Artificially intelligent chatbots are invading the customer care space.

Much like those scary Skynet Cyborgs from The Terminator franchise, they seem to have appeared suddenly from the future in the form of artificially intelligent computer programs that plan to take over our lives. Their weapon? Efficiency

The growing acceleration of digital, automation and analytics services is rapidly changing the fabric of business process services and outsourcing.

Gartner

Today, 42% of consumers use intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs), also know as, chatbots. At the same time, consumers are becoming more self-reliant, informed, and connected. They are utilizing self-help tools such as FAQs, knowledge-bases, and customer communities more than ever before.

What does this mean for human agents?

By all accounts, chatbots seem to be ushering in a new era of customer service with automation at the forefront of the movement. This leaves companies to address the robot in the room: is it time we say ‘hasta la vista, baby’ to our human agents?

Not quite. Organizations will need to invest in evolving their own technology-enhanced army of customer support teams in order to keep up with the changing complexity of interactions.

Chatbots will be instrumental in providing simple solutions. But humans will be equally needed to deliver an amazing customer experience.

Here’s how to empower your customer support teams with chatbots.

1) Add human heart for brand loyalty

Agents will not only need to handle more complex issues, but will do so with compassion and empathy. If a consumer has to interact with a human agent, it’s likely because all other methods failed. Expect these interactions with consumers to be longer and filled with anxiety and frustration.

Agents will evolve into critical brand ambassadors, providing a make or break experience with long-lasting impact on brand loyalty. In a world of digital platforms and subscription-based services, an agent becomes a natural extension, and possibly the only human interaction with the brand. Companies need to make it count.

2) Use your teams to develop top-notch chatbots

Successful technology generally needs ongoing human involvement, care, and fine-tuning to accurately understand the context of customers’ comments. Whether they are on the frontlines answering customers or on the backend maintaining the self-service technology, humans need to remain a critical part of your digital transformation strategy.

3) Invest in training

The days of ‘churn and burn’ are over. Expect longer and continuous training in order for the agent to fully understand the ecosystem of your services. Consumers will expect agents to be experts not just in your product but the network, apps, operating systems, and devices connected to it.

4) Revisit key metrics

New customer needs and standards are driving changes in how businesses support them. Typical key metrics must also evolve to account for the increase of complex issues, longer call times, and multiple channels of support as the new norms.

5) Integrate data for omnichannel delivery

Using knowledge management tools help keep a customer’s inquiry data intact as they move from one channel to the next. These tools are key to equipping agents with interaction history, accurate data, and allow agents to store and retrieve information faster and more effectively for better collaboration.

 Final Thoughts

The rise of chatbots and the digital ecosystems they operate in creates a new world for customer care. Though it’s less of man vs. machine, and more of man works with machine, like we’ve done for all of time. As iQor helps our clients roadmap customer-centric digital transformations, we urge them to take into account that augmented agents, armed with AI-powered knowledge management and analytics tools, will be a core component of their service strategy. Intertwine these two worlds correctly, and you’ll have your customers saying, “I’ll be back.”

Need help navigating the new world of human and robot customer care? Contact us to set up a call.