4 Types of Chatbots and their Role in Customer Experience

If businesses were previously skeptical about the potential of chatbots in customer service, there is no longer any question about it. The pandemic has pushed businesses to mainstream AI and different types of chatbots for varied objectives. With evasive measures such as cost cuts, chatbots have not just helped businesses stay afloat but also garner the goodwill of customers and ROI.

Whether they were short-staffed or facing an upsurge of customer queries, many companies successfully leveraged AI-driven chatbots to outshine their competitors and deliver consistent, personalized support to their customers. In addition to the current situation, about 80% of service leaders had already mentioned they use AI in CX or plan to do so by 2020.

What are the different types of chatbots in customer service?

Businesses use different types of chatbots depending on the use-cases they are trying to solve. The most common chatbots are support bot, social media bot, agent-assist bot, and RPA bot. Read on to know how they function and help companies meet their performance goals.

types of chatbots

What is a support bot?

A support bot or an answering bot is a chatbot that uses AI and ML to answer customer questions. It can be deployed on a website or embedded inside a mobile app.

Unlike bots that work on a set conversation flow, AI-driven support bots can understand customer intent and alter the workflow based on the type of questions customers ask.

AI support bots
Left: Conventional support bots, Right: AI-driven support bots like Freddy.

Benefits of support bot

– 24/7 real-time assistance: Provides instant, to-the-point answers to customers on the channels of their choice, that lead to resolution and increase in CSAT

– Converse with intent: Goes a step beyond deflection and makes use of the right opportunities to engage with customers using predefined workflows.

– Assist customers with context: Understands the context of each conversation and makes it easy for customers to service their needs without answering too many questions. A good support chatbot will also facilitate agent handover when the conversation goes beyond the scope of a bot. Some even come with an option to speak to a human agent.

What is an agent assist bot?

Agent assist bots are bots that are built to make the daily lives of support agents easy by automating workflows, and providing necessary information whenever required.

Agent assist bots also help support teams pick up cues and keywords from prior customer conversations to plug-in a relevant knowledge base article as an answer.

types of chatbots - agent assist

Benefits of agent assist bot

– Onboarding: Helps in bringing new agents up to speed without having to use a human resource to tediously walk them through the onboarding process.

– Ticket triaging: Automatically classifies incoming tickets and ensures that each ticket reaches the right agent, also recommends ticket properties for new tickets that come in.

– Response suggestions: Help agents with content suggestions to speed up ticket resolution.

– Reduces noise: Replies like ‘Thank you’ and ‘Out-of-office’ do not reopen tickets. Also detects social media posts that require support and automatically create tickets.

What is an RPA bot?

Robotic process automation (RPA) is a form of business process automation and RPA bots execute these commands or processes. RPA bots can be an underlying layer of support, custom, and agent assist bots. The work in the background to automate simple as well as complicated processes and drastically reduce the time spent on executing them.

Benefits of RPA bot

– Scanning incoming tickets: Every incoming ticket gets automatically filtered, categorized, and assigned to the right agent or the support team based on pre-defined rules that you create.

– Workload balancing: RPA bots can ensure that customer queries and tasks are distributed optimally without loading one agent or team with too much work.

– Prioritizing critical events: Backend workflows can be set up to prioritize critical events–like a dissatisfied customer, escalations, or payment issues–that may need urgent attention. 

What is a social media bot?

Chatbots deployed on social media to handle customers are called social media chatbots. They can respond to posts, messages, and also indulge in marketing activities.

Social media bots act as a hassle-free lead magnet as your company doesn’t need to fetch the basic details of customers–as social media forums like Facebook and Twitter are already filled with optimal customer profile information.

Facebook Messenger chatbot

Facebook Messenger has now become a huge channel for business. Installing a bot to your business page is now a quintessential need as customers want a quick-fix to their simpler problems or queries.

Benefits of Facebook Messenger bots

– Offer round the clock support by designing conversation flows that either answer the questions or set realistic expectations about when an agent would respond.
– Allows you to get closer to your customers, filling the gap you leave by making them wait for a response.
– Helps with handling e-commerce transactions and sending timely and personalized messages to customers based on their past interactions.

