Artificial intelligence (AI) is changing industries in numerous ways. Many business leaders wonder if deploying an AI chatbot for customer service could tackle rising query volumes while giving representatives more time to handle complex needs. Some decision-makers have integrated chatbots in logistics. This approach offers many potential advantages.

Let an AI Chatbot for Customer Service Provide Multilingual Support

Using chatbots in logistics could be an excellent way to assist people speaking various languages. Customers from all over the world may interact with the company, and being able to do so in their native language breaks down communication barriers.

However, finding and hiring professionals with the required language skills takes time.

A customized AI chatbot for customer service could be a suitable alternative, especially as a company prepares to enter new markets.

In one case, a Dubai-based logistics and transportation company selected a four-language chatbot to complement its more than 400 customer service agents. The business uses the tool to automate responses to the most commonly received queries.

People can contact the company through various channels, including email, live chat and WhatsApp. The chosen AI platform allows customer service agents to manage all questions from a single dashboard, regardless of language or communication channel.

Executives invested in this technology after recognizing the company’s customers prefer to get in touch via digital channels. They believed the multilingual chatbot would reinforce a customer-first focus that supported business success.

Generate Actionable Shipping-Related Insights

Some logistics companies provide customers with data-driven decision-making capabilities by embedding chatbot functionality into existing platforms. One product released in 2023 allows people to ask shipping questions and get responses they can compile for analytics and reporting purposes.

The user-friendly interface mimics conversations users might have with colleagues. People can use it as a new way to interact with and make choices about their freight data. Many individuals are getting progressively more familiar with chatbots but don’t necessarily have data science backgrounds. A chatbot-based interface could help customers monitor their freight information faster without needing secondary tools or expertise in other areas.

Business leaders considering using chatbots in logistics should know these tools have downsides. Some only respond with preprogrammed responses added by people associated with the company. Those make it easier to ensure customers only receive on-brand responses. However, there’s a bigger chance of people asking these chatbots questions not within their programming. Getting a response such as, “Sorry, I don’t understand,” could frustrate users.

Conversely, some newer chatbots — typically large-language models that use generative AI — provide near-instantaneous answers on any topic imaginable. The trouble is that some responses are not necessarily accurate despite seeming authoritative. Adding a disclaimer to clarify that is a good protective measure for businesses. Logistics chatbots can be helpful, but they’re not error-free.

Offer 24/7 Instant Status Update

Many people want real-time updates as they track parcels, vessels or shipping containers worldwide. The growing prominence of chatbots in logistics increases the likelihood of people occasionally encountering these tools when requesting status updates.

UPS, DPD and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp. are a few logistics companies that have launched chatbots to help customers get up-to-date details. One of the main selling points is that chatbots can function 24/7, providing customer service outside of business hours.

Most people would rather not spend the time to contact companies by phone and wait on hold to have relatively simple questions answered. That’s why status-provider chatbots are so useful in logistics. These tools typically allow a person to type in details, such as tracking or container numbers, and get responses within a few seconds.

The ideal approach is to give users another contact method to speak to people if needed. Then, if the status update includes unexpected information, customers have a dedicated outlet for determining the cause.

Using an AI chatbot for customer service this way should increase productivity because workers have more time to put toward the questions requiring more research or advice from people in other departments.

One option is to allow chatbot users to connect to representatives without leaving the tool’s window. It’s even better if the company’s team members can see the chatbot’s responses. Following the text string lets them quickly grasp situations and determine the best ways to address them. Customers will appreciate not needing to close the chatbot to get help from humans.

Streamline Last-Mile Delivery

Logistics professionals often assert that last-mile deliveries are among the most challenging supply chain aspects. Even though the parcels are closest to their destinations, delivery drivers must contend with potential obstacles ranging from heavy traffic to customers not accepting parcels upon arrival.

However, the more information recipients have about expected delivery times, the easier it is for them to plan their days and be at homes or businesses when packages come. Alternatively, they can make other arrangements, such as to have the parcels redirected to a neighbor or rescheduled to arrive on a different day.

One Connecticut-headquartered logistics company developed a chatbot that automatically calls customers to inform them of parcels out for delivery. People can track the trucks on Google Maps and get arrival time estimates. Users get second calls to tell them when to expect the vehicles. The tool allows them to cancel deliveries if they will not be home.

Company representatives have rolled out this solution for all delivery routes in Spain and Portugal. They said drivers already make hundreds of deliveries daily, and this chatbot should minimize emissions associated with failed attempts.

The real-time information about en-route deliveries also gives customers more flexibility. Missing a delivery could mean they must alter plans for at least two days instead of only one. Knowing parcels will arrive on particular days within stated time frames lets people adjust their obligations so they can sign for the goods.

How Will You Use Chatbots in Logistics?

Excellent customer service encourages people to become loyal to logistics companies and recommend their friends and colleagues use them. Developing an AI chatbot for customer service is only one possibility for keeping people happy. However, these examples illustrate many compelling use cases. Consider assessing how chatbots could strengthen your business and equip it to meet current and future customer service challenges.

Emily Newton is the Editor-in-Chief of Revolutionized. She regularly covers trends in the industrial sector.