An excellent customer experience today often involves being able to seamlessly engage customers in a digitally enabled conversation. As such, chatbots are slowly becoming the consumers’ first touchpoint with a brand, providing them with the self-service experiences that are now being craved.
These bots do have the ability to save-cost and drive efficiency, but communicating solely with a bot is not the be-all and end-all of a digitally enabled CX strategy. While customers do tend to enjoy self-service capabilities, most would still prefer to communicate with a customer service representative, according to a study by The Harris Poll.
As brands further consider what operating in the “new world” post-COVID-19 will look like, there will undoubtedly be a greater and accelerated need to incorporate self-serve options like bots and automation to maintain business continuity during these types of large-scale crises and other disruptions. Therefore, it is imperative that companies develop ways to further incorporate human elements into these digital solutions.
The most common use for chatbots currently is as a support bot. These bots can make an agent’s job easier by delivering customer information to personalise the experience by making recommendations based on past preferences. This way, the bots can enable agents to focus more on delivering engaging human interaction.
In order to make these bots more engaging, chatbots should be built with the capability for customisable analytics. By utilising data from previous customer interactions, brands can easily determine what requests can be triaged to a bot. In most cases, the “small stuff,” such as collecting feedback, processing transactions, paying bills and booking appointments, can be done via bot without sacrificing customer happiness.
A company can also hone a bot’s “personality” by incorporating elements of their brand into the bot’s language library. This also works in reverse as bots can now hear your customers’ voices through word choices and voice inflections. Brands can embed sentiment-based routing technology to get a sense of their customers’ feelings in regard to the experience being provided. This would allow a bot to reroute conversations with an irate or angry customer towards a human agent whose empathy might be needed to resolve the situation.
Implementing a real-time translation programme can also help make the chatbot experience much better. Customers will always be more comfortable conversing in their native language. As such, bots can fulfil the need for a multilingual workforce by translating conversations back and forth from both the customers’ and the agents’ native languages in real time. However, this type of technology is on the nascent side, and it is not uncommon for phrases to perhaps get lost in translation.
Finally, bots are not a “fire and forget” solution. Initial investments into chatbots must be supported by an effort towards making enhancements and improvements on a consistent basis. Having a person provide this oversight is the key to offering more than just the average bot. In this way, CX teams can refine the bot’s intellect, functionality and personality with every unhandled message, ensuring that each interaction leads to a better one.