With more people using apps, web-based services, and fintech solutions, businesses must overcome the challenge of providing the best possible customer service to these new customers. Complementing your team with chatbots for customer service can help you meet the increased demand and execute a strategy that resolves issues faster and results in happier customers cost-effectively.
What is a Customer Service Chatbot?
Customer service chatbots use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to answer customers’ questions and immediately help them find the information they’re looking for, and connect them to customer service agents who can help them resolve issues.
Chatbots for customer service leverage a brand’s existing resources, such as a knowledge base, FAQs page, or an online resources center. However, chatbots don’t require customers to ask a question in a particular way. Customers can speak in natural language. AI technology, such as natural language query (NLQ) and natural language processing (NLP), enables the platform to understand the question and provide a relevant answer.
What is the Purpose of a CS Chatbot?
A customer service bot allows businesses to maintain their commitment to providing great customer service by helping deliver answers 24/7 across every channel. The best chatbots for customer service help customers resolve their issues without talking to a live agent—they “self=serve.” They also help human agents do their jobs more effectively, which increases agent happiness and retention.
How Do You Know if You Can Benefit From a Chatbot for Customer Service?
One of the best ways to determine if deploying a chatbot for customer service is the right move for your business is to look at your data. If you determine that spikes in tickets result in worsening key performance indicators (KPIs), your business may benefit from a customer service chatbot.
Evaluate these metrics:
- First response time: This metric shows the time it takes customer service agents to respond to customers. It’s often tracked over a month or other timeframe.
- Tickets per customer: This KPI tracks how often customers have to submit tickets before their issues are resolved.
- Average resolution time: This metric shows how quickly customers get a resolution when they call for information.
- First contact resolution: This calculation compares issues resolved with one interaction to all interactions.
You can also use your customer satisfaction (CSAT) score, Net Promoter Score®, and customer retention as indicators of how well your customer support processes meet your client’s expectations.
In addition, talk to your customer support team agents on the front lines to learn about their pain points. Ask these questions:
- Is your team spending too much time answering simple questions rather than resolving complicated issues that could make the difference between retaining and losing a customer?
- Do you find it hard to keep up with tickets during high-traffic times?
- Are customers looking for assistance outside regular business hours?
- Do you struggle to keep up with support requests from multiple challenges?
- Are customer support requests communicated in different languages?
- Could you benefit from intelligent handoffs from a platform that triages and prioritizes tickets?
If your team faces those challenges, your business may benefit from deploying a chatbot for customer service.
How Are Chatbots Changing Customer Service?
Chatbots for customer service can positively impact customer relationships, but they can also benefit your customer service team and your business overall. With a customer service bot, you’ll see differences, including:
‘Round the Clock Support
Staffing a support desk with employees around the clock is costly. Furthermore, they can be difficult roles to fill due to high burnout, especially during economic downturns or labor shortages.
A customer service chatbot can be available 24/7, every day of the year. It allows you to give your customers the ability to find the information they need on their own schedules, which can boost customer satisfaction and customer retention. It also takes some of the burden off of your support staff, leading to higher employee retention as well.
Reduced Operational Costs
Labor is often the largest budget line item for customer support. Chatbots enable businesses to control customer service costs by supplementing their team’s capabilities with technology. Customer service chatbots can answer simple questions and direct customers to the resources they need, which may decrease the demand for labor on a shift.
Increased Employee Morale
Customer service agents can become disillusioned with their jobs, particularly when they have multiple impatient customers waiting in the queue. And when agents spend most of their time resetting passwords, providing tracking information, and giving people their account balances, they can become burned out.
Turning repetitive tasks over to a customer service chatbot can boost employee morale by allowing them to do what they do best: provide one-on-one service to solve problems and enhance customer relationships.
Chatbot platforms can scale up or down as needed. For example, they are expanding resources for an e-commerce business to handle a higher volume of tickets during the holiday season and use fewer resources in January.
Reduced Number of Support Tickets on Staff
Chatbots give customers a self-service option that is easy to use and provides accurate information. This reduces the number of tickets customer service teams need to address.
Ability to Gather More Data
Customer service agents working to assist people as quickly as possible may not have the time to capture the details of interactions. Chatbots, however, can collect data and even analyze call details to personalize service.
Additionally, your business can use that data after the call to gauge employee performance, create a snapshot of customers’ perceptions about your products, processes, and brand, or automate customer support metric calculations, such as first response time, first-call resolution, time to resolution, and tickets per customer.
How Chatbots Can Improve Customer Experience
Chatbots can increase satisfaction with customer service processes in several ways. AI-powered customer service chatbots can:
Replace IVR Interactions
Interactive voice response (IVR) systems are notorious for causing frustration and call abandonment. When they’re perfectly optimized, they can help route calls to the correct department or enable a caller to request to speak to an agent. However, systems with limited flexibility may not give the caller an appropriate option or they may route the caller to the wrong department.
Chatbots can completely replace IVR systems, and intelligent platforms can understand callers and their intent even if they phrase a request in an unusual way. The platform can then route the call to the correct department.
Give Instant Support
More and more, consumers expect immediate access to help. This expectation makes waiting on hold unacceptable for many of your customers and, at best, an annoyance for others. Customers should have access to a self-service option. Statista reports that 88% of consumers believe businesses should have online self-service capabilities.
A chatbot that immediately solves an issue, and may even be able to provide the information or handle the customer’s request, meets that need. Even if the issue needs attention from an agent, the customer will appreciate a quick response initially that gets them closer to a solution.
