In the digitally connected world today, customer service expectations are evolving at such a fast pace that most of the time it can be challenging to align business strategy with expectations. The number of customer queries has drastically increased over the past few years along with the introduction of multiple channels such as live chat, messenger apps, and social networks. At the same time, 24/7 availability, fast response times, and omnichannel service top the wish-list of today’s consumers when asked about their expectations. This, more and more organizations are seeing the benefits of chatbots powered by artificial intelligence in customer service to automate customer support.
Gartner predicts, by 2021, 15% of customer service interactions will be handled entirely by AI. This prediction is also supported by a survey by Gartner Research Circle members, where 34% of responses indicate that businesses already implemented or in the planning stage to implement artificial intelligence (AI) as a backbone of customer engagement and ever-growing demands of customers.
A study by Accenture says- 50% of consumers no longer care if they are dealing with humans or AI-enabled technologies.
What is the importance of chatbots in customer service?
Chatbots in customer service can drastically reduce the response time and overall handling time. Customers with a simple question expect a quick response, especially if we talk about channels like live chat. With a chatbot, customers’ queries can be addressed within seconds which also increases service agent satisfaction, because the work of a customer service employee becomes more challenging and less mundane. Chatbots enable enterprises to provide faster and more efficient service at a lower OPEX. Moreover, a chatbot can help customers with their concerns at any time of the day, including on holidays and weekends.
Advantages of customer service automation
1. Provide faster and more convenient customer service
According to consumer research by Accenture, 66% of the consumers surveyed in mature markets expect customer support to be faster. For emerging markets, the expectations were even higher – 78%. Further, the number of inquiries companies are receiving, especially via new channels like live chat, WhatsApp and messengers are increasing.
Because chatbots can answer simple questions and FAQ’s instantly, they are an excellent solution to speed up the business process significantly and deflect repetitive tasks that would otherwise fall on agents’ workload. Sometimes customers forget to provide their order number or email address in their initial conversation. A chatbot is beneficial in this case because it can aid the customer service agent by automatically updating all the missing information from the customer. Afterward, when the service agent picks up the question, he/she will have been provided with all the necessary information in order to help the customer efficiently.
2. Time is no boundation, possibility to resolve queries outside office hours
According to the Arvato survey, the majority of consumers also expect 24*7*365 customer service. With implementation of chatbot, customers can reach out to companies around the clock without any limitation. In this way, customers can be assisted at any time without having to deal with waiting times. If the chatbot doesn’t know the answer to a question it can create a ticket at the service desk so that the customer can be contacted by one of the customer service agents during office hours.
3. Increase customers and agent’s satisfaction
When routine work and recurring questions are handled by chatbots, customer service agents will have more time to spend on complex queries. As the virtual assistant takes over time-consuming mundane tasks, service agents can focus more on the core of their job: engaging with customers, nurturing relationships with them, and helping them solve complex issues. Chatbots should therefore not be understood to automate customer support only but also as a way to support human agents in betterment of business process and ultimately enhance net promoter score (NPS).
The best business results can be achieved when agents and chatbots work hand-in-hand. In this way, the conversation can seamlessly transfer from chatbot to customer service representative at any moment. In scenarios when chatbot doesn’t know the answer to a question, it can immediately transfer the conversation to one of the available service reps. The agent then receives all the necessary information and can continue the conversation without break. This process eventually leads to more happiness and satisfaction among customers and service agents.
4. Reduce costs
Automate customer support and reduce costs. When a chatbot is implemented effectively, businesses save money. How? A chatbot can handle multiple messages at the same time. This capability makes it an excellent solution to deal with an ever-increasing volume of customer service requests while keeping an eye on the costs. According to an article published in Chatbots Magazine, it saves up to 30% in customer support services. Thus, when you deploy an intelligent bot for your business, you not only cut on operational cost but also available wherever your customers need you.
Knowing from where your customers can come and create a strong strategy should be crucial for a business, irrespective of size. The best bots are not easy to tell whether they’re human or the machine talking. That’s because the bot has created such a customer experience, you can’t tell what’s on the other side of the chat.
This is where robust knowledge management plays a major role in the success of your bot. Knowledge management system makes sure it’s using vocabulary and phrases that your customers understand and most importantly, ensures consistency of responses. The preset responses need to apply to all possible inquiries. If the customer gets stuck, the bot needs to be intelligent enough to understand how to handle the roadblock or transfer the case to a human representative.