The advantages of Chatbots: Taking Your Customer Service to the Next Level
Benefits of Chatbots for Your Customer Service
The modern era of customer service communications is multi-faceted. It mustn’t be taken for granted that any two stakeholders could or should engage with your organisation through the same means.
Obviously, it is not possible to have a specific channel or medium for every single person that engages with your entity. However, as quickly as technology moves, so too should your organisation in exploring every avenue possible that could improve customer support.
Another thing to consider when assessing your customer support and the options you provide for engagement, are not only preferences of your stakeholders, but your own resources as well.
This is something to consider across the board, no matter how big your company, charity, or organisation. If the customer support channels you have in place are under strain or aren’t performing as effectively as you think they could, then it will likely have a knock-on effect into other areas of the operation.
If this sounds familiar, it could be the opportune moment to consider different approaches. Any organisation, in any sector, wants to find ways of cutting costs while maintaining or improving efficiency and customer service chatbots provide the opportunity to do just that.
What is a customer service chatbot?
It’s highly likely that you may have encountered, or even engaged with a live chat customer service tool or chatbot before.
Not to be confused with each other, live chat services and chatbots are two very different tools. Live chat services involve two-way communication with a stakeholder and a human call handler. Chatbots however, are a type of artificial intelligence software that produces simulated human conversation to those in need of assistance.
Chatbots normally take the form of an extension to a website, phone application or call to provide real time, automated assistance to anyone that needs it. Often regarded as one of the most advanced utilisations of technology for workplace efficiency, chatbots are now used across all industries and sectors to save time and money.
By using Natural Language Processing (NLP), a branch of computer science dedicated to teaching computers how to understand text and spoken words, customer service chatbots are elevating the capabilities of organisations everywhere.
How do customer service chatbots work?
To those accustomed to the more traditional customer service mediums, machine interference may sound intimidating. However, understanding how chatbots work may put minds at ease a little.
The process consists of two main actions, analysis of the user’s request, and returning an appropriate response.
User request analysis
In machine learning the AI’s first task is to identify the user’s request and intent by extracting the relevant parts of the message it has received. This is the most important step, not only because it is the first, but because if this part can’t be done accurately, there is no chance of providing an accurate solution.
For example, a chatbot may initially ask a user “How can I help you?” or “What are you looking for?”.
Providing appropriate response
When the request and intent has been identified, it’s time to provide the solution. The solution could be sourced through predefined answers, knowledge and databases or further questioning by the chatbot. All this information is programmed into the chatbot during the set-up period, so it can provide instant answers on a variety of topics.
The benefits of chatbots
For organisations looking to broaden their capabilities, it’s important to understand exactly what they will get for their investment.
The advantages of chatbots in outsourced customer services are vast, so here we discuss them in more detail, while also addressing some of the more common concerns associated with taking the leap into the world of chatbots.
Nowadays, it’s almost a necessity for most organisations to be available in some capacity around the clock. Being on hold or given a number way back in a queue waiting to be dealt with can be the kiss of death for new or existing stakeholders.
This doesn’t portray you or what you do in a good light, which in turn can create a snowball effect for your brand identity. However, if you have a strategy in place where people can engage with your service at any time of day, you’re on the path to strong development.
Chatbots require little to no monitoring when at work. So, as long as they’re programmed properly to answer the queries likely to come in, your services can always be reached in some capacity.
This is one of the biggest benefits of chatbots in customer service at improving customer satisfaction and speaks volumes for your capabilities and willingness to offer support to those that need it.
Volume and standard of answers
One of the other huge advantages of chatbots is the standard of answers that can be provided to those in search of assistance. While a phone operator can deal with one person at a time, a chatbot can provide answers to potentially thousands of people simultaneously, if required.
Not only this, but the answers that chatbots provide cannot sway in accuracy or time. In other words, where a human operator could get confused or take longer to find the correct information from time to time, these variables are eliminated with a chatbot. They provide, seamless customer support.
All conversations are recorded, allowing users to screenshot or refer back to previous conversations, if they are needed further down the line. This also eliminates any grey areas, should any issues arise.
If you’re responsible for a multinational operation or have multinational stakeholder interest in your products and services, then implementing a chatbot into your communications is a no brainer.
With the ability to support multiple languages, this eradicates the resource issue of needing translators or a wealth of multilingual call handlers.
Chatbots can either ask each person which language they would prefer, or even detect the language they are using and answer customer questions in their favoured language.
This streamlined yet expansive ability will, again, do wonders for your brand identity, showing you have the communicative tools in place to operate on a global scale.
Not everyone wants to spend large amounts of time on the phone to a representative or wait for an email back, especially if the query they have is small and simple. Having to wait to talk to someone in person can be off putting for so many potential leads, customers, or contributors.
People want answers quickly and with no fuss. Tailoring your communications channels to suit a wider range of people will naturally mean a wider range of people are likely to engage with your service. Chatbots answer customer questions as soon as a message is sent. Providing better customer service, more consistently than a human operator.
With more and more ways to communicate, preferences of communication are also increasing. The more options you give people to engage, the more likely they are to do so.
Probably the aspect that matters most for all organisations is being cost effective. The money involved in hiring, educating, and then paying an increasing number of customer support staff can be astronomical.
The implementation of chatbots into an organisation of any size is bound to save money. Though there will be initial investment to consider, following that the extra costs involved with chatbots are generally low.
After the initial set up, all that’s left to worry about is that your chatbots are checked for security and whether any improvements can be made further down the line. This frees up capital for other investment opportunities that would otherwise go on education and salaries.
Taking the leap towards your customer support chatbot
No matter how much experience you have with chatbots, from a user or organisation perspective, it’s always useful to learn more.
For those totally new to the idea, handing over a big part of what you do to artificial intelligence can be daunting.
For those who may already have some experience with chatbots, it’s worth knowing whether they are capable of more than you thought, or if you’re getting the most out of your situation.
We are always happy to discuss options and how we can help take you customer support forward.