Online communities are a big part of your customer’s experience. From enabling self-service to driving brand loyalty and engagement, they play a key in improving metrics like CSAT, customer retention rate, NPS, and whatnot.
Both Forrester and Gartner agree that the future looks bright for self-service portals. Customers are accustomed to them, use them, and even prefer them as they’re always available with minimal waiting. So, why is it that some communities are struggling with adoption?
The answer lies in the experience.
People tend to expect more from digital avenues. Unfortunately, many communities fall behind expectations. Your customers want relevant answers – and they want them yesterday. How can organizations deliver? Well, by embedding AI in the customer community.
The Amalgamation of AI & Online Communities
In our recent panel discussion, Community (re)Focus, 2020, many community veterans shared their take on the future of AI and online communities. Here’s what they said:
The responses suggest that interest in AI across community professionals is definitely on the rise. And it’s not hard to see why. In a recent webinar with Bill Johnston, Venessa Paech, Founder & Chief Consultant at PeerSense, sums it up quite well.
“I think that a lot of those working in community feel as though they might as well be a bot simply because there’s no time to add value as a human being. They’re so busy doing monotonous and repetitive tasks, and AI can help alleviate this burden and empower them to add more value as a human.”
How AI Assists & Empowers Your Community
Time to explore how AI rejuvenates your community. First, it seamlessly integrates with your community’s search function. When a customer searches on your AI-fueled community, the amped-up search quickly grasps context and intent to return useful results.
It also matches the query with similar journeys in the past to recommend the most relevant content. Every piece of information like search queries, viewed pages, purchase history, etc., helps AI better profile the customer. As a result, the community experience is personalized and relevant.
According to The State of AI in Business:
“It appears that AI’s ‘early adopter’ phase is ending; the market is now moving into the ‘early majority’ chapter of this maturing set of technologies. In fact, IDC forecasts that spending on AI technologies will grow to US$97.9 billion in 2023 — more than two and a half times the spending level of 2019.”
The AI frenzy has barely begun. Some vendors have started using it to develop applications for different use cases like customer service, sales, marketing, onboarding, etc. But today, we’ll be just focussing on AI-powered apps that will augment your online community in 2021.
1. Intelligent Chatbots
Chatbots are all around us. Everybody loves to interact with them because of their speed and accuracy. Thus, adding AI to the mix is a no brainer. These intelligent chatbots are nothing like their more prevalent script-based cousin.
For starters, you won’t have to create multiple variations of full-fledged stories. They use natural language processing (NLP) to comprehend what a user is saying and accordingly frame fitting responses. On top of that, they can connect to and search multiple KBs for finding answers.
This way, chatbots make sure that customers get all the answers within the community. And in case no helpful knowledge is found, they summarize all the acquired information and pass it to a live agent. This ensures that the query is answered, one way or another.
2. Community Helper
As mentioned earlier, community professionals usually have their plates full. They need to spark engagement, monitor & respond to unanswered threads and manage any repetitive queries. Community Helper can help you with that.
It’s an ‘always-on’ bot that closely monitors all the new interactions and responds, whenever necessary. And by that, I don’t mean something on the lines of, “Hi, we have received your query. Someone from our team will get back to you in 24 hours.”
The customers want answers to their queries. And that’s what the bot will provide. Just like the chatbot, it can access your support KBs and frame a perfectly apt response for a question. It can also identify identical posts and merge threads to offer better community experience.
All these things ensure the community managers can focus on value addition and strategy.
Knowledge is power. Without up-to-date & exhaustive KBs, your community can fail. And that’s where the problem lies. Support engineers are focused on troubleshooting, not creating articles. As a result, new resolutions aren’t documented, let alone made accessible to the community members.
KCS methodology suggests making knowledge creation a part of the workflow. But how? An application like Knowbler can help. To accelerate the knowledge creation process, it analyzes the agents’ response to the new issue and converts it into an article on a predefined template.
On top of that, it also provides insights into the consumption and performance of your content. In this way, it ensures every known issue has pertinent information on your community.
AI brings a rather unique set of benefits for the customers. Not only does it improve their experience but also alleviate the community managers of some repetitive tasks that eat into productivity. This helps them make more time on building lasting connections and improving engagement, which is the whole point of having an online community in the first place.
Want to learn more about the amalgamation of AI and community? What are the driving forces spearheading AI adoption and key starting points to consider for early adopters? This panel discussion featuring community veterans like Dave Evans, Mikhail Opletaye, Venessa Paech, and Vishal Sharma explains.