From self-driving trucks to chess champions, artificial intelligence (AI) – the science of computer applications that can consider, reason and react – is growing rapidly and jolting every field it touches.
So it's no surprise that the technology also is revolutionizing the way we behave as consumers, According to one report from Gartner, AI bots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by the year 2020, and companies are quickly adapting to this new environment.
A perfect example of a task AI is standing on its head? Online appointment scheduling. Case in point: cosmetic mega-retailer Sephora, which recently adopted Facebook Messenger to allow customers to book in-store appointments, is harnessing AI chatbots to automate the process.
Ready to hand off your calendar to a crew of hungry bots? Well hold your horses, because AI and online scheduling are still in the wild west phase. First, let’s explore the nuances behind AI and how it currently pairs with online scheduling to determine whether or not it’s truly the future of appointment booking.
WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
To gain value from AI is to first understand what it is. The late John McCarthy, Professor at Stanford, explains it well:
“[Artificial intelligence] is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines, especially intelligent computer programs,” McCarthy stated. “Intelligence is the ability to achieve goals in the world. Varying kinds and degrees of intelligence occur in people, many animals and some machines.”
Accenture surveyed 26,000 consumers in 26 countries, and reported that:
- 52% of those consumers interacted through AI-powered live chats or mobile apps on a monthly basis, and
- 85% of those consumers felt it’s easier to get in touch with AI.
In its current state, the most widespread use of AI today is to perform tasks. Many consumers use AI technology to help with daily errands (good examples are the use of Apple’s Siri or Google Maps). And as our lives have become burdened with more responsibilities, we increasingly rely upon the technology as an essential tool for efficiently managing our overloaded schedules.
AI AND ONLINE APPOINTMENT SCHEDULING: THE PERFECT PAIR
One activity that AI has significantly supported is the scheduling of appointments online. Online scheduling is a web-based application that allows users to conveniently book appointments by saving them time and money. As more consumers demand self-service options, they’ve embraced online scheduling software as a tool that offers them to the opportunity book their own reservations.
You can boost your organization’s appointment booking agent with AI to both enhance your customer experience and boost staff productivity. For example, integrating a chatbot with Facebook Messenger on your business page enables an automated, conversational interface with your customers. The chatbot can communicate with your clients about where and when they’d like book an appointment, then set up the appointment, and even send a confirmation email.
What’s more, an exciting capability of using AI in scheduling is its ability to adapt to any situation. No-shows and rescheduling are a pain for your administrators. AI is quick to foresee these problems and automatically arrange and suggest new appointments instantly and effectively.
The development of artificial intelligence has led to an explosion of new technology that is changing the way consumers organize their everyday lives. With today’s capability to pair AI with online scheduling, the ability to automate administrative tasks while enhancing the customer experience has skyrocketed.
Does AI does completely remove the human element from scheduling? Absolutely not. In-depth nurturing of clients throughout the life of the scheduling experience is still something best left to those with a heartbeat. The future of artificial intelligence lies in enhancing the consistency and proficiency of the online scheduling experience. And that’s something that benefits both consumers and administrators alike.