Ability to Collect Real-Time Feedback
After customer service inquiries, chatbots can conduct simple surveys about the experiences. Businesses have the benefits of collecting and analyzing that data in real time. Managers can also receive alerts about unhappy customers, enabling them to intervene quickly and end the customer journey on a positive note.
A sometimes-overlooked benefit of chatbots is their ability to communicate with people in different languages. Intelligent systems can also understand the customer’s intent and deliver the most relevant responses, regardless of the language.
When a company expands to new markets, customer support leaders may think the only option is to hire more bilingual or multilingual employees. Chatbots can reduce the need to hire more staff, and they can route to live agents who can help specific customers in different languages.
Customer service chatbots offer quick responses and, when you use an intelligent platform, understand the customer’s intent and personalize responses, so issues are resolved more quickly. Improving resolution speed with customer service chatbots can lead to higher customer satisfaction. It can also keep customer frustration in check, decreasing the number of people who abandon an attempt to resolve an issue.
Additionally, intelligent chatbots can help human agents better address complex customer issues. The chatbot can collect information and identify the issue, enabling a smooth handoff to the agent and more efficient, customer-pleasing interactions.
Create a Consistent User Experience
Because chatbots leverage information from a business’ knowledge base or online help center, customers receive the same information whether they speak to an agent or use self-service options.
Support Chatbots Help – But Don’t Replace – Customer Service Agents
Although chatbots for customer service enable a range of benefits, they don’t replace person-to-person interactions between a customer and human agents. Chatbots are better at supporting agents by handling repetitive tasks and simplifying workflows than resolving complex customer issues.
People are also better than technology at putting customers at ease when they’re upset or frustrated. When implementing a chatbot for customer service, your strategy should use your resources and your technology’s strengths to provide the best possible customer experiences.
Improved Productivity of Support Agents
Chatbots also help customer service agents enhance their productivity and performance. AI-powered chatbots can collect information, help identify customer issues, and prioritize calls for agents. By streamlining processes, chatbots rank among the best customer service tools for improving time to resolution, first contact resolution, and, ultimately, customer retention.
Examples of Chatbots for Customer Service
AI-powered chatbots are at work at all kinds of businesses today, enabling self-service, streamlining workflows for agents, and keeping customer support costs low.
Here are three customer service chatbot examples:
Example 1: STASH
STASH is an easy-to-use personal finance management app. It provides tools and guidance that simplify investing and saving and help consumers make smarter financial decisions.
STASH offers customer support through its app and on its website. The company implemented Solvvy to enable self-service and automate processes. Solvvy sits on top of the STASH support page, allowing users can ask questions in natural language and receive relevant, accurate answers.
Solvvy added an additional layer of security, masking personally identifiable information (PII). If the platform needs to route the call to an agent, the agent will receive the information, so the customer gets personalized support.
The solution has increased satisfaction among STASH’s customer base, typically younger, mobile-first consumers. Additionally, the number of tickets has not increased even though STASH’s user base has grown from 1.8 million to 2.2. million users, helping the company control customer support costs. Moreover, the company’s self-service rate rose to 50%, and triage time decreased by 26%.
Example 2: Calm
Meditation and mindfulness app, Calm, provides information on subscriptions, upgrading from a free trial, and addressing other user concerns. After it was named App of the Year in 2017, Calm’s users increased, and so did its support tickets.
After trying a traditional chatbot, Calm turned to Solvvy’s intelligent platform to deliver a higher level of customer service. Solvvy uses information from Calm’s Help Center page to allow customers to ask questions in their own words. Solvvy answers with fast, accurate answers. Solvvy also identifies and prioritizes subscription questions to keep customer satisfaction high and help Calm retain customers.
Once Calm implemented Solvvy’s platform, self-service rates increased to 47%, leading to about a 30% reduction in tickets each month. Calm also reduced response time from more than 100 hours per month to 15 hours and decreased the number of email inquiries.
Example 3: Turo
Turo is the world’s largest peer-to-peer car-sharing marketplace. It currently has over 14 million members and 450,000 vehicles listed in 5,500 cities. When customers join the platform, they tend to have many questions that can be handled quickly by self-service. Additionally, some calls need the assistance of an agent, which required routing calls to the best support channel.
Turo implemented Solvvy, which helped their customers resolve issues without talking to an agent. Customers also have the option to select their issue type, and Solvvy efficiently routes them to the appropriate channel for assistance. Solvvy leverages Turo’s support pages to provide accurate information and intelligent routing.
Since implementing Solvvy, Turo has increased its self-service rate to 41% and saved more than $500,000 with intelligent self-service. Solvvy has resolved more than 300,000 issues since Turo deployed the platform in 2017.
How do I choose the best Customer Chat Software?
Numerous chatbots are available on the market, and you’ll find that their feature sets vary. The best chatbots for customer service, however, will provide you with specific capabilities.
AI Chatbot for Customer Service Comparison Criteria
Chatbots that respond with irrelevant or inaccurate information will frustrate customers and reflect poorly on your brand. Your chatbot must be trained to interpret a user’s intent, fully understand the query, and deliver the answer the customer seeks.
Easy to Use and Manage
Businesses shouldn’t have to be experts in AI to use a chatbot. The platform should enable customer support teams to create chatbots in a no-code environment and connect or integrate chatbots with other customer service tools and business applications.
A platform that includes analytics can help customer support teams better understand customers, personalize services, and identify ways to improve customer service processes.
How