Four Ways Chatbots Save Time for Your Support Team
If you’re a business that wants to up your customer experience strategy through AI, chatbots are definitely the answer you’re searching for. As customers’ expectations continue to evolve and the need for speed grows, chatbots pave way for quick-fix answers to customer queries. The more questions you receive from customers, the more cost-effective of a solution chatbots can be for your company. Not surprisingly, it’s projected that more and more companies will adopt chatbots on their customer support front lines. A study by Gartner1 predicted that by 2020, over 85% of customer service interactions will be handled without a human representative.
However, it’s not only about your customers: when you’re looking at whether chatbots are right for your business, you might want to look at how they can help your team, too. Having chatbots deal with first-level support questions could mean more free time for your team to work on tasks that demand a complex solution, like improving areas of the knowledge base.
Save Time, But Keep the Quality
When optimizing your support team’s efficiency with chatbots, keep in mind when bots are good, and when they can actually become a barrier to customers getting the help they need.
While chatbots’ reliability continues to improve, certain limitations still exist when it comes to the type of questions they can handle. Chatbots are far better at responding to questions with little uncertainty. Humans are best left at troubleshooting because they can hold more than one logic solution in their brain. “When it comes to a more complex or technical question, consumers will often look to speak with a live support agent,” Michael Mills, from CGS’ contact center division, told Forbes3. “The rationale being that a live agent can react and adapt to the complexity of that individual’s problem and resolve the issue. Artificial intelligence programs and self-service applications are only as valuable as the information that resides inside their databases.”
There are also certain questions where humans will always perform better: those needing a certain degree of empathy or where your customer is disclosing some private information, like medical data. In these cases, chatbots might actually make your customers more frustrated, meaning your team needs to work twice as hard to recover the situation.
This article will help you identify the opportunities where deploying a chatbot will benefit not only your customers but also your team.
#1 Find Quicker Answers to Your Customers’ Questions
These days, people contacting a brand expect to get a reply to their questions rather quickly. When it comes to using a company’s live chat, research data shows that an acknowledgment within 30 seconds keeps customers happy while anything over a minute may lead to customers becoming frustrated and ending the chat attempt. About 80% of consumers ranked “getting my issue resolved quickly” as their top priority to experience great online customer service.
When a business can’t provide the type of seamless experience that is now expected, customers can become frustrated. A chatbot can help ease that by making it easier for your customers to search documentation automatically and connect them to the information they need — much faster than they would with a customer support agent.
Julie2 is a virtual customer assistant implemented since 2012 by U.S. train service Amtrak. It was designed to function as their “best customer service representative4,” and with 5 million questions answered questions every year, Julie has been a hit. The chatbot is primarily used to communicate the details of items transported through trains to the passengers.
Program your chatbot to recognize keywords and phrases, and get back to your customer with the right answer. By matching queries with pre-defined answers, a bot can help users find the information they need in little time.
Since chatbots can process a lot of questions at a higher speed than their human counterparts, your team will be able to spend time in tasks with greater impact, like developing new workflows, writing new articles for the knowledge base or updating old support documents. Quick answers to basic questions will make your customers happier, while helping humans work better and faster.
#2 Let Humans Focus on Complex Customer Inquiries
How many times have you been asked for help recovering a forgotten password? It’s likely that your team addresses a high number of routine customers’ questions that are usually resolved with a link to an article found in your knowledge base. Not surprisingly, according to IBM5, up to 80% of routine customer service questions could be answered by a chatbot.
Telecommunications company Charter Communications6 had 200,000 live chats per month before switching to a chatbot service. About 40% of these conversations were for forgotten usernames and passwords. That’s 76,000 pretty simple requests that had to be dealt with by a human agent every single month. Of course, those requests would take a lot of time from customer support. With such a high volume of customers used to having live chat available, the company didn’t want to end the service, but they needed a way to allocate customer service reps for more complex issues. They decided to switch to a chatbot. It ended up handling 83% of all chat communications, and not just those basic forgotten password and username questions. This means 166,000 chat requests that Charter team didn’t have to work on!
Another example of using chatbots to resolve basic transaction requests comes from China Merchant Bank, one of the largest credit card companies in China. The bank exploits bots to deal with a huge number of customers. Using WeChat Messenger, their bot handles up to 2 million customer conversations every day, mostly about simple things like a customer asking what their card balance is or payment information. This way, the bank’s customers can quickly get the information they need.
Identifying these basic questions and transactions and enabling your chatbot to resolve them can save a lot of time for your team — allowing them to work on the issues that are more complex and require strategic thinking.
#3 Automate Contact Routing
Have you ever been transferred for what seemed like forever, agent after agent, with terrible music in between waits, until you got to speak to the right person? Then you know how frustrating improper contact routing can feel.
Transferring customers to the wrong person is painful for business too because it takes a lot of valuable time from customer representatives. Chatbots are also helping to eliminate this problem for both business and customers alike by routing customers to the right person who can address their issue.
So, if a chatbot asks “How can I help you?” and the customer replies “Pricing”, the request can be sent directly to sales and tagged with the right category, rather than bouncing through other departments. For example, MongoDB, an open source document database, uses a bot to ultimately route a prospective customer to the right salesperson after asking them a series of questions.
#4 Authenticate Users
Conversational bots can be used to authenticate your customers, so that your team has the key information, like verification of who they are talking to and what type of account they have, right when they need it. Since authentication can be done at the user’s pace and using the channel they feel more comfortable with, your human agent can pick up the conversation when the information needed has been collected. Then, they can initiate a channel switch if necessary.
Adapting to your customers’ preferred communication channel, be it the contact page on your website or a message on social media is part of offering a great onboarding experience. Effective communication and onboarding experiences will improve overall customer satisfaction while also helping your team onboard customers quicker and more effectively.
Chatbots are a great option for helping customers efficiently, but your team can also benefit from the power of automation. When implemented through a well-thought strategy, chatbots can save a lot of time for your team. This potential is especially true for initial queries and questions that don’t require nuances or that have a straight-forward solution.
As technology improves, chatbots will be able to assist your team with more and more tasks so that humans focus on what they do best: work on complex issues, empathize with a frustrated customer, and take more of a strategic role.
1 – https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-02-19-gartner-says-25-percent-of-customer-service-operations-will-use-virtual-customer-assistants-by-2020
2 – https://www.amtrak.com/about-julie-amtrak-virtual-travel-assistant
3 – https://www.forbes.com/sites/christopherelliott/2018/08/27/chatbots-are-killing-customer-service-heres-why/#3cd1aee13c5a
4 – https://overthinkgroup.com/chatbot-case-studies/
5 – https://www.ibm.com/blogs/watson/2017/10/how-chatbots-reduce-customer-service-costs-by-30-percent/
6 – https://overthinkgroup.com/chatbot-case-studies/