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The Rise of Chatbots: Enhancing Sales Teams in the Digital Era

April 3, 2024

by Vipul Dekhtawala - Vice President – Client Partner - Healthtech

Though technology has long been used to boost seller productivity, many sales leaders have hesitated to adopt new digital solutions due to the perception that they will make their lives more difficult. Even when technology has obvious potential to enhance the sales process, the increasing number of complex systems can create some hesitation about adding another tool to the mix. Despite these concerns, sales professionals have largely remained optimistic about the rise of sales chatbots, which have seen consistent development and integration into digital sales functions for more than two decades. Now with more recent improvements to AI technology, chatbots are more effective and emotionally intelligent than ever, empowering sales teams in new and more meaningful ways.

People have speculated about the potential of AI-powered conversation technology since at least the 1950s when Alan Turing predicted that by the year 2000, computers’ imitation of speech would be intelligent enough that it would fool a human interrogator roughly 70% of the time. While this prediction ended up missing the mark, the development of chatbots and their integration has seen tremendous progress since the creation of the first rule-based chatbot in 1966. Since then, the technology has improved significantly, and as such, AI-powered chatbots are now widespread in our day-to-day lives, not the least of which being integrated into the sales experience.

It should be no surprise that sales chatbots have become so popular in recent years, as they offer a range of benefits for sales professionals and customers alike. For sales teams, chatbots are an effective means of improving lead generation and streamlining mundane tasks, leveraging vast amounts of data, chatbots can rapidly generate leads and automate tasks, freeing up time for human employees to handle more nuanced, sensitive, and complex issues. Meanwhile, as customers increasingly demand personalized support customized to their specific needs, chatbots are proving invaluable: according to recent data, 64% of businesses trust chatbots to provide personalized customer support over regular customer service. Additionally, given that chatbots are effective “always on”, they offer quicker response times and access to instantaneous, 24/7 basic assistance.

For all of the benefits that chatbots bring to the table though, several potential risk factors emerge when AI replaces human actions. The most obvious weakness of AI chatbots is their lack of human touch: while algorithms can “learn” from their experiences with customers, they do not understand the nuances of human interactions the way we do. Chatbots might not understand certain requests, and in the past they have struggled with emotionally charged situations, unable to provide the empathy that many consumers crave. A failure to deploy an appropriately calibrated chatbot with the proper oversight from human employees could be disastrous, resulting in a loss of credibility, brand reputation, and customers.

However, there is a new generation of emotionally intelligent AI on the horizon that can address many of the common failings of modern chatbots. Whereas previously chatbots had been limited to a set of predetermined, hard-coded responses, with Gen AI we can develop bots that can generate answers based on patterns learned from diverse datasets and integrate corrected inputs through reinforcement learning from human feedback (RLHF). As a result, they can better understand context, display empathy, and perceive customer sentiment. None of this means that chatbots could (or should) replace human participants, but this greater degree of humanization does allow for more robust human-AI collaboration, driving results that are beyond what would be possible with one or the other.

At Innova Solutions, we understand that AI is fundamentally about humans building something to help other humans. This new wave of emotionally intelligent chatbots ensures sales teams live up to that standard. Though they cannot replace human actors, chatbots can provide an additional layer of support that helps sales professionals meet the ever-evolving needs of the modern consumer. With our technical experience and support, we can help you take full advantage of the technology, driving the maximum value for customers and sales teams.

We have recently built Gen AI-based cloud-hosted chatbots which are industry agnostic. Chatbots can help in any and almost every vertical segment. Gen AI-based Chatbots empower users to quickly find accurate information with generative search engines. It does not stop at just the boring chat boxes anymore. Today’s smart and intelligent chatbots can render live or pre-recorded YouTube videos, it can provide inputs in voice-to-text format or text-to-voice mode. It even speaks the same language and dialect as the user is speaking. Multi-lingual support, rich text formatting, performing simple actions like clicking on buttons, enabling calling provided phone numbers, etc. the list goes on. More and more interactive chatbots are being built to facilitate both sides of the world. End users or consumers at one side and service-providing customer service representatives or agents at the other side. Both are empowered with powerful and comprehensive information compiled for easy consumption at their fingertips to shorten the time taken to find the same information from hours of effort to milliseconds based on ready throughput.

Innovation is always going to keep humans busy and fascinating, what’s next? Leave your comments on my LinkedIn blog and what are your thoughts in terms of the future of Gen AI-based chatbots and how it has helped you?


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