Improving customer service with chatbots
Delivering high-quality, resolution-focused customer service remains one of the biggest challenges for any business in any sector. Even trying to find new approaches to a better customer support strategy can be problematic, as it often means a big shift from established methodologies in place since launch day.
Part of the problem is that those who have the most control over developing a new approach to customer service are those most resistant to change. They know there are issues and customer service roadblocks, but finding solutions is even more challenging without buy-in from bosses and IT teams.
The good news is there exists a solution that will not just please board members, managers and your IT team but also delight your customers.
AI-powered chatbots are redefining the customer service landscape, with visual searches and automated messages already adopted on a large scale. Chatbots are the paradigm shift to a new level of automation and are already making significant waves in all industries.
Chatbots allow companies and organisations to support customers as they encounter pain points and can do so across multiple channels and in multiple languages at once. And that means some significant chatbot benefits for all businesses.
As consumers continue to spend more time online, businesses have little choice but to readdress their approach to the customer experience. And while some heads of the customer service department will be resistant to considering chatbots due to memories of the preemptive rollout in 2016, the fact is the modern chatbot is a quantum step forward from those early days.
Let’s look at how the customer support experience can be transformed with the deployment of a multilingual, multichannel chatbot.
How chatbots improve customer service
1. Consumer demand
Whenever a customer reaches out to a company, they want immediacy, solutions and personalisation. And they expect those responses no matter what communication channel they’re on. More than that, today’s consumers want the brands they interact with to understand their needs and be proactive when solving their pain points.
The problem is that human agents will always struggle to deliver that immediacy, especially as firms grow. Being able to scale customer service is just as vital as the growth of the business, and both growth strategies need to be aligned. And that’s where customer service chatbots come in.
Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots can answer all of the most common questions asked of your customer-facing support teams. They don’t just answer them quickly; they deliver a consistency that human agents are rarely capable of. That speed and consistency is great news for customers, but it’s good news for human customer support teams too.
Rather than spending time answering the same queries repeatedly, human agents are freed up to communicate with customers with more complex needs and require human interaction.
2. Support for human agents
There’s a consistent worry that AI and chatbots, in particular, will replace human customer service teams. The fact is chatbots don’t replace the human team; they support them. Chatbots help your human agents work more efficiently, improving the workplace and raising worker satisfaction and happiness.
Chatbots take over the mundane customer service queries, freeing up staff to tackle the complex queries. Human interaction will always have its place within a customer service roadmap. But a large part of customer service is based on repetition, and that’s rarely beneficial for productive workflows. The ability to route enquiries to human employees is vital — not allowing for that is one of the most common chatbot mistakes.
Human customer service teams will always excel at:
- Answering more in-depth questions
- Managing complex situations.
Chatbots, however, are better when it comes to:
- Answering the most common queries immediately
- Reducing customer wait/hold times
- Routing the customer to the right place, solution or person.
Many customer experience heads overlook that chatbots are a support tool that benefits employees and customers. Customers benefit from chatbots in many ways, but so do human agents. It’s time to stop thinking of chatbots as a replacement for the human team and reapproach them as a fast and effective virtual assistant.
3. Immediate resolutions
If a customer has to spend too long waiting for a response to a query, they’ll head elsewhere. That leads to abandoned shopping carts and higher rates of consumer churn. Slow responses are one of the biggest reasons for a poor customer experience, but when a company is scaling rapidly, keeping up with demand can be extremely difficult.
Chatbots resolve that potential issue, and they can do so across multiple communication channels at once. Instant responses are delivered, meaning customers don’t have to wait around for the answers to their questions.
Using your company’s knowledge base, chatbots scan your information to find the right answers. And they learn too. If they deliver a response that gets a negative or poor reaction, they immediately know not to provide that response again in the same scenario. The key takeaways here are:
- Chatbots can be trained to deliver the correct answers, often anticipating the needs of the customer based on the tone of voice or language used.
- Chatbots will remain the first point of contact for customers, with an immediacy that reduces consumer churn, but will hand over communications to human team members when needed.
