The lowest cost of delivery is no longer the best approach to customer service. Today, the focus has shifted towards providing an engaging customer experience that helps the customer to solve their problem on their first interaction — however long that takes.
This shift is being broadly driven by three key elements:
- Customer Experience Revolution
- Digital Transformation
- Customer Journey Personalisation
These elements have led to advancements in technologies such as natural language understanding (NLU), meaning that many customer interactions can now be fully automated.
Just as customers are beginning to favour longer, more meaningful interactions, these robots — known as ‘chatbots’ or ‘virtual agents’ — enable businesses to automate parts of their customer experience strategy while actually enhancing the customer service.
Chatbots provide seamless interactions to delight customers
Before virtual agents, simple chatbots and speech-based IVRs either used ‘directed’ interactions or key-word recognition. Following this, ‘grammars’ (collections of keywords) were introduced to prescribe which action the system would respond with.
Virtual agents use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand the ‘intent’ of the whole question
These types of virtual agents can be used to create seamless, human-like customer interactions, enabling businesses to successfully answer a broader range of customer queries. For their part, many customers appreciate that; compared to previous self-service technologies, today’s chatbots have a higher customer uptake.
By taking recordings of agent calls or transcripts of digital interactions, the virtual agent AI can build, maintain, and improve its own knowledge base by learning how the best “live” agents successfully answered given queries. Provided that your chatbot has a robust template to work from, these insights can be used to significantly enhance the customer experience.
Related Read: 6 Best Uses for Chatbots in a Contact Centre
Customer Experience chatbots can be crucial in retaining business
The evolution from live agents to virtual agents enables businesses to achieve faster response times, as simple transactional queries can be easily handled. This contributes towards lower delivery costs since fewer live agents are needed.
Virtual agents improve customer experience by being able to solve customer requirements without the need to wait for an agent to be available
This releases your live agents’ time, which can be reallocated towards dealing with complex customer queries and tasks more likely to generate revenue. Even a small increase in the number of completed applications with a high-ticket value as a result of agent-assisted self-service is more than worth the investment in agents’ time.
Since all virtual agents are effectively text-based, you can deploy one virtual agent engine to support all of your communication channels. This is faster, more consistent, and more cost-effective compared to specific virtual agents for each and every channel.
Providing 24/7 service helps to grow business advocates
Another crucial benefit of using chatbots is that unlike your staff, they operate 24/7. When your customers need out-of-hours support, chatbots can be there to step in and help them.
Such efficient service is likely to exceed customers’ expectations and compel them to sing your company’s praises. As more customers spread the word, this will have a knock-on effect on your business’ growth through heightened brand awareness and direct referrals.
Creating a personable chatbot customer experience
Due to advancements in technologies including natural language understanding (NLU), chatbots can provide seamless, human-like interactions to ensure an efficient service. In particular, they present a unique opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality, as they can be programmed to adopt various conversational styles.
Customers are becoming ever more comfortable interacting with virtual agents because of their experience with virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa
Introducing a chatbot to your website that employs humour and a friendly tone of voice will encourage customers to return and continue engaging with your company. For this reason, chatbots are an impactful way to grow advocates for your business.
To recap, customer experience chatbots present a phenomenal opportunity for businesses to delight their customers, retain their business, and grow advocates.
How you use them will depend very much on your Contact Centre environment and the customer journey, but when employed with these considerations in mind, chatbot technology can reduce customer wait times, cut overheads, and directly drive business growth by delivering the level of service your customers expect of you and love to receive.
To discover how to incorporate chatbot technology into your customer service process, download our free resource, 'How to Successfully Map Your Contact Centre Environment to the Customer Journey'.