Alibaba launches AI-powered smart customer service chatbot
Alibaba has launched a smart customer service chatbot powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that retailers can customize to suit their individual virtual-storefront operations. Dubbed ‘Dian Xiaomi’ (“store assistant”), the text-only chatbot was inspired by the Ali Xiaomi AI-powered chatbot rolled out by Alibaba in 2015 to handle customer enquiries and complaints coming into the e-commerce company.
The Dian Xiaomi chatbot can quickly scale to match incoming message volumes. In addition, the bot pris designedomises to reduce training and other call-center costs.
The product was beta-launched during last year’s Alibaba 11.11 Global Shopping Festival to help nine brands, including Apple, Xiaomi, Huawei Honor, Vivo, Semir and Nike, to serve some one million customers. Using the technology, China’s smart phone maker Xiaomi during the 24-hour online sale cut its customer service staff by 300 from 1,000 the previous year while handling the same volume of traffic. Chinese apparel brand Semir, which started using Dian Xiaomi at night but now also runs it during the day, says more than 60 percent of customer enquiries are assigned to the smart customer service.
Built with natural-language processing and AI deep-learning technologies, Dian Xiaomi can answer product-related questions, make personalized product recommendations based on individual customer data, offer promotion and discount information, revise order information and handle returns and refunds.
According to Alibaba, through AI, the chatbot can “learn” to improve its responses by using algorithms to interpret millions of customer-service interactions. The bot is capable of understanding context and can converse naturally. In addition to text messages, Dian Xiaomi is also able to respond to questions with images, such as product photos and emojis, to add depth to its answers. It can also make customer-specific recommendations for shoe and clothing sizes and answer technical questions about consumer electronics, such as the data-storage capacity of particular smartphone models.
Merchants can customize Dian Xiaomi by building on the bot’s already extensive product and customer knowledge base, adding information on their own stores, products and promotions. Merchants can adjust the workload allocated between the chatbot and customer-service staff according the time of day to optimize efficiency. Questions that cannot be settled by Dian Xiaomi are automatically routed to human staff.
Alibaba currently offers the service free of charge. The company said retailers can roll out Dian Xiaomi via Qianniu, Alibaba’s store management software for Taobao and Tmall retailers.