In the early 1960s, we were introduced to a gleaming paradise of flying cars and jetpacks on the Jetsons, a cartoon promising a luxurious utopian future provided by technology. While our flying cars might not have arrived yet, artificial intelligence (AI) has found a place in many homes across the globe and has become part of our daily routines. Even our social media platforms, which generate a never-ending supply of user generate data, are benefiting from AI to help brands better understand and target their customers. It’s unlikely that Rosie the robot housekeeper will be showing up at your home anytime soon, but you are likely to cross paths with a form of AI through your daily social media interactions. So, what does the future of social media look like with AI?
Social media is already utilizing AI through platforms such as Facebook Messenger and is deciphering data for LinkedIn and Twitter. AI also helps facilitate consumer requests utilizing chatbots and is becoming increasingly intelligent, thus making social interactions more seamless. However, in a recent survey conduct by Startek, only a small percentage of consumers (5 percent) actually want to interact with chatbots or AI software instead of humans. For those who have interacted with chatbots in the past, 85 percent were somewhat to very satisfied with the interaction (see Figure 1) and 85 percent were also somewhat likely or very likely to use them again in the future (see Figure 2). Clearly for a small percentage of consumers, chatbots and AI software deliver the self-service experience they are looking for, particularly when the issue is simple and straightforward. For more complex issues, consumers still want to interact with a human who cares about them.
Figure 1: Survey question: Thinking about your most recent customer service contact experience when you interacted with a chatbot, how satisfied were you with the assistance provided specifically by the chatbot? Base: 65 (all using chatbot)
Figure 2: Survey question: Thinking about your most recent customer service contact experience when you interacted with a chatbot, how likely would you be to desire to interact with a chatbot in the future in order to resolve a customer service issue? Base: 65 (all using a chatbot)
It is estimated that close to 3 billion users around the globe use a social media platform. As you can imagine, that’s an overwhelming amount of data for a human to sift through. However, using AI, companies can monitor millions of algorithms and quickly determine patterns and topics that are most relevant to their consumers. Image recognition software through AI can also quickly shift through millions of images to provide brands with meaningful information about their consumers’ online behaviors. Using such information, brands are now able to initiate personalized promotions to targeted consumers and social influencers at specific times based on their profiles. This is a game changer in the world of social media where millions of tweets, hashtags, posts, and images swarm the web daily. The days of utilizing only human based social media are diminishing.
We recently asked our social media expert, Roger Huff, Director of Digital and Social Media at Startek, about the transformation of social media through artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots when it comes to interacting with consumers. Here’s what he said:
“The most important things for brands to consider when implementing AI on social media are transparency, simplicity, and live specialist availability. Customers hate it when brands aren’t authentic. If your brand is utilizing AI for customer engagement, make sure you are upfront with them, so they know they are speaking with a chatbot. Customer complaints will rise if your bot is not easily distinguishable as an AI presence, especially when a conversation comes to a halt when the bot can no longer help, and a live specialist engagement is needed. Once AI technology has determined it can’t answer the customer’s inquiry, your brand should be prepared to hand the conversation over to a live support specialist as quickly and seamlessly as possible.”
Artificial intelligence in social media is gaining speed. At Startek, we believe human interaction will never completely be replaced by AI in conversations between brands and customers; however, there seems to be a strong bond forming between the two. One thing is certain, AI is here to stay.
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