Using Chatbots to Improve Customer Support for the Modern Consumer
Artificial intelligence (AI) has made its way into customer support delivery in many shapes and forms. Conversational AI can handle a variety of menial tasks, from visual search to automated messages in the modern customer experience.
One of these AI-powered technologies in the customer service space is chatbots. The objective of chatbots is to help ease customer service pressures by offloading mundane, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks.
With intelligent automation, chatbots are able to complete these routine tasks effectively by using algorithms driven by machine learning. This article discusses the scope of a customer service chatbot and how it can use AI to improve customer satisfaction as part of a digital transformation strategy.
Benefits of Chatbots for Customer Support Delivery
Chatbots are particularly beneficial in customer service because they can handle high volumes of standard technical queries quickly and efficiently. They create more satisfied customers with consistent outcomes and reduced handle time. Likewise, chatbots help reduce or eliminate mundane tasks so customer service agents can focus on addressing more complex customer service needs and deliver more rewarding customer experiences.
Through chatbot conversation automation, information can easily be collated into valuable reports for better analysis and decision-making. Ultimately, chatbots can help eliminate human error, reduce unnecessary spend, and increase productivity.
Why Are Chatbots Necessary for Customer Service?
BPOs like iQor that deliver customized solutions can deploy automation where it matters most for creating happy customers. Solutions that include chatbots can help do the following:
- Offer 24/7 customer service. If customers don’t get an instant response to their questions, they may take their business elsewhere. Chatbots allow customers to access support whenever they want, irrespective of their time zone or geographical location.
- Speed up problem resolution. Chatbots offer an instant personalized experience, responding to customers faster than human agents can. They can access databases and existing knowledge bases and provide quick answers to all sorts of questions.
- Provide multi-language support. Providing live customer support in different languages can increase costs. Chatbots can offer multi-language support and resolve customer queries in the customer’s language of choice, serving a broader customer base while reducing spend.
- Remain accurate and consistent. A sudden influx in customer support requests has the potential to increase average handle time (AHT) and leave room for human error. On the other hand, an AI-powered customer service chatbot ensures prompt responses with a high level of accuracy and consistency.
- Gather data. Human agents may find it challenging to recall all details shared in a conversation and satisfy the customers’ expectations. Chatbots, however, collect analytics on the fly and remember them forever. This helps them provide accurate data to customers. Chatbots remember what customers like and dislike and act accordingly when they get relevant requests.
- Offer better self-service. Chatbots can help direct customers to self-service options, such as web pages and documents, that customers can use to solve their problems themselves. Along with reducing the number of support tickets, this also maintains high customer satisfaction.
- Reduce channel sprawl. Customers often switch between different channels to get the information they want. For example, a connected omnichannel experience enables customers to start with a live chat option and, after some time, drop it for email support if they don’t get satisfactory answers. With chatbots, customers can use the same channel for the majority of their support needs.
- Lower interactive voice response (IVR) frustrations. The IVR devices used in customer service can sometimes be challenging for certain customers, especially if they don’t get a personalized response. BPO solutions that include chatbots can replace this technology and send customers to the appropriate response team without the need for a human agent.
How Chatbots Can Empower a Customer Support Team
Research shows that 67% of global consumers have interacted with a chatbot in the past year. This means that more and more companies are using customer support chatbots to improve their customer service in remote work and in-office operations.
Chatbots can provide 24/7/365 support and don’t need sick days or vacations. In this way, customers can reach support agents anytime and anywhere through messaging apps and mobile devices.
According to Drift’s 2020 State of Conversational Marketing report, chatbot use has grown by 92% since 2019. The global chatbot market is expected to reach a value of $10.5 billion by 2026.
It’s easy to see that conversational marketing and AI-based customer support optimize your customer experience and foster stronger and more satisfying interactions with your brand.
How Do Chatbots Assist the Customer Support Team?
BPOs like iQor can develop custom CX solutions that include an AI chatbot to empower customer service teams resulting in less time spent on repetitive tasks. For example, a chatbot can help teams sort through and respond to customer requests.
Here are some other ways in which an AI chatbot empowers customer support representatives to create meaningful experiences.
- Improving accuracy. Chatbots can send tickets to the right person in seconds while filtering out duplicates and irrelevant messages. They can also flag conversations that need more attention from human agents. This means that live agents can answer tickets more accurately, resulting in better service for customers.
- Speeding up customer service. AI chatbots can help customer service teams process many more requests simultaneously by automatically routing tickets to the right person and helping agents prioritize conversation threads based on their contents. This reduces wait times for customers, which can help boost their satisfaction and brand loyalty.
- Upselling and cross-selling. Even though chatbots can’t replace human beings, they can upsell and cross-sell customers by answering questions and suggesting related products or services. Chatbots can help sell everything from merchandise to travel packages to keep customer service agents focused on more complicated requests, such as refunding a purchase or offering technical support.
- Self-service solutions. Although some customers prefer talking to customer support representatives, 70% of them would rather use a self-service document or site. Chatbots can help steer customers to self-service resources. This is a win-win with customers receiving support in their preferred channel and customer support agents spending their time working on more complex service requests.
Additionally, chatbots can understand different languages because they run on natural language processing (NLP). NLP is a group of technologies that enables computers to understand the tone and context of human language and interact naturally, making it easier (and faster) for humans to interact with them.
Moreover, according to Intercom, 29% of businesses report having lost customers due to a lack of multilingual support. Being able to provide support in as many as 20 languages is a huge selling point for chatbots without the need to hire multilingual agents. Although there may still be a need for multilingual agents, multilingual chatbots can reduce the number of agents needed. This need is also influenced by the dominance of customers requiring multilingual support. For example, programs that support companies based in Europe may need to staff customer service agents in multiple languages.
