How Chatbots Can Support Human Agents to Deliver Customers Better Care

chatbots

Chatbots have become the next big thing in customer service, but not all companies use them efficiently. For instance, the creators behind Facebook Messenger recently tried to implement a fully-automated chatbot system designed to replace the need for live human support. However, they quickly found out their chatbot service was only able to respond to 30 percent of customer requests without human assistance.

One mistake Facebook made, typical of other companies that repeat the same error, was to use chatbots as a complete replacement to live agents, rather than as a corresponding support channel for these employees. Of course, chatbots work best when they can work in concert with live support agents.

Here’s how chatbots and live agents can work together to optimize your customer service management.

Chatbots are Part of a Bigger Picture

Successful deployment of chatbots relies on approaching this technology as part of a comprehensive customer care strategy that includes other tools and tactics. In today’s connected world, customer support tickets may be initiated by live chat, text messaging, social media, web contact forms, email, and phone, to name a few.

While your company may see these as different support channels, for the customer, all interactions with your representatives from one user experience that defines their perception of your brand and satisfaction with your product or service. In this context, chatbots represent one channel among many, and the information customers share with chatbots needs to be integrated with other support channels to deliver a seamless and consistent brand experience.

The best way to achieve this paradigm is by using chatbots in conjunction with a cloud call center solution that provides your live reps with a single interface that can be used to manage customer support tickets across various channels. A cloud call center enables chatbots to work in concert with your live support agents, as well as interactive voice response systems to provide a common goal: delivering better customer service.

Chatbots Work Best When Answering Routine Questions

Within the context of a cloud call center, the best use of chatbots is managing routine questions that often don’t require human assistance. Most customer inquiries involve difficulty with lost or forgotten passwords, account information, and payment arrangements. In fact, these types of routine inquiries account for 70 percent to 80 percent of all support tickets.

Customers appreciate the convenience of using chatbots to resolve routine inquiries quickly and efficiently. In fact, research conducted by Aspect indicates that 65 percent of consumers say they feel good about themselves and the company they’re interacting with when they’re able to resolve an issue without human assistance. Additionally, 61 percent of consumers believe chatbots can resolve these everyday problems faster than live support agents.

Chatbots Can Help Direct Customers to Live Agents

But as Facebook’s experience illustrates, not all problems can be resolved by automated solutions. Dealing with complex technical support issues, shipping mistakes, refund requests, identity theft complaints and other issues often require human assistance. So when customers struggle to reach a live agent when these issues arise, they quickly become frustrated.

In fact, being unable to reach a live agent is Americans’ top customer service complaint, according to a Consumer Reports survey. Aspect’s research indicated much of the same, revealing 42 percent of consumers want a live agent to assist them with complex support-related questions and inquiries.

This means your chatbots need to be designed to quickly recognize problems that require human support and route them to the appropriate agents for assistance. Fortunately, as chatbots have become more sophisticated, it has become easier for them to distinguish between inquiries needing their help and those that require human assistance.

Chatbots can be a useful customer service tool, but only when deployed as part of a comprehensive customer care strategy rather than a standalone solution. An optimal customer service strategy should integrate chatbots into an omnichannel cloud call center solution to deliver a seamless brand experience. Chatbots work best when handling routine customer inquiries. But they should also be designed to hand off complex inquiries to qualified live agents. This way, chatbots and live agents can work together to serve the ultimate goal of delivering optimal customer care.

Michael Pignataro
Co-Chief Executive Officer - Operations at 'corePHP'
Entrepreneur, family man and long-time magician, "Magic Man" Michael Pignataro is co-owner of 'corePHP' with his mirror-image twin brother, Steven. Michael is 'corePHP's Co-Chief Executive Officer - Operations. He's also got a wicked fast wrist at the foosball table.

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