Improving the Customer Journey: Chatbots

Many of the organisations we speak with are facing the same challenge: how to involve chat bots in the customer journey in a way that actually benefits the customer?

Gartner predicts that 85% of customer interactions will be powered by chatbots in 2020. Little wonder – chatbots can be great tools within the contact centre; freeing up human agents to focus on high value or more complex activities whilst automating more mundane/straightforward tasks. There will always be tasks that must be handled by trained agents able to react emotively to the customer’s needs. When this happens, it’s vital to ensure that the transition to live assistance from automated dialogue runs smoothly.

But, how to do this without jeopardizing the customer experience?

Your customers expect responsive service, anytime, anywhere, across all devices. These evolving expectations are necessitating new self-service options – designed to enable businesses to help their customers in an automated way. Contact centres need to offer omnichannel customer experiences which can serve any combination of voice, web chat, social media, email and SMS. By integrating a high quality chatbot to the environment, you could add value to your customer experience, whilst encouraging customers to “help themselves”.

So where do you start when it comes to making chatbots a seamless part of your customer journey?

Optimising the customer journey with an integrated chatbot

  1. Choose your AI Applications Carefully

There are a whole host of artificial intelligence (AI) applications currently on the market, so it’s important that your business selects the one that’s right for you.

Make sure you’ve considered the specific features you’ll need, for instance, are you interested in Natural Language Processing (NLP), contextual awareness handling, or natural response generation? Features like this and others such as exception handling, analytics, and intent matching could help to make your customer experience truly exceptional.

Check out the documentation available on the application you’re looking at – can you get enough information to help drive and inform good decisions?

Finally, how are you comparing these solutions? Ensuring you’re treating applications objectively and assessing them against a predetermined set of standards will help a lot when it comes to deciding which is the most suited for your business needs.

  1. Define your Expectations

Consider the specific areas of the business you’re looking to automate. A good chatbot adds value by automating repetitive, simple tasks. It’s not a replacement for a human, and you shouldn’t expect an application to remove the need for human interaction. However, with a clear handover process established, and a predefined scope limited to a specific series of tasks, you can automate areas of your business that are demanding agent time.

Think about the channels you want to use a chatbot on. Are there specific channels that could be an ideal starting point? Several social media channels have chatbot integration tools built in, and so you might find it easier to start with them if you’re launching a chatbot for the first time.

What are you expecting your chatbot to do? Where is it sitting and what sorts of questions should it deal with? Will it be playing the role of “gatekeeper” – answering simpler enquiries and then sending more complex interactions to an agent?

It’s important to think about the handover process – if managed poorly, you risk ruining the customer experience. How will you avoid jarring transitions? Can you make sure the customer doesn’t have to repeat any information by keeping an easily accessible record of the chatbot conversation? Consider how you will approach keeping the customer informed during the transition.

  1. Remember the Need for Speed

Prioritise quick responses. The handover from the chatbot to a live customer service agent needs to be smooth and painless for your customer – without slowing things down. Creating a workflow to determine how and when the application hands over to a human will help you to deliver the very best experience. If you define the information you want the chatbot to collect, you’ll be able to route the call to the most suitable agent – freeing up time for agents to spend on resolving queries instead of gathering information. Consider using sentiment-based frameworks or decision trees to facilitate an effective escalation path when dealing with more complicated issues.

Whilst chatbots are an essential tool when it comes to being instantly accessible, like most technologies, they aren’t without their limitations. Keep specific objectives in mind and ensure your customers and their experiences are the central part of your planning process.

Zendesk Chat enables you to offer customers support in real-time and in context, whether it’s on your website, in your mobile app, or via messaging channels. With a Web Widget for instant, contextual web page help, mobile SDK to make it simple to embed live chat in mobile apps, and a messaging dashboard for app integrations with applications like Facebook Messenger and Twitter Direct Messages, you can deliver real time support and information to your customers when they need it most. Working as part of a wider omnichannel support strategy, chatbots can transform the speed and effectiveness of your customer support. 

We’d love to walk you through the Chat functions – feel free to request a demo

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