In the past years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on different industries has gotten a lot of attention. One of the most widely discussed topics has been the use of AI in the customer support segment. Some experts have predicted that by 2020, 85% of customer service interactions will be handled without the need for human agents thanks to developments in AI and automation. But what are the benefits of adopting AI assistance in the iGaming industry, and is there a hidden downside?
The iGaming industry continues to be extremely competitive and the barriers to entry inch higher and higher. The balance of power has swung over towards the game providers, meaning that operators must now compete on the finer details of their offerings, such as the types of campaign they offer, the ease of basic functions like payments and registration, and -- critically -- the customer experience. Regardless of the industry customers like to feel valued and respected and the willingness to wait has decreased as technology drives everything around us to act and respond faster. Customer support is a front-line operation with its KPIs heavily dependent on speed of response to a customer, and the customer's review.
Diversification is also a key element of iGaming today. While some operators do attempt to carve out a niche for themselves, restricting yourself to a single ecosystem is a risky proposition. A typical online casino needs to operate in regulated and regulating markets and needs to be aware of what can and cannot be offered. The need to operate across many countries requires content localisation into many languages, and licence restrictions can mean that certain languages are either a must-have or a no-go. And for any language that an operator offers, there is an expectation on the customer side of being able to obtain customer support in that language.
In this industry, customer support is the one thing that differentiates one company from another. However running a great customer support operation in the iGaming sector doesn’t come without its challenges.
When looking at the customer support segment, there’s currently almost full employment in the labor market. From a support operation perspective, it’s increasingly hard to hire qualified support reps and the costs are on the rise. Due to the players’ expectations of getting support in their native languages, companies have to hire agents capable of handling multiple languages or risk losing customers to competitors. More than ever, companies are struggling with hiring and retaining the right talent, while the expectations from the players and level of competition have never been higher.
This in turn leads to operators looking for better solutions that would help retain and increase the service quality. Thankfully the developments in AI and machine learning are offering some solutions.
AI in customer support today is smart enough to help with predictable support queries at scale. It’s not very good at handling complex support issues which should still be handled by human agents. Making sure that AI and human teams work well together is critical to success, and the intersection of the two needs to be designed with that in mind from the beginning.
Did you know, that with ChatCreate you can start automating repetitive support chats immediately without any complex developments or implementations. You can try it out for yourself by signing up for a free trial account here.
Here’s why the iGaming industry is perfectly placed to take advantage of AI in customer support:
- Customer support systems for most operators are fairly advanced already. Most of the companies utilise a complex support and ticketing system that includes live chat, email ticketing, comprehensive knowledge bases and so on. Adding a layer of AI on top of well established systems is fairly easy and doesn’t require costly initial outlay and broad training programs.
- Thanks to good technical infrastructure, most of the companies have proper systems in place for tracking and measuring what’s going on in their support. Having good base data of where the support bottlenecks lie is crucial to the introduction of AI and automation elements into a company’s customer support operations. iGaming companies are in a great place to do that.
- Predictable support issues at high volumes. Most iGaming companies deal with repetitive support requests like “When is my withdrawal going to be processed?”, “Can I get a bonus?”, “When will my account be verified” and so on. Handling the first level of support for these types of issues is very simple with AI and even a 10-20% reduction in chats that reach a human support agent can mean hundreds or thousands of human labour hours saved from the business side, while having delivered those answers to players immediately, means a lot of customers who have been acquired or retained.
Here are 4 challenges that AI in customer support is helping iGaming companies alleviate and how to take advantage of that.
In the space where communication speed is everything, AI chatbots really help iGaming companies deliver instant responses for customers. When it’s so easy for a player to switch from one brand to another, getting answers to their concerns instantly can mean the difference between gaining or losing a customer. One of the main customer concerns when they’re signing up is “when will my account verification be processed”. In most cases, this can be answered and the customer’s concern taken care of with a simple standard answer. Using an AI chatbot it’s fairly easy to handle a question like that. If the user has harder additional questions, the conversation can be handed over to a human agent instantly.
This leads to the next crucial application of AI:
Helping human agents with their workload.
It’s not unusual that a human support agent is juggling 20-30 chats at a time. In one chat they might have a customer who is spending tens of thousands per month with the brand, while in several other chats there are users who are hungry for bonuses or have simple questions. Of course, ideally support agents treat each request with the same level of care and attention, but when you have a finite number of agents and chat volumes increase and decrease like waves on an ocean, there will be times when there are more chats than agents to handle them. This leads to a situation where agents might get sloppy, not fully answer the players’ questions, get rude and in the long term get more and more frustrated with their job. Brands using an AI chatbot can help the situation greatly here by having an AI chatbot take care of simple questions like “can I get a bonus” or “when will my withdrawal be processed” so agents can focus on customers with trickier problems.
Helping with Problem gamblers
With the tightening regulations it’s increasingly important for companies to identify and handle players showing gambling addiction behaviours. On top of behavioural analytics, one key identifier is the way those players express themselves in the customer support conversations. AI and natural language processing can be a big help here by being able to recognise emotional language/rudeness and other “red flags” that come up when problem players reach out to customer support.
Multi language and 24/7:
You can easily train an AI chatbot to be able to understand and respond to common queries in multiple languages and do that 24/7. Normally you’d have to hire people for multiple languages and shifts. Using an AI chatbot we often see a 20-30% reduction in the incoming chat workload for human agents. This means that you can have fewer agents per shift, leading to great cost reductions. Subsequently, in the current labor market with high employee turnover and rising salaries, introducing AI automations in customer support reduces the risks and costs associated with employee turnover and growth challenges since AI scales pretty much indefinitely.
How to start taking advantage of AI for your support team?
The level of AI that can be implemented in their support infrastructure varies greatly. However, it’s fairly easy to actually get started and set up with a first level support bot. We’ve seen that most iGaming companies who lack previous experience with chatbots would like to test things out before committing to large-scale implementations. With software like ChatCreate, any support manager can setup their own smart customer support bot within a matter of minutes and connect to their existing support infrastructure. In fact, ChatCreate even helps identify automatically the support chats that it can take over from human agents.
Today, we’re nowhere near having full automation with AI in the customer support sector, however the technology is now advanced enough that it can greatly help with a number of support functions from handling first level support queries to alleviating challenges related to managing a great customer support team.
If you're going to be at Sigma in Malta between November 27-29, 2019. Come find ChatCreate at the iMovo stand BR 99-102 or book your meeting with our team at Sigma here.
About the author:
Juhan is one of the co-founders of ChatCreate. ChatCreate is a simple conversation automation tool for customer support teams in the iGaming sector. With ChatCreate, any customer support manager can set up their own smart support bot to respond to common queries and get instant out of the box integration into their existing support systems. To read more about ChatCreate visit www.chatcreate.com or you can get in touch to learn more about how ChatCreate can help your support team.