Chatbots: What Role Should They Play in Customer Service?

Many brands believe that chatbots are key to modernizing customer service. The trouble is, many have rushed to use them without fully considering their limitations. It’s still an early stage for chatbots within the domain of customer experience, and companies need to use them prudently. According to Forrester, most chatbot failures occur because they attempt to handle too many tasks. For this reason, every brand needs to look at its customer journey and decide where customers are most likely to benefit from chatbot assistance. Here are five tips for optimizing the use of chatbots in your customer service strategy.

Assign chatbots concrete tasks

Chatbots are most efficient when they are given simple tasks. For example, they may assist your customers with changing passwords, obtaining a receipt, or verifying information. Many industries are using chatbots in this capacity with great success—notably, the airline and banking sectors. United Airlines uses a chatbot called AutoPilot to help customers with all their flight information needs, while Bank of America’s “Erica” chatbot helps customers with nearly every aspect of account management. Chatbots are therefore ideal for automating processes that do not necessarily require human assistance.

Use them to improve your database of frequently asked questions

Many customers don’t appreciate having to search through lists of frequently asked questions. In addition, they may have questions that have not been addressed. This is where chatbots may step in. As customers communicate with them, chatbots may analyze the content of each conversation to improve your company’s database. Customers will be able to ask questions spontaneously while the chatbot updates the contents of the list of questions, continuously improving the customer experience.

Personalize each interaction

Chatbots are further able to personalize each interaction.When a customer makes contact, chatbots may collect data in order to decide what the next step should be. For example, obtaining a customer’s name would allow a chatbot to access purchase history and service history. Such information can then enable it to make personalized product recommendations or find an answer to a technical problem.

Use chatbots to connect customers with agents

Sometimes, your brand needs to recognize when it’s inappropriate to use chatbots. Many people have questioned if they are truly capable of handling complex matters. In truth, chatbots may actually complicate customer interactions if they are not “intelligent” enough to give proper responses. In these situations, they may be used to route customers quickly to the most qualified agents. If a customer needs to discuss an issue in-depth or uses emotional language in his initial contact, it’s best to offer human assistance.

Test your technology and get feedback

Like any technology your brand uses, chatbots need to be tested regularly. Make sure they are functioning correctly and being used to their full potential. It’s equally important to understand if your customers are satisfied with their chatbot experiences. Ask them for their feedback and determine how the technology might be improved. You may discover, for example, that certain processes could benefit from chatbot assistance, whereas other areas of the customer experience are lacking in human support. In this era of conversational commerce, chatbots play a central role. A recent Twilio study found that 9 out of 10 consumers want to use messaging programs to contact brands. This means that every company needs to use chatbots strategically, ensuring that the customer experience remains effortless. The question is not whether chatbots should be used, but rather, how best to use them to satisfy your customers. 

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