When customers have an issue that needs resolving, the one thing they want is to be able to speak to someone that can help. Can a chatbot do that? Yes, it can. Paul Shepherd, Founder and CEO of We Build Bots, explains for CEO Today.
The latest Customer Satisfaction Index from the Institute of Customer Service found that when asked what single area they wanted businesses to prioritise in order to improve their customer service, respondents said it was ‘making it easier to contact the right person to help me’.
We have all been passed from one service agent to the next, having to explain our situation over and over again. It’s not only an enormously frustrating experience, but it’s also a huge waste of everyone’s time.
The customer spends far too long trying to get their issue resolved, while the service agents are wasting their energies having to pass along issues rather than being able to actually deal with them.
So, what’s the answer? The Institute of Customer Service’s report suggested that “combining people, technologies and processes to offer accurate, relevant information and empathetic help and advice, are now the defining tests of superior customer experience.”
Chatbots are a perfect example of how people and smart technology can be brought together to deliver a far more satisfying customer journey.
This is a form of artificial intelligence, which can carry out conversations with customers via online messaging platforms such as, Facebook Messenger, We Chat, Kik or Telegram. Bots with machine learning capabilities are able to learn from their previous interactions, meaning that with every question asked and answered they become smarter.
These bots are able to handle simple enquiries themselves, and where a human intervention is required, they can ensure that when the customer does speak to a service agent, that agent is fully up to speed on exactly what is going on, saving the customer from the irritation of having to start from the beginning.
Not only does this technology ensure that customers enjoy a faster response to their questions, it also means that you can deliver true round-the-clock service.
Chatbots can operate 24 hours a day, meaning that customers can get the answers they need at a time that suits them and through communication platforms that they are familiar with using in their personal lives.
What’s more, you can deliver this level of service without needing an agent ‘on call’ at all times and with chatbots taking over the more simple customer service tasks, human agents can focus on more complex cases.
The benefits of chatbot technology stretch far beyond simply improving the speed at which businesses answer customer queries though. There are opportunities to dive deeper into the data stored on your customers, to better match them with products that meet their individual requirements or even inform them on the development and design of future products.
Similarly, chatbots can work as an early warning system in analysing customer behaviour to spot signs that they may, for example, be about to fall behind on their payments.
We are already working with a host of businesses across the utility and communication sectors, who have recognised the way in which chatbots can improve the way they handle their customers. Better, smarter implementation of technology is the key if companies are to finally deliver the quality levels of service that customers expect.