With the rise of digital enterprises, we are made to believe that digitization is the only path to success. Digital transformation efforts are sending budgets soaring as they chase the promised benefits. When organizations struggle to meet quarterly results, chances are that industry analysts and pundits will scream for more and faster digital transformation. Even though it feels like the entire world was building a next-gen experience using chatbots as recently as yesterday, the reality is that we’re at the beginning of a slow-burn revolution. Chatbots are here to stay, but they aren’t producing the overnight paradigm shift some thought they would. The reason for this is not far to see: chatbots are hard to pull off.
Not only are there massive challenges — such as understanding user content from the free-form text — but chatbots also present an interesting question for designers: what do you do when there is the very little interface? For designers working on chatbots, the text itself is the only canvas they have. But used wisely, it is the most powerful tool in the modern design kit. Chatbots are a hot topic and many are hoping to develop bots to have natural conversations indistinguishable from human ones, and many claims to be using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Deep Learning techniques to make this possible. But with all the hype around AI, it is sometimes difficult to tell fact from fiction. Chatbots don’t need to impersonate humans. First, to boost outcomes and deliver better end-user experiences, they must quickly deliver responses that speak directly to human needs. Second, they must keep learning, so that the learning can be applied towards creating more meaningful responses.
Effective chatbots will showcase the perfect end-user understanding of needs and complement them with quick access buttons and images that depict the options available. By incorporating these visual aids, chatbots can reduce the time and effort spent on interacting, resulting in a quality end-user experience.
A number of companies are already using chatbots for customer support because it is an effective way for brands to:
- Improve customer service
- Increase customer engagement
- Monitor customer data and gain insights
- Generate better leads
- Save costs
We have seen the following happening based on our implementations:
- 55% of users preferred chatbots as a primary channel when contacting
- The most common use of chatbots is to get quick answers in an emergency (37% of chatbot users)
- Furthermore, 34% of chatbot users reported that they use chatbots as a means to get connected to a human agent
Organizations have good reasons not to have live support available in the volumes that customers may need: it is too expensive. And although they recognize the value-add of a good conversation in terms of customer relationship benefits like improved retention rates and an increase in the share of wallet, they face the challenge of staying competitively priced. In addition, they probably have a hard time finding qualified employees to take on-demand.
Chatbots are fast
Customers expect fast and efficient support. Customers that do end up getting some kind of response have to wait an average of ten hours, while they reckon that should be around four. Responding to customers in a timely fashion can be a major challenge for organizations that don’t have experienced teams working round the clock to solve customer issues as they arrive and is a major investment even for larger organizations. This is one of the reasons it makes sense to bring in chatbots. Unlike their human counterparts, customer support chatbots don’t need eight hours of sleep a night and can give consumers the answers they need with little to no wait time.
Chatbots are proactive
With traditional customer support, organizations sit back and wait for the customer, meaning that customer interactions are mostly passive and centered around issues and problems encountered. As you will have noticed, chatbots take a more proactive approach by being quick to leap in as soon as a customer arrives on a homepage, asking what they are looking for and if they can be of any help. Advances in NLP means that talking to a bot is no longer the slightly surreal and potentially frustrating experience it used to be. Conversing with chatbots nowadays is very much like talking to a human agent — only faster. Bots can kick-start the conversation, pointing customers in the right direction, guiding them through the payment process and following-up post-sales by letting them know about useful tutorials to help them out and asking questions about their experience, thus replacing the traditional satisfaction survey and helping build even better customer journeys in the future.
Your support team can focus on the important activities
As in many fields that are currently seeing rapid developments thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), the rise of chatbots in customer support is raising questions about human agents eventually seeing their jobs taken over by robots. This is however far from being the case. Chatbots aren’t set to replace customer service representatives, but rather take care of the grunt work and help agents do their jobs more efficiently, in better conditions, and with more satisfying results for themselves and the customer. Chatbots are just like human agents in that they learn on the job and improve as they go along. AI-powered chatbots can gather and analyze cross-channel data from a wide variety of sources, including previous conversations with the customer, social media profiles, web searches, and interactions with websites. This enables them to personalize their responses and improve them with every customer interaction while providing agents with essential analysis grounded in previous conversations and similar use cases. Unlike human agents, chatbots can’t handle situations that require in-depth analysis or diplomacy. What they are great at is taking the weight off customer support teams by welcoming customers and reassuring them that their issue is being addressed, before responding to simpler requests and filtering the more complex ones towards a customer service representative. The benefits are obvious: agents no longer have their time taken up by routine questions and can focus on bigger, more complex tasks that require their creativity and advanced problem-solving skills.
In conclusion, customer support chatbots are a great investment for any organization, big or small, seeking to give their customer service representatives the help they need to smooth the customer experience journey and boost brand loyalty.
ITC Infotech’s Digital Workplace solution is all about services revolving around the end-user, a framework that puts the users where they belong – right at the center. With this ‘user first’ approach, certain principles are framed which provide End User Computing Services to enhance the complete customer journey. The end-user outlook provides the ultimate vantage point for very high user experience and satisfaction. We understand what it takes for the IT teams to strategize end-user centric services and get the most out of them despite modern-day service challenges, multi-vendor and multi-technology environment, and complex infrastructure and applications. Knowing just the ‘what’ without the ‘why’ is of no use, as almost all the toolsets and platforms that are part of the Digital Workplace are easy to implement and manage in large and complex IT environments.
Manoj Kumar P S
Solution Architect, Digital Workplace