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How customer support bots help your agents deliver a better customer experience
If you manage a customer contact centre, keeping customers happy is your business. Customer support bots can help deliver a better customer experience
If you manage a customer contact centre, keeping customers happy is your business. This means giving them a streamlined experience wherever possible, minimising wait times, answering their questions with clarity and honesty, providing them with simple solutions, and doing whatever is needed to prevent the situation from escalating into something bigger - or harder to resolve.
Your customer contact centre is a key element of the overall customer experience. While there will always be customers who call with general enquiries, it's worth noting that many customer service interactions will be related to grievances and complaints. In these instances, the customer is already in the throes of having a poor experience with your business. What you do next, therefore, becomes incredibly important. By maintaining a well-oiled and efficient customer contact centre, you have the chance to smooth out and rectify any potential problems in a way that satisfies both your customer and the operational needs of your business.
For maximum impact, your customer service agents should spend the majority of their time working through more complex issues with such customers. For everyone else, there are customer support bots…
What is a customer support bot?
A customer support bot is a chatbot that uses a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning to guide customers through finding the answers to their most pressing and urgent questions. Often living on brand websites, messaging apps, or on social media messaging platforms, they tend to be pre-programmed with a wide variety of existing information and resources, ensuring that they can answer your customers' questions with minimal intervention. They do this by recognising the language and questions used by customers, whether by multiple-choice decision-tree style chatbots, voice command or by simply looking out for commonly-used phrases in the customer’s typed messages. They get this information from resources like the FAQs section of your website and have no problem identifying the same question asked in various forms.
You should think about adding a chatbot feature to your website if you:
Have a global audience of customers who speak many languages.
Offer support to your customers through multiple channels, say on your website, app, or across social media platforms.
Find it impractical to have your customer support team available to customers 24-hours a day.
Need to cut the level of transactional interactions your customer support team have with customers and save costs overall.
Reducing reliance on the telephone which can be cumbersome and expensive to manage, chatbots can bring value to many areas of your approach to customer service.
How do chatbots help customers?
It's important to note that customer support bots aren’t just a sign of companies moving with the times as the world goes digital. The truth is that the telephone is no longer fit for purpose. Traditional customer service methods like talking on the phone are fantastic for providing customers with reassurance and a personal, but they fall short when it comes to the overall customer experience. Customer support bots help customers in the following ways:
How many times have you been put off speaking to a customer service operative because of long queue times? In the UK, it’s estimated that call centres experience a 12% abandonment rate, in part, due to long wait times. This seems to indicate that giving your customers somewhere they can get instant responses is key to keeping them happy and engaged.
Do customers mind dealing with a customer service bot? While, of course, this will depend on the nature of their enquiry, so long as their questions are answered correctly, many feel that it doesn't really matter where the answers come from. According to research, 40% of consumers say they no longer care whether they are dealing with a human being or a chatbot, so long as they get what they need. This ensures that your customers simultaneously receive service and are actively engaged with your brand – even when a human isn’t available.
Streamline the customer journey
Chatbots can automate a variety of functions within your customer service journey and make for a better customer experience (CX) overall. Artificial Intelligence (AI) gives you the opportunity to engage your customer at various touchpoints in their journey, anticipating their needs and signposting them to the support they need. They will usually be set up with a comprehensive knowledge base, meaning that while they may find it more challenging to answer questions on a case-by-case basis, they will have no problem guiding your customer through more general enquiries. If there comes the point where the bot can no longer give the customer what they need, the bot can pass them seamlessly onto your live chat function, messaging app, or even get someone to call them.
It sounds strange, but when you get it right, chatbots can actually help humanise your organisation - helping those who need it without taking too much time out of their day.
How do customer support bots help businesses?
By dramatically reducing the number of support enquiries that need to be handled by agents, customer support bots greatly improve the overall productivity of your contact centre. But they also work hard, helping your customers feel more connected to your business overall. Here’s what chatbots can do for your business:
Improve accessibility to your business
Today's customer support bots can have a presence across every channel that’s important to your organisation – whether that’s your website, messaging app or social media platforms. Customers can interact with you in a way that’s convenient and preferable for them.
Take on a bigger workload than humans
Bots don’t need sleep, and they are never in a rush, meaning you can feel confident that your business is always available to help your customers - even outside of your regular business hours. This can also help lessen the flow of traffic to your customer contact centre between 9-5, and can be invaluable during peak season and times when your team might be thin on the ground, like the Christmas holidays, for example.
Scale and grow alongside your business
Because they can handle a virtually infinite number of conversations at once, chatbots are also highly scalable, meaning that they can shift, flex and grow in line with your customer support centre, as well as your business at large.
Tell you what your customers are thinking
With a simple 5-star or “smiley face” rating system, they can also collect feedback from customers in real-time at the end of each interaction, helping you hone and streamline your customer service offering in the long and short term.
Provide a cost-effective solution to multiple challenges
Best of all, because they are able to automate so much, chatbots also help keep costs low, reducing reliance on the telephone which can be impractical and expensive to manage.
Which are the best chatbots?
So, what does a great chatbot look like?
AI can be used to categorise the issue by type and the level of urgency, sending it on to the correct person or department. It can help decide which customers need to be dealt with first and help customers schedule further interactions with your agents at their own convenience.
It’s all about offering a hybrid approach, blending AI, live chat, and other mediums as required by the customer. The best chatbot is the one that perfectly fits the flow of your business in a way that works for you and your customers. Design, style and type might vary, but the quality of customer outcomes should always be the same. Don’t think that you have to spend a huge amount of money either. With low-code and no-code chatbots, you have the power to create, adjust and scale your chatbot's capabilities without relying on developers. This means that great chatbots are accessible to more businesses than ever before.