Adding a chatbot to your customer service portfolio

Companies are increasingly aware that Customer Experience (CX) is a driving factor in business. Indeed, according to research experts Forrester, over 90 percent want to improve on their CX. As part of delivering on that intention, your company can examine how you are interacting with your customers – a welcome addition to your communication channels could be introducing chatbots.

The power of choice

Adding a chatbot to your customer service portfolioCustomer communication preferences differ for different contexts and applications. Older customers prefer to use voice as the primary means of communication, while younger customers are generally more comfortable in the digital world of text messaging, email, chat, social media and online interactions. Some companies provide these channels as a multi-channel offering so that customers have a choice. This is ideal if those channels are connected and all interactions between customers and the company are documented and accessible to ensure the speedy resolution of any queries.

Not all interactions require cost-heavy agent interaction, however. The primary use of chatbots is to conduct human-free interactions. Employing agents to conduct phone interactions is an expense that may be necessary for complex interactions, but simple interactions such as requests for product or account information could be conducted by chatbots, reducing the load on your customer service department and releasing agents to work on more complex tasks. That could be a cost saving to your company.

Chatbots are being used in multiple industries, for everything from providing legal or financial assistance or simple resolution of FAQs or balance enquiries.

To see whether your company will benefit from the addition of chatbots to your channel portfolio, you can examine whether the need exists and if the opportunity will be of benefit. This starts with examining the type of interactions your company typically has with your customers and the associated volume of these queries. If a significant portion could be handled via an automated chatbot (without the need for human interaction), you could be well-placed to add this technology. Of course, chatbots can be designed to trigger human interactions if necessary – for example, if the interaction becomes a process such as a sale, identity verification or a request for more complex information surrounding a product or service. It’s also possible to power chatbots using advanced AI, although this application is still in its infancy in the broader African context.

It’s not always necessary to provide a chatbot, your contact centre may be able to deal adequately with all forms of communication relevant to your business.

Ultimately, it’s about your customer: will a chatbot drive efficiency and subsequently improve the customer experience? Can you continue to deliver on excellent service delivery with the inclusion of a chatbot? Will your customer benefit by having direct access to relevant information or assistance?

In a CX-driven business environment, all options should be considered that can enhance your company’s efficiency and productivity.

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