Twitter bots

Twitter bots are deployed by brands that provide customer assistance on Twitter. They can be designed to respond to direct messages (DMs) and tweets. Since Twitter is now a preferred channel that customers are using to convey their grievances against brands or reaching out for a quick response, it’s imperative that companies adapt to Twitter as one of the primary customer service channels.

Benefits of Twitter bots 

– Offer round the clock support.
– Twitter bots offer “quick replies” that are similar to conversation flows to help customers spell out their issues easily.

The future – Custom bots

What is custom bot?

Custom bots are chatbots that are built to be proactive and change workflows based on customers’ actions. They can be used as an added layer to the 4 regular types of chatbots, to delve deep into customer intent. Custom bots help trigger conversations by analyzing the intent of the users who visit a page or website. The difference between other bots and custom bot is that the latter is more AI and conversion-driven, and can lead the conversation without the customers having to ask a question. Custom bots can be used to schedule meetings, sell products, make customer recommendations, pick up cues from customer activities, and so on.

Benefits of custom bots

– E-commerce: Custom bots can sense cart abandonment and the kind of products that the users are interested in, to give that extra nudge to the buyer.

– Take over from regular bots: The custom bots can take over the chat from a support or social media bot if the conversation demands a different workflow based on the customer intent.

How to select the right chatbot solution for your support team

Must-have functionalities in all types of chatbots:

#1 Multichannel integration – Customer expect quick and contextual responses no matter which channel they use for support. Multichannel integration helps deploy the bot on all major customer channels and provide a consistent experience across touchpoints.

#2 No-code workflow builder – Agents shouldn’t have to go through complexities in designing conversations seeing how the point is to simplify their jobs. A no-code workflow builder will help easily build bot workflows that serve as a self-serve module (for agents as well as customers). 

#3 Machine learning – Customer service is a never-ending learning process, especially when it comes to understanding the evolving customer preferences. With machine learning capabilities, your chatbot will have the ability to learn, adapt constantly, and improve your bot responses using customer and agent feedback.

#4 Integrations with other solutions – Deploying a chatbot shouldn’t strain your existing customer service setup or force a change when it’s working well. Flexibility to connect multiple internal and external systems into the chatbot is a requirement that can’t be compromised.

#5 Reporting and analytics – To improve the bot’s performance and also the existing customer service processes in your organization, robust reporting and analytics is an important functionality. Look out for actionable insights, a comprehensive dashboard, and detailed reports from your bot platform.

#6 Multilingual capabilities – If scaling your support to multiple geographies is one of your company’s priorities, opt for a chatbot that offers multilingual support out of the box. You should be able to provide assistance in multiple languages without the need for plug-ins or APIs.

#7 Customization – Branding and familiarity are important aspects of customer experience. Chatbot customization will give a sense of belonging to your customers, that it’s your brand that they are talking to. For instance, you can make the bot pop-up or window match the brand tone in terms of colors, templates, and conversation style.

#8 Security – Security is often non discussed enough while evaluating bots and it’s more important than ever in this digital-first world. Get a chatbot with enterprise-grade security features and comprehensive audits of networks, systems, and regulatory compliances.

#9 For agent-facing bots, make sure functionalities for integration with API connectors to enable process automation and integration with RPA platform providers (or comes with an in-built RPA module) are available.

#10 For customer-facing bots, evaluate if the chatbot facilitates a graceful agent handover.

Adapt to the rising customer expectations with Freddy AI

Repeat customers are nurtured especially when brands keep up their customer service and experience even during difficult circumstances. It affects customers’ perception of companies and earns the much-needed trust and loyalty that separates conventional brands from customer champions. 

Some of our customers adapted to the rising demands by deploying Freddy over their existing customer service setup to win customers for life!

ShipTime, a shipping solution provider, is a Freshdesk customer that leveraged AI and chatbots (Freshbots) to maintain a great customer service experience during the pandemic. In addition to live chat, they deployed support bots to answer common customer queries while the agents could concentrate on more important issues that may need human intervention. Read the full story here.