The recent surge in customer expectations – which might be attributed to the fast rate at which we can receive and consumer things – married with externals forces such as the Covid-19 pandemic and consequential staying at home, has driven the demand for self-service options.
A report by Gartner estimates that by 2023, more than 60% of all customer service engagements will be delivered via digital and web self-serve channels, up from 23% in 2019.
This article explores the importance of including a chatbot in your customer service offering, its benefits and how it complements other key tools.
With chatbots estimated to have reached the early majority stage of the technology innovation curve, it is critical that in order to satisfy customers’ expectations and remain competitive in a time when customer service has never been more important, you consider a chatbot for your website.
1. Significant Reduction of Contact
Chatbot technology that is built on AI harnesses the power of Natural Language Processing (NLP) so that large volumes of routine queries can be automatically dealt with, simultaneously and at scale.
NLP uses sophisticated algorithms to unpick the structure of a customer query, analysing each component including, keywords, grammar, search intent and popularity in order to understand the context of what is being asked. NLP then matches the customer query with the most relevant results, producing options for customers to choose from.
With the capability to reduce average contact volume by 25% , far fewer queries end up reaching the contact centre – because AI has handled them. The result of which is a reduction in not only the congestion experienced by contact centres but also the accumulation of costs involved with handling customer queries. Costs that surround handling queries directly, staffing and operational overheads are reduced therefore bringing overall contact centre costs down considerably.
Another key area that a chatbot’s self-service capability has a positive impact on is customer service and your CSAT and NPS ratings. With 67% of customers preferring to self-serve over speaking to a company representative, considering a chatbot for your website could provide huge CX benefits.
Further, when chatbots deal with a large proportion of routine contact, less reach your agents. The result is hugely beneficial for customers who have complicated issues that can only be solved by a human, there is a reduced wait time and they have agents’ full attention. This is because the reduction of routine queries gives agents greater bandwidth to which they can concentrate on complex, non-routine queries.
2. Chatbots Are There for Your Customers at Any Hour
Convenience is vital when it comes to customer service, particularly for self-serving customers. The channel should be straightforward, easy to navigate and available whenever your customers require help.
Chatbots offer real-time support 24/7/365. Customers needn’t worry when they have an issue during a public holiday or outside of traditional operating hours because a chatbot is entirely self-sufficient when it comes to offering support, relying on AI only to deliver results.
This proves particularly important for those who require help during emergency situations, for example, a water leak that takes place during the early hours of the morning. By reporting this to your website’s chatbot, it can offer instructions as to how this can be fixed.
3. Chatbots Boost Lead Generation and Sales
In addition to customer service, chatbots support both lead and new revenue generation activities. Acting as a lead generation tool, chatbots on your website can capture key contact information and qualify prospects before passing them onto the Sales team. By capturing critical data including personal, preferences and search intent, the lead can be escalated to an agent who can begin the nurturing process.
This also helps to identify many hot leads that would otherwise have been lost, anonymous website visitors.
To promote additional revenues, custom triggers are configured to intercept website visitors that have met certain conditions, for example, a pattern that suggests a high purchase probability. By being there to proactively offer assistance the chances of purchase increase.
4. Escalation to Agents Is Seamless
Channels such as chatbots that facilitate self-service are hugely beneficial however, it is important to consider that not all queries can be dealt with using AI. Some that are non-routine require human intelligence and empathy. This is where a chatbot’s capability to seamlessly escalate to an agent-assisted channel such as live chat is valuable.
When such escalation points are not available to customers it means they must search through pages and search engines results for a way to contact an agent, potentially wait and then repeat their query. This proves frustrating for customers, especially when you consider their calibre of the query is urgent. It affects not only First Contact Resolution (FCR) rates negatively but also lowers CSAT scores.
5. Chatbots Collect Knowledge and Integrate with Other Tools
Not only can chatbots integrate with other key customer service tools such as live chat, sharing data seamlessly within the same window, but they can also help inform and build your central repository of knowledge. Chatbot software that includes comprehensive analytics reveals intel by identifying any patterns or trends in customer queries and results. When analysed, this data becomes knowledge that is eventually utilised across the company.
Furthermore, when selecting a chatbot for your website it is important to consider its integration capabilities. Consider chatbots that use open RESTful APIs to ensure that integrations between other crucial business tools like CRMs and email management apps are available for 2-way data sharing.
6. As Digital Concierges, Chatbots Enhance CX
Chatbots can transform the experience that your customers receive. Acting as their digital concierge, the chatbot guides your customer through their online journey from start to finish, until they have reached their destination.
This is achieved by utilising decision tree technology that when configured, offers your customers a series of questions, that depending on the answers selected, determines the next step in their journey. This helps customers reach their destination far quicker and helps by automating the problem-solving process for them.
Chatbots enhance CX further by utilising Machine Learning (ML) principles. By recognising linguistic and behavioural patterns that can be stored and used for future interactions, things become more familiar and enjoyable for the customer.
7. Chatbots Channel the Essence of Your Brand
A chatbot for your website is not only a means for customer support, CX and revenue generation, it is also a way to channel your brand personality to the world. It’s a branding opportunity that is seen by every site visitor.
Configure your chatbot so that it reflects your brand personality including the responses it gives, the grammar it utilises and the way it looks. Some chatbot solutions include additional search layers that are configured to ensure that a conversational response is always produced.
8. Chatbots Are A Hit with Your Agents
Although not directly linked to the contact centre, the indirect impact that chatbots have on agents is hugely beneficial. Because chatbots take care of a large portion of routine queries, agents are able to focus on more complex customer issues, bringing them job enrichment, purpose and empowerment.
Providing agents with the opportunity to develop their skills and grow builds employee satisfaction (ESAT) and can be contributed to greater outcome and quality of work. For improved efficiency and agent productivity, it is therefore worth considering a chatbot for your website.
If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about chatbots, read our guide here or for help regarding your organisational requirements, please