You’ve heard your customers’ complaints. For anyone who has waited endlessly on-hold for a Customer Service Rep, or emailed a question into the Customer Support “abyss”, it’s clear that there is a lot of room for improvement in customer service.
Don’t worry. Change is here.
For businesses, today’s customer service challenge is how to move routine and easily answered questions through the system quickly – minimizing time and maximizing customer satisfaction, while at the same time allocating resources to more complicated problems. Ultimately, a happy customer is a returning customer.
PROVIDING SUPERIOR CUSTOMER SERVICE IS KEY TO YOUR COMPANY’S SUCCESS
A Harvard Business Review study quantified the effects of good customer service and found that in transaction-based industries “customers who had the best past experience spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.”
That’s a significant difference.
ENTER THE CONVERSATIONAL CHATBOT
Chatbots (and Einstein Bots) are software-generated messaging tools that support conversational commerce, enabling your customers to interact with your systems as though they were working with a person, without tying up valuable human capital. Imagine an agent who can work 24/7 fielding questions, gathering leads, and creating cases to be addressed when your human agents are available – without being paid.
Your customers can ask the chatbot a direct question rather than having to navigate a series of potentially frustrating Help toolbars or waiting on hold. Think of the last time you spent more than a couple of minutes trying to find an answer on a standard website. How much easier would it have been if you could just ask, in your own words, for directions? Or, as a service company you may rely on your website to generate leads by having visitors sign up for a demo or fill out a contact sheet. Until they do, you can’t address any questions or concerns they may have. A chatbot can open up an initial dialog and answer preliminary questions making It more likely that a visitor to your site will take the next step.
Imagine the possibilities for your business.
TIPS FOR BUILDING THE BEST CONVERSATIONAL CHATBOT
All chatbots are not created equal. Consider the following when building a chatbot to augment your CRM systems, optimize service outcomes, build customer loyalty and decrease costs:
- The mission of your bot is critical. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your chatbot, define the bot’s role clearly from the start. What tasks do you need it to do? How will it support your customer service needs? This, in turn, will define what data it needs to access for maximum effectiveness, and when an issue should be transferred to a human agent.
- Your chatbot needs to understand the way your human customers talk. Many chatbots are designed to use simple “rules” to guide their responses, limiting their scope to basic cause and effect issues. So, look for a chatbot developer with AI (artificial intelligence) capabilities that can leverage Natural Language processing. This will enable your chatbot to recognize human speech patterns and carry on an actual conversation with your customers.
- The NLP platform your Conversational bot is built on matters. Chatbots “learn” by analyzing data, so the better your platform, AI interface, and data capacity, the better your chatbot will understand your customers’ history with your company and personalize the conversation.
- If a question asked by a customer is beyond the chatbot’s capability, you should integrate an easy and seamless transfer to a human service agent – this becomes the bridge to a positive customer service experience for more complex situations.
- Finally, the potential of AI, data, and technology to improve your brand and customer service outcomes is immense, but it requires expertise to implement for maximum ROI. Finding a trusted advisor to help you navigate the process will make all the difference. Look for advisors who understand the potential of chatbots, have AI experience, use Natural Language processing and are conversant with your CRM platform and services.
WHEN THINKING ABOUT INVESTING IN CHATBOTS, REMEMBER THE COST OF AN UNHAPPY CUSTOMER IS SIGNIFICANT
The same Harvard Business Review study addresses implementation costs when it reports that, “unhappy customers are expensive… Systematically solve the source of dissatisfaction, you don’t just make them more likely to return – you reduce the amount they cost you to serve.”
When considering investing in chatbots, balance their cost with their potential to positively affect your bottom line.
CHATBOTS SHOULD AUGMENT RATHER THAN REPLACE CUSTOMER SERVICE REPS
As Ross Goodwin, a data scientist specializing in AI, put it in a piece for NBC News, “It might sound like AI puts all human jobs on the chopping block, but the story of technology is one of augmentation, not replacement.” If a chatbot can answer routine questions, direct customers to the information they need more quickly, and perform straightforward transactional tasks such as processing returns, they free up human capital for your more complicated customer service issues.
TIME FOR YOU TO JUMP ON BOARD THE CHATBOT TRAIN?
Chatbots combined with the power of AI are changing how we do business and serve our customers. Your customers’ days of sitting on hold are coming to an end.
Want to read more about chatbots? Here are some resources you’ll find interesting.
- How Chatbots Will Transform Customer Experience: An Infographic; Blake Morgan, Forbes.com, 3.10.17.
- Ten Customer Service And Customer Experience Trends For 2017; Shep Hyken, Forbes.com, 1.7.17.
- Inside chatbots’ year of growing pains: ‘We’re at an inflection point’; Tim Peterson, Marketing Land Sections, 3.28.17.