Chatbots are changing the way brands interact with their customers. Chatbots can help accelerate response time and plug gaps in customer service agent skills and availability. While a number of organizations have invested in virtual customer assistants or chatbots for customer service, there is still an element of confusion about their value and a reluctance to adopt this new technology.
To make sure we are all on the same page - a chatbot is a software that uses a live chat interface to converse with humans on either a brand’s website or app or via platforms like Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and so on. The are multiple levels of this technology from basic chatbots that scan keywords in an inquiry to deliver pre-determined answers to chatbots powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning.
These sophisticated chatbots offer more flexibility when the customer doesn’t necessarily speak the exact message they’ve been programmed to respond to. Higher level chatbots actively learn from the conversations they have with customers. Benefits for companies utilizing chatbots include reduced staffing costs and enhanced customer experience.
So, how are chatbots best used? We’ll take a look at three general ways companies can use chatbots to enhance their customer service offerings and improve user experience. Then we’ll dig a little deeper and investigate ways in which your brand’s customer service team can benefit from the use of chatbots.
1. Direct Transactional Contact
This form of the chatbot was how we were first introduced to the technology. Their function primarily focuses on customers. These bots are an efficient and cost-effective addition to a brand’s self-service resources. They save live agent time while improving the first contact with customers. These bots are integrated directly into the core of your customer service solutions.
2. A Resource to Help Prioritize Service Needs
It helps to think of chatbots as a chat version of integrated voice response systems. They act as smart connectors, transferring more involved customer conversations to human agents. By first collecting relevant information a live agent may require to address a customer’s needs, chatbots bridge the digital and human worlds, helping brands provide a high level of customer satisfaction from beginning to end.
3. Dedicated Virtual Personal Assistants
Customer service agents can improve their interactions with customers by utilizing chatbots as virtual personal assistants. This type of chatbot makes the most of artificial intelligence learning from various parts of the organization to give live agents real-time information, suggested solutions, and so on. AI technology teaches the bots based on transcribed voice conversations and the searchable data they yield. These personal assistant bots will help human agents deliver exceptional customer service quickly and accurately as the bots work behind the scenes during a customer experience.
Additional Ways Chatbots Can Improve Your Customer Experience
Seamless Integration and Use
Most chatbots can be seamlessly integrated into a brand’s website or apps meaning that customers do not have to go through the trouble of finding a company’s online resources to get the answers they seek. In addition, using messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, customers can talk to your brand without leaving the app that they are in at the time.
Customers require no training in order to effectively use chatbots because they can engage with the technology in the same way they would interact via chat with a live customer service agent. The advanced natural language processing methods used by many chatbots enables them to analyze a customer’s question and deliver a timely and appropriate response. This allows chatbots to meet customers’ needs as well as if not better than their human counterparts would.
Customer Service Available 24/7/356
Many consumers save their online surfing and shopping for what most would consider after hours. Let’s face it, we all know those people who think three in the morning is an excellent time to shop! That being said, staffing human customer service agents 24/7/356 would be a costly endeavor.
Consumers who have to wait for a voicemail or email response to a question will most likely move on to another brand’s website. Chatbots offer an economically sound way to provide customers answers to their questions at any time, day or night. And even better still, high-quality chatbots offer the feel of a live conversation as well.
Patience to Handle Endless Queries
Chatbots are designed to simulate human intelligence but, fortunately, not the emotional aspects of being human. These systems have been built to handle dull, repetitive tasks that might, in some cases, lead to frustration for a human customer service agent. The goal of a chatbot is to satisfy customers’ needs, not to create a perfect simulation of a human to human conversation. An effective chatbot takes actions that maximize its ability toward achieving that particular goal.
A Smooth Process with Fewer Stress Points
Overseas operators and automated telephone menus have added to the general population’s dislike of some current methods of handling customer support inquiries. A survey by the chatbot developer Helpshift found that over 90 percent of responders “dread” contacting customer support.
To ease your customers’ purchasing journey, chatbots can pop up on any of your site’s product pages to offer additional information about the item being considered. Chatbots can also help decrease cart abandonment rates by assisting customers with the submission of their personal information, payment information, and shipping preferences.
Helpshift’s survey also found that a majority of respondents would prefer to interact with chatbots to accomplish these tasks instead of filling out a lengthy form. In addition, chatbots can be used to streamline the entire customer service process by reducing the time it takes to reach a live customer service representative as well as reduce the overall time needed to resolve customer issues.
Technology with a Brand Personality
Advances in the technology behind chatbots allow for more flexibility in their creation and better enable them to be programmed with different conversational styles. Bots can be friendly and helpful, technical and exact, or funny and sassy. By projecting the personality of your brand, your chatbots will encourage customer engagement and re-engagement with your brand.
Chatbots are no longer a thing of the future. They are here, ever developing, and allowing companies to better engage with their customers in new ways. Most importantly, chatbots are enabling brands to more efficiently meet goals and provide higher levels of customer experience and satisfaction. When a consumer leaves an interaction with a chatbot that has quickly and efficiently met their needs, answered their questions, and helped them through the purchasing journey, a loyal customer is created.
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing understand how overwhelming the technology options can be for both novice and experienced companies. We’d love to learn more about your brand, your goals, your immediate and long-term needs, and help you reach the next level, technology included. Contact us today to get started.