If you’re not using chatbots to improve your customer experiences, evidence suggests you should be:
70% of Millennial shoppers who have used chatbots in their shopping experiences have had a positive experience with them, and chatbots can save businesses up to 30% on customer service operation costs.
Chatbots, for the unfamiliar, are computer programs designed to interact with humans in a conversational way. As such, they’re commonly used for straightforward tasks like making a reservation, searching knowledge bases, connecting users with the best team to speak to about a question, or even taking care of simple customer service tasks completely.
Chatbots can be used for other types of customer interaction too—for example, generating leads, upselling, cart abandonment reminders, administering CSAT surveys, and so on.
With so many use cases, there are numerous ways chatbots can be implemented into your process—but how do they help the customer? In this article, we’ll outline five important ways chatbots can help you improve customer experiences.
Enhancing Speed and Responsiveness
Perhaps most importantly, chatbots bring speed and scale to your customer service. Unlike human agents, chatbots can handle thousands of conversations simultaneously and can be available 24/7, giving customers instant responses and always-available answers.
With 53% of customers saying speed is one of the most important aspects of customer service, finding ways to enhance speed and responsiveness is a must for today’s brands.
This is another important element of chatbots: they do more than just help customers who use them—they also streamline customer interactions with human agents and reduce wait times for customers overall.
For one, organizations can use chatbots, or virtual agents, alongside human agents to speed up responses and streamline interactions. For example, a chatbot could scan an incoming message from a customer and provide sentiment feedback to the agent, allowing them to respond more empathetically, faster. Or the chatbot could scan the text for keywords and provide the agent with relevant knowledge base articles for faster service and solutions.
In addition, as chatbots become more available and useful for customers, it frees human agents up to tackle more complex situations directly, reducing wait times by reducing the number of tickets sent to human agents. In the end, whether your customers use the chatbot directly or call in, having chatbots available and easy to access will reduce wait times and increase responsiveness across your entire customer service journey.
Providing Personalized Service
What’s more important than speed? For some customers, personalization. According to a study done by Hubspot, 59% of customers said personalization was an important part of their customer service experience—an even larger group than those who noted speed as an important concern.
This is due, in part, to customers wanting to be seen and known by brands—for the most part, customers want to be treated like a valued customer, and not just a case number, especially when they have a problem or need assistance.
Chatbots can be an effective way to increase the level of personalization you’re able to offer customers. For example, chatbots can:
- collect and use customer data to provide personalized service
- offer customized product recommendations
- suggest related items or solutions based on customer history
- ask questions of customers to identify new customer data and actions
If you’re able to connect your chatbot with your CRM tool, you have even more opportunities for personalization. Not only will your chatbot be able to import (and store) customer’s previous history and data—purchase history, conversation history, buying behavior, demographic details and more—but it can ask relevant questions and input customer data as well. As such, connecting chatbots to your CRM is a powerful method for improving personalization and customer engagement.
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Improving Accuracy and Consistency
While speed and personalization are important, they’re not the only important pillars of customer service. Accuracy and consistency—that is, getting the right answers, every time, from any agent a customer speaks to—is also essential for great customer service.
Unfortunately, it’s not all that common. 76% of customers say they’ve received conflicting answers after speaking to multiple agents, and 87% of customers experience frustration at having to repeat themselves numerous times to different agents.
This is yet another area where chatbots can help improve your customer service—since chatbots are automated and draw answers from a specific knowledge base, they can ensure a consistent customer experience across all your channels. In addition, they can reduce errors and inconsistencies in customer interactions.
If you’re using virtual agents alongside human agents, that can also increase consistency. Rather than having human agents searching knowledge bases for solutions or relying on their memory of the policies from the last time they dealt with a specific problem, a chatbot can quickly search the knowledge base for them and bring up the most up-to-date solutions and policies.
Increasing Omnichannel Support
Chatbots can also increase your omnichannel support in two ways:
- by providing coverage at-scale for certain channels, and
- by collecting and updating customer data throughout different interactions to keep their experience seamless.
If you don’t have the staff needed to offer live chat, respond to DMs on social media and so on, implementing a chatbot can help you be more accessible, while still keeping a consistent experience across channels. And once you’ve implemented chatbots, you no longer need to use human agents to log every interaction—instead, AI can log interactions, track user data and keep everything streamlined.
For example, take chatbots on social media. Chatbots can provide consistent and quick service, without having to increase your human resources. Any business owner knows that businesses can get hundreds of messages a day just through social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter. However, what many businesses may not know is that there are already more than 300,000 messenger bots being used on Facebook accounts.
Businesses are using chatbots on Facebook not just to answer customer service questions, but also to help customers make reservations, plan vacations, and more. When a customer can reach out to you on a platform they’re already on, it makes your brand accessible and easy-to-use—reducing customer effort and increasing sales and leads.
Does self-service really make a difference in customer service?
The data is in, and the answer is yes:
- 75% of consumers say that self-service is a convenient way to find answers for this questions
- 67% of consumers say they’d prefer to get help on their own (via self-service) that talk with a human agent
- 77% of customers say they value a brand more highly if it offers self-service solutions
In addition, offering self-service allows customers to get the help they need more quickly, which can fulfill customers’ need for speed, improve customer satisfaction, and even close more sales.
Chatbots are often used as a way to empower self-service solutions, either by providing a more intuitive interface, helping customers find relevant knowledge base or FAQ articles, or simply providing answers directly in a live chat format. Either way, they’re enabling customers to find information and solutions on their own, without having to wait for an agent.
Some companies have also successfully implemented chatbots to help customers complete simple transactions without assistance from a human agent. There’s many examples of this—from the self-checkout registers at grocery stores, to online chatbots that allow you to start a return, upgrade your subscription or get back into a locked account, or in-store scanners that allow you to look up product pricing, location and other information.
Although we may not think of these interactions as being “robotic,” AI and other chatbot features can power a number of self-service interactions across the entire customer journey. And the more companies can empower customers to serve themselves, the more customers will be able to get the service they need, when they need it.
Offering Scalability and Cost Savings
Finally, chatbots are a great way to increase your scalability and cost savings. Unlike the other items on this list, this impacts customer service indirectly, rather than directly.
- a reduction in cost in one area allows you to improve functioning or capabilities in another
- improving scalability means you can reduce wait times and improve service
- scaling your service allows you to continue growing, while maintaining your reputation
- being able to handle a high volume of customer requests means you can maintain service during peak periods, when customers are most likely to have a negative experience
All of these are solutions that a chatbot can help make possible. By reducing the number of human representatives needed, your organization can lower customer service costs and redirect your budget toward new optimizations, increased data analysis or better service overall. In addition, by handling a high volume of customer interactions, you protect yourself throughout peak seasons, without having to pay additional agents during lower-volume months.
Of course, chatbots aren’t a hands-off solution, as with any customer service tool. In order to get the most out of your chatbots, AI, automation or other technological solution, you need the knowledge and expertise on your team to program it appropriately, connect it to your existing tech stack, implement it for the functions that will be most effective for you and continue to maintain and improve it over time.
Don’t have that expertise in-house? Consider outsourcing to a trusted customer service provider. At ROI CX Solutions, we’re here to help you create loyal customers through best-in-class customer experiences, whether that’s call center operations, live chat options or implementing chatbot and AI functionality.
To see how chatbots can help improve your customer experiences, connect with an expert from ROI CX Solutions today.