consequently, the demand for reliable, personalised content, made available on the channels of their choice has increased tremendously. All of which boils down to a significant increase in the need to improve the Customer Experience (CX).
In response, global organisations are recognising the importance of reaching their customers via holistic communication solutions that include channels such as WhatsApp Business API and other chat apps. However, many of these solutions are underpinned by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies and machine learning.
Kenya is a gateway to the rest of East Africa for a number of international companies penetrating these markets. For many organisations SMS is often still the first port of call when choosing a communication channel. However, this a more conventional approach and contemporary channels that enable richer communication are now available to Kenyan organisations and need to be taken into consideration.
There has been uptake of AI and machine learning in Kenya, but not has much that is needed to automate and revolutionise business communications in various industries. Although several start-ups have introduced AI into their solutions, we will only see real growth in future. This means that organisations need to start preparing for this technology and look towards a communications platform that can provide them with a wholistic approach that incorporates AI and machine learning.
Demand for credible platforms
Despite this, there is also a demand to provide a credible platform, which can sustain business expansion and different end user requests, ultimately enhancing CX, especially among companies that deal with a lot of customer interaction.
A technology is needed that can bolster communication automation across channels and ensure that the customer’s intentions are understood. Here, chat apps such as WhatsApp Business API can be leveraged. However, only once this channel is coupled with chatbot technology, will customer intentions be truly be understood without the need for human intervention.
Are chatbots the answer to our communication woes?
As a result, chatbots offer a holistic approach to resolving some of the pain points many organisations experience related to operating large call centres that typically require significant resources and are costly to run. Call centre agents can therefore start to avoid basic and repetitive customer queries and instead focus on executing functions that are more valuable to the business.
An automated communication approach allows them to develop a chatbot for FAQs that can essentially answer any customer queries, especially if coupled with AI and machine learning capabilities.
The chatbot can learn through answering those questions and therefore becomes more expansive and adapts to how people ask questions, until it can understand natural language. At this point the end user will not even be aware that they are chatting with a bot. If the chat bot encounters a question it can’t understand, or is too complex to answer, the query can seamlessly be redirected to a call centre agent.
This is ultimately an end-to-end solution that resolves pain points of the call centres, as well as providing customers with more specific information and a faster way to communicate with the organisation.
The need to embrace
Kenyan enterprises need to embrace such holistic approaches to communication. An increasing number of global companies are turning to data-driven customer experiences, which are constantly evolving to become newer, better and more impactful. It is important for organisations to get on board and realise how critical it is to implement specific solutions that meets customers’ needs, can analyse their behaviour and engage meaningfully with them.
Innovative and forward-thinking companies, that are bold and agile enough to seize the opportunity, will up the stakes on conversational commerce by deploying automated communication solutions to communicate and transact with their customers.