Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to become a big part of the customer relationship management (CRM) space in the future. Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) estimates that AI-related CRM spending will jump nearly five-fold to $46.3 billion in 2021 from 2016 levels. This is why Salesforce is busy integrating AI features into its services, and its latest addition could help it attack a lucrative niche of the CRM space.
Get ready to talk to a bot
Salesforce's Einstein AI platform has caught the limelight because of its ability to predict sales outcomes based on the data fed into it, but it can now do more thanks to a recent upgrade. It is now capable of taking on customer service chores after the addition of the Einstein Bots for Service feature.
Salesforce clients will now be able to defer routine customer service requests to bots, which will use a mix of machine learning, natural language processing, and customer history to handle them. What's more, in case the bot thinks that human intervention is needed, it can transfer the call to a human customer service associate.
For example, imagine that your credit card is lost and you call the bank for help. An automated bot can collect critical information such as the credit card number and your name and address and pass that to the customer service agent, who can quickly facilitate the process of card replacement.
Now, you might be wondering how this is different from the other bot services out there, as many of us have encountered automated bots when calling customer service numbers. The key difference is that Einstein Bots are already built into the Salesforce service cloud platform, which allows them to seamlessly access the caller's data beforehand without the need for any separate code.
In absence of this functionality, Salesforce customers could have chosen to use other bots from competitors, and that would have required separate coding. But the company has now eliminated such a possibility by offering an integrated solution that will make it easier for customers to deploy bots.
Additionally, Salesforce claims that its customer service bots will get smarter with time as they respond to more requests and get used to the different variations of a particular request. This will help the organization bring down the average handle time (AHT), which is a key metric in call center parlance.
AHT is used to measure the time it takes to arrive at the resolution of a customer's issue. The time spent by the customer service associate talking to the caller, the time the caller is put on hold, and the time taken to resolve the issue is included in this metric, which is then used to measure the call center's performance.
So, Salesforce's latest feature can bring down an organization's AHT, as human customer service agents can take care of the higher priority tasks while bots take care of the routine requests. This could prove to be a crucial selling point for the Einstein Bots for Service feature as it can improve a customer's interaction with an organization thanks to lower wait times and faster resolution. This can lead to increased sales and improved word of mouth.
Salesforce is going after a lucrative market
Salesforce's latest feature could provide a big boost to its Service Cloud business. This segment supplied nearly 30% of the company's sales in the last reported quarter, growing 20% year over year to $651 million on the back of the solid adoption of the Einstein platform's prediction feature. In fact, Einstein was making over a billion AI-driven predictions per day in February this year, and it has been less than two years since it has been on the market.
Salesforce customers will now find greater use for the Einstein AI platform thanks to the new capabilities, helping them stay in sync with the times as AI deployments in the customer service space are gaining traction. A survey estimates that 85% of customer interactions will be taken care of by bots by 2020, which should expand Salesforce's addressable market.
This, however, is not Salesforce's only catalyst as there's another reason why its addressable market will grow. The global customer care service market is expected to enjoy an annual growth rate of over 6% for the next seven years, as per Global Market Insights, hitting a size of $110 billion by 2024.
Moving toward an ambitious target
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff believes that his company can hit $60 billion in revenue by 2034, which is a massive jump from the trailing-twelve-month revenue of $11 billion. AI is going to play a critical role in helping the company achieve this target. So Salesforce is pulling the right strings by deploying AI in multibillion-dollar markets such as customer service that could generate big money for the company thanks to the market's secular growth, as well as the increasing penetration of AI.