How Chatbots Improve Customer Experience
What a customer takes home from a brand is the experience it provides. Gartner proved that customer experience is a game-changer for brands. In fact, 81% of companies1 expect to compete on the basis of customer experience in 2019. This head-on competition is driving brands to strengthen their customer experience strategies.
Regardless of your service, product, size of business or industry, customer experience has proven to be a key differentiating point for companies around the world.
– Michel Falcon, Customer Experience Advisor and Keynote Speaker
What can your brand add to your existing strategy to up your game?
While there are a bunch of things you can do, chatbots are a must have in your customer experience strategy. In this article, we discuss how it can positively impact your customer’s journey.
What’s a Chatbot and Why Should You Use One?
By definition, a chatbot is an artificial intelligence (AI) software that can simulate a conversation (or chat) with a user.
With technology improving by the day, traditional methods of engaging customers are also advancing. Industries like banking, entertainment, healthcare, news, fashion and more have adopted chatbots. Going by research — 85% of all customer interactions will be conducted without humans by 20202. Everyone is headed towards using chatbots as the mode of communication. A chatbot is one of the key differentiators for brands that provide good customer experience versus the rest.
Brands like Sephora, H&M, Duolingo etc., use chatbots to offer their services.
The H&M chatbot does the job of a personal stylist.
At the end of an interactive conversation, the bot recommends an outfit based on the customer’s taste.
In the banking industry, Bank of America launched its digital assistant ‘Erica’. Apart from making payments and checking balance, Erica also educates and helps customers save money.
Here’s How Your Brand Can Improve Customer Experience With Chatbots:
#1 Play Assistants to Support Agents
A study conducted by PwC revealed nearly 80% of American consumers feel that speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service are the most important elements of a positive customer experience3.
Chatbots make it easy for customers to get answers on-the-fly. With chatbots, customers no longer have to:
– Sit through an automated telephony system to get help with basic questions
– Converse through back and forth emails
– Raise issues on social media
They can get help instantly.
Along with reducing the first response time, chatbots also help in bringing down the resolution time which is an important metric in customer support.
While resolving a customer’s issue:
– 33% of an agent’s time is spent on understanding the nature of the inquiry and,
– 25% in pulling relevant customer information
Chatbots play great assistants to support agents by deflecting basic questions. Freshdesk’s chatbot powered by “Freddy AI” recorded a 25% fall in L1 questions (basic questions that do not require troubleshooting or analysis) within a year.
With chatbots, brands can scale to extend their support round-the-clock without necessarily employing staff who might have to work day and night. For businesses that have a global customer base, chatbots are a boon. The support needs of customers across the world can be catered to, irrespective of the time zone.
Pro tip: There are complex questions that a chatbot cannot answer. In such instances, allow for a graceful failover to a support agent.
#2 Lend a Helping Hand to Reach Milestones
Customer experience comes down to enhancing the interaction at the various touchpoints in a customer’s journey. Given that most interactions today occur in a digital environment, assisting customers throughout the journey and at all digital touchpoints is important. Here are two touch points where chatbots have the most impact:
During awareness: A customer visiting a website for the first time might find it difficult to navigate around. Chatbots act like site-specific search bars — provide educative information, relevant knowledge base articles, etc. Along with answering basic questions, chatbots also supply nuggets of information that piques a customer’s interest. For example, chatbots can go through a customer’s purchase history to provide USPs that match their previous searches. AI-assisted insights are sure to leave customers wowed.
During evaluation: The LogMeIn Customer Experience Report4 proved that:
More than four out of ten respondents in a survey expect brands to deliver personalized experiences. By understanding the needs of customers before they spell it out, brands can win their hearts. Chatbots provide content that addresses the things customers care about.
Sometimes when a customer is exploring your website or product, they might face some issues. To assist them in such instances, set triggers like rage-clicking, for your chatbot to pop up and reach out to the customer.
#3 Collect Feedback and Customer Details
The point of the story is that every single interaction, the most minute details of the interaction you have with your customer, are an opportunity for you to create something remarkable.
– Joey Coleman, Co-host of Experience This! and customer experience expert
Collecting feedback is an integral task for any business. To assess how your customers feel about the product/service and the support, data is of utmost importance. Almost every customer conversation can be used as a chance to deliver a better experience.
The go-to method of collecting feedback is using surveys. However, replacing forms with chatbots is a reasonable5 move. Emails sent to customers containing a feedback survey or questionnaire are often ignored. Customers value their time and besides, the cognitive load involved — navigating from their inbox and recollecting the experience — is high.
With chatbots, you can collect feedback through a conversation while the customer is still on the website. Since the experience is fresh, the feedback gathered is more accurate.
When the objective of collecting feedback is clearly defined, survey questions asked can be tailored accordingly. Here are a couple of instances that require feedback:
– Improving the product or service
When new features are released, say after a week or two, trigger a chatbot conversation and ask customers to rate their experience with the product. Add open-ended questions to understand where the product or service tripped.
– Refining the knowledge base
Soon after solution articles are suggested, the chatbot can throw a question to the customers to understand if the article helped resolve their issue. For example:
The feedback collected can be used to perfect existing knowledge base articles.
– Changing the pricing plan
Chatbots can reach out to existing customers to know if they would be willing to pay the quoted price, with simple yes or no questions.
– Enhancing the chatbot experience
To gauge how well your chatbot is performing, provide an option to rate the experience at the end of a conversation with the chatbot.
#4 Monitor Social Media
Having a good social media image is important for organizations because it’s where all the eyeballs are these days. Customers often use social media to grab a company’s attention. Of late, chatbots have entered the social space too. Chatbots employed on social media are called Social Chatbots. They (Facebook and Twitter chatbots) automatically generate messages and assist in marketing activities.
Apart from providing fast resolutions and round-the-clock support, the chatbot can also help other activities like hosting and handling e-commerce, sending timely and personalized messages to customers based on their past interactions and more. For instance, TechCrunch pulls out articles based on what one would like to read.
Businesses have put the Facebook chatbot to innovative use6. For instance, the Food Network provides recipes to customers through a fun and engaging conversation. Take a look:
When a brand is on Twitter, it needs to meet certain expectations7 — provide quick responses and prove that they genuinely care for their customers.
The Twitter chatbot converses with customers using direct messages. Brands like Airbnb, Evernote, and Spotify use a chatbot on Twitter to provide 24/7 customer service. Quick replies are offered to customers, to make it easy for them to converse with the chatbot. Here’s how Etsy8 does it:
The quick replies that Etsy offers cover important e-commerce customer support requests.
Samsung Australia runs ads that directly open to their Twitter Chatbot.
The chatbot recommends a TV according to the customer’s tastes and preferences.
A game strategy without having results to back it up is a risky one. Chatbots have proven to yield good results9. Here’s a sample:
– Organizations report a reduction of up to 70 percent in call, chat and/or email inquiries after implementing a virtual assistant.
– They also report increased customer satisfaction and a 33 percent saving per voice engagement.
Chatbots are changing the way brands interact with customers. If you haven’t put the chatbot to use already, now is the time to do it. But if you have, let us know how that’s working out for you, in the comments.