How Much Time Does a Customer Service Chatbot Save?
A custom solution with a conversational bot like the ones offered at iQor can reduce the average handle time for customer service interactions. This key performance indicator (KPI) measures the average amount of time it takes to resolve a support or service request. Improving AHT metrics by fulfilling customer needs with less time spent on hold, delays, or follow-up actions results in a better overall customer experience.
Suppose a CX program receives 30,000 calls per year. If the human agent spends an average of five minutes on each customer call, this equates to 2,500 hours on the phone every year. While some of these calls require human assistance, many contain questions that a bot can answer easily, reducing average handle time, which is a measurable saving.
Indeed, a custom solution that includes a customer support chatbot can save agents hundreds of hours and enable them to focus on other more high-value tasks.
How Customers View Customer Support Chatbots
Research shows that customers are on board with digital transformation across their business. Customers actually like using chatbots due to how quickly they can get answers to their questions.
Customer support chatbots are particularly useful for quick customer service and answering repetitive queries.
According to Tidio, about 48.78% of female customers like chatbots and use them for communication when making online purchases. Meanwhile, 47.92% of men use chatbots if they can’t find answers to simple questions.
What Reasons Do Customers Give for Using Customer Service Chatbots?
Customers like using chatbots for the following reasons:
- Instant response. Customers can reach a customer service agent immediately and 24/7.
- Availability of information. Chatbots can provide detailed information right away. For instance, if a customer wants to know about a new product, they can get the information immediately instead of waiting for the agent’s response.
- Intuitive interface. Customers are very familiar with using messaging apps on mobile devices. They’re used to typing in questions and receiving immediate responses.
- Fast checkout processes. Customers appreciate that chatbots can conduct transactions faster than agents.
Considering customers’ interest in using chatbots, businesses can use them to address many customer engagement opportunities.
Best Practices for Deploying Customer Service Chatbots
When developing a chatbot as part of a digital transformation journey, iQor follows multiple best practices in forming its custom solution.
Determine the objectives for a chatbot to provide an interface for customers to make customer service requests.
Will the chatbot resolve customer issues faster or gather more information about the problem? Will it be used for lead generation? Will it help customers find products? BPOs like iQor will make sure there’s a clear role for the chatbot from the beginning.
Give It a Personality
Even when talking to a chatbot, people want some degree of human touch. The chatbot is an extension of the client’s brand and should have a personality so customers don’t feel like they’re talking to a machine. Meaningful chatbot experiences reinforce the brand and show empathy toward customers.
Chatbot stats show that customers prefer interacting with bots with a persona and personality. This enables chatbots to have more humanlike conversations, ultimately providing better customer care.
Chatbot interactions should be evaluated with the same level of importance as interactions with human agents.
Have an Option for Directing to a Human Agent
Chatbots should be part of a seamless omnichannel experience with an option to switch to a human agent at any time if customers need more assistance. This enables customers to benefit from a consistent customer experience through the channel of their choice, while also ensuring they conveniently receive help from a human agent when needed.
In some cases, a chatbot won’t be able to come up with a response to the customer query because it’s not programmed for that. Maybe the customer typed in a query that doesn’t match the chatbot’s purpose.
For instance, when Siri or Alexa don’t understand what you’re saying, they respond with something to the effect of, “I’m not sure I understand.” All chatbots should have a fallback option for such cases.
A fallback option such as asking the customer to clarify their query helps counter this issue to meet the customers’ needs. The iQor advantage takes this a step further to ensure customer needs are met by enabling live agents to jump in when the chatbot is unable to sufficiently address the issue. This creates an excellent customer experience without frustration.
Use Analytics to Improve the Chatbot
Solutions that include chatbots will also track the chatbot’s performance through analytics and use this data to make improvements.
Analytics is a way of measuring the progress and performance of the chatbot through key metrics such as chat volume, number of conversations, and average message length.
Just like any other form of software, chatbots need regular maintenance and updates. BPO’s like iQor will use data to make ongoing adjustments to ensure chatbots meet the individual needs of clients and their customers.
How Does Measuring Chatbot Performance Improve the Customer Experience?
Ongoing measurements of a chatbot’s performance are essential for ensuring the chatbot provides the best possible experience for customers.
For example, if a customer support chatbot has an average response time of seven minutes, analytics can identify when there are peaks in conversation. The project team can plan accordingly to ensure sufficient resources are in place to reduce wait times and provide prompt service that improves customer loyalty.
All in all, a solution that includes a customer support chatbot can help automate mundane aspects of the customer journey while still providing an amazing digital customer service experience and freeing up agents’ time to work on creating more meaningful experiences. They also provide a collection of data on customer interactions to help inform and improve customer service.
Experience the iQor Difference
iQor is ideally suited to help brands create amazing customer experiences. iQor provides a comprehensive suite of full-service and self-service scalable offerings that are purpose-built to deliver enterprise-quality CX.
Our award-winning CX services include:
- A global presence with 50 contact centers across 10 countries.
- A CX private cloud that maximizes performance and scales rapidly across multiple geographies on short notice.
- A partnership approach where we deploy agents and C-level executives to help maximize your ROI.
- The perfect blend of intelligent automation for scale and performance coupled with an irresistible culture comprised of people who love to delight your customers.
- Virtual and hybrid customer support options to connect with customers seamlessly, when and where they want.
- The ability to launch a customer support program quickly, even when you need thousands of agents ready to support your customers.
- A best-in-class workforce management team and supporting technology to create a centralized organization that can better serve your entire business.
iQor helps brands deliver the world’s most sought-after customer experiences. Interested in learning more about the iQor difference? If you’re ready to start a conversation with a customer experience expert, contact us to learn about how we can help you create more smiles.