Customer expectation is higher than ever with today’s consumers being less loyal and more informed than previous generations. They don’t like waiting, getting frustrated or feeling that they can’t trust their provider to understand and satisfy their needs.
Gartner has reported that by 2020 the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse. With IBM suggesting that chatbots are capable of significantly speeding up customer service response times and being able to answer at least 80% of simple information requests, it seems that the secret sauce for successfully improving the digital customer service experience may lie in AI.
Customer experience is crucial to get right, especially in digital interactions, as there are simply so many opportunities for a potential customer to shop around and get their needs met elsewhere; brand loyalty is not what it used to be. For this reason, focusing on the customer service and support experience is extremely important, and existing and emerging chatbot technologies are one of the ways businesses can get a competitive advantage in this area. In this article we’ll take a look at some uses of chatbots in customer service.
A reduction in visitor waiting time: There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than having to wait for answers. In the support world, this can happen via email, waiting in line for a customer service rep on the telephone or battling through an automated answering service (only to get sent back to the start if you press the wrong button). If you’re after shop opening hours, a menu, or the status of an order delivery, for example, then all of these can be resolved instantly from the comfort of a mobile phone chat window with a bot.
Efficiently solving support issues: A customer service agent’s nightmare is a backlog of support cases causing an unhelpful bottle-neck full of simple to answer, straightforward questions. A chatbot is more than capable of handling the majority of simple queries, unblocking the support pipelines and freeing up the human agents to focus their attention on those cases that require the human touch.
Helpful customer navigation: Like a friendly maitre d’ at your favorite restaurant, a chatbot can greet a customer in an easy to use chat window, ask a few targeted questions to ascertain their needs, and efficiently direct them to the informational resource or appropriate human contact accordingly.
Gathering useful sales data: During those initial interactions with potential customers, chatbots can learn a lot about a consumer’s desires, interests and other useful information (telephone numbers, email addresses, social media contact details, etc.) that can be passed on to a sales representative. Not only does this help the sales team to move a potential sale closer to conversion, but also makes for a more personalized and efficient experience for the customer.
Chatbots aren’t going to replace humans any time soon, but they are certainly becoming more sophisticated to the point that they may one day be unrecognizable from their human counterparts (they are already challenging for the Turing Prize).
James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.