- Customers get instant support.
Some of the biggest brands in the world are using chatbots effectively and in smart ways. Smaller organisations hoping to compete will have little choice but to emulate that usage if they want to keep up with their biggest competitors.
4. 24/7 support
When a company is scaling, even slowly, it can be a challenge to keep up with the growing number of brand-to-customer interactions. From social media comments to WhatsApp messages, consumers can communicate on more channels than ever before. Having the resources to handle that growing number of interaction channels can be financially challenging.
If a customer tries to buy a product but has queries, they want answers whatever the time of day. So unless you have the resources to deliver 24/7/365 communications, chatbots are the only practical solution. They are always available, always immediate, and have the answers customers need, when they need them.
Even if a chatbot cannot answer a particularly complex question, it can deliver an ‘out of office’ response and ask for email addresses for use when your human customer teams arrive at work the next day. That customer is far more likely to have a satisfying experience because they know they’re getting the attention they need to resolve their issues, even if that resolution wasn’t immediate.
One barrier to chatbot implementation is they are often discussed in terms and acronyms that are a mystery to most. We’ve created a chatbot glossary to help with that so you can develop a better understanding of the importance of that 24/7/365 deployment.
5. Customer segmentation
Customers don’t just want immediacy; they want personalised communication based on their needs. Even if two customers have the same question, they might not both be satisfied with the same answer. Live human agents struggle with high levels of customer segmentation. They won’t have immediate answers as to why that customer is reaching out, nor what they need. Customer service hits a wall because the customer has to repeat queries they’ve already made.
Segmentation all comes down to data: how you gather it, store it and use it. Your chatbot can use the data you collect to instantly identify needs and deliver solutions. They can automatically upsell product recommendations based on buyer history or provide instant answers to the FAQs your company gets asked. Even the tone of voice can be adapted to the customer’s demands. It’s a truism that the more you know about your customers, the easier it is to sell to them.
With chatbots, those conversations emulate human interaction while delivering high-performing responses to individual queries. That gives you and your response team more context should that customer reach out again.
6. Additional benefits
As well as the chatbot benefits listed above, some additional advantages are well worth considering if you’re looking for ways to deliver a better customer experience through more effective customer service. The following advantages of deploying chatbots into your customer service model are the key to faster growth:
- Consistency in consumer experience
- Seamless support across multiple channels and in multiple languages
- Easy, cost-effective scalability
- Reduced customer service costs without quality compromise
- Accessibility of real-time feedback so you’re always aware of the positive (or negative) results of your customer interactions and can track customer satisfaction KPIs such as your CSAT score
- Humanising your brand through your chatbot’s personality (a primary chatbot best practice to adopt).
Who should start using chatbots?
Many businesses and organisations can earn advantages from chatbot deployment. If any of the following descriptions sound familiar, it could be that the solution you’re looking for is a Futr-powered chatbot:
- Your organisation is growing on a global scale, and you need to provide multilingual customer support
- You need to provide support to your customers across multiple channels, including messaging apps, social media and your website
- Your human support team is struggling to keep down hold times, and they aren’t accessible 24/7
- You’re looking for ways to reduce your customer service costs without breaking what already works for you.
Redefining the customer experience
Technology continues to change the world, and AI is leading that charge. From the way we live to how we buy and sell, AI-powered chatbots are transforming customer service. Organisations can deliver better, immediate support, whether it’s the answer to a simple query or a product recommendation.
Adding chatbots to your customer service team isn’t just a way to show your brand is tech-savvy. It saves your human agents time, delivers a more informed and engaging customer interaction and ensures customer satisfaction and CSAT scores are always fully optimised.
If you’re ready to redefine what it means to deliver more proactive and engaging customer support, get in touch with the Futr team today. Give your customer service team the superpowers to consistently deliver the highest level of customer support possible through empowered communications tools. With a multilingual capability that allows for more than 120 languages, Futr is the key to omnichannel communications that can help your organisation scale without traditional customer experience issues.
Still not convinced? Check out this range of accessible features your customer service team can benefit from.