Have you waited on line for minutes on end for a complaint or query of yours to be resolved by a customer care executive? As per a study conducted by Newvoicemedia, $62bn is lost every year by US companies due to poor customer service. For valid reasons, customer care has become the bread and butter of many companies today. How can we make experience of user seamlessly standardised and efficient 24/7? To counter the losses, Companies have started automating the process using chatbot. Wondering what chatbot is?

If you haven’t heard of chatbot still, let me tell you – Chatbot has become the talk of the town. It is a computer program more like a messenger app where external users can communicate with it using text messages and will get adequate (human-like) reply in response. The basic concept of chatbot is not new, but now organisations know how to make the most of this technology by building on what they already specialise in. So let’s analyse, what is so special about this that businesses are going bonkers over the idea?

There is a common knowledge that those processes which follow a fixed set of templates and paths with minor deviations can be automated. Customer service is one such area which is a deserving candidate for automation.

However, when chatbot is integrated with Artificial intelligence, it will become a much powerful weapon for companies which suffer with lag in customer care either because of the number of customers they receive is too much to handle or same level of efficiency cannot be maintained across individuals (customer care executives) in the organisation.

According to a research done by Forrester, 72% of businesses believe that improving customer service is their top priority. Here are some ways in which chatbot will help the industry:

Personalised Conversations

Based on the user’s profile, purchase history, type of discounts availed, past complaints etc. company can upsell its products when user calls to resolve an issue.

Eliminating First & Second Level Customer Service

The first and second level customer care executives follow a strict instruction set as they are entry level employees. These instructions can be easily fed into the chatbot program such that interaction with users is fairly standardised. On encountering any novel problem, it can redirect the problem seamlessly to third level customer care which will essentially be handled by humans.

Reducing Cost

Chatbot will be a one-time investment for a company. And if it is built in-house, cost is reduced considerably. Anyways, it will be better than investing so much to accommodate hundreds of customer care reps for the same job.

Reduction In Lags Created By Executives

Efficiency will remain same throughout the day as users will be interacting with a computer program and as we know, Machine do not get tired. Also, the response time will be reduced considerably as chatbots will be programed with the information beforehand and will be readily available for the user.

Chatbot For More

  • Integrating Artificial Intelligence so that chatbot can learn from its daily interactions and perform intelligent conversations with users. There are many AI chatbots already available in the market today. Example: Messenger bot for weather – Poncho, Bot for website creation – Right Click.
  • Connecting Data Management Platform(DMP) e.g. Adobe Audience manager with your chatbot will give access to a large amount of information which will be at your disposal. Now, What is DMP? DMP can combine all the data sources about a particular user in one place such that you can access about his/her travel preferences, social profiles, sites visited, demographic details, complaints registered etc.
  • Digital Assistants: Many companies are already taking a step forward by using chatbot with digital assistant (Example: Siri by Apple, Alexa by Amazon). In this way, they can extend themselves to let chatbots communicate with user using ‘voice’.

Challenges

The problem with this whole setup arises:

  • When there is a novel situation which has not been programmed before. Yes AI (Artificial intelligence) will be able to help handle the situation in most cases but there will be some cases which was not thought of beforehand and hence, cannot be learned by the system. This kind of operation will need human intervention as chatbot will not be able to respond to any completely new query.
  • When there is a downtime for the machines: Companies should carefully plan backup in these cases to prevent any losses.
  • When machines are not human enough for customers: Machine handling the customer service for the brand is a irksome feeling for most as they will not be human enough to understand the problem and may respond in a robotic way to the questions hurled at them. This will, in turn, make the customer more dissatisfied with the service. This can be handled by companies by making the responses more human-like. For example, instead of the robotic ‘How are you?’ make it more personalised such as ‘How are you feeling today?’

Conclusion

In times like these, when there is a high demand for polished customer service, it makes little sense for companies to shy away from a technology which promises on making their life easy. Organizations should try to automate as many tedious processes as possible so that their resources and energy can be focused towards innovation and creative work (such a marketing, strategy etc.).

With around $62bn losses happening in US alone each year, it has become imperative to handle customer care ‘experience’ of users in a more robust way. Answer to most of the problems related to customer service faced in recent times by users rests in chatbot. In fact, Chatbot is the inevitable future and is here to stay. So companies should ask themselves whether they are ready to chat their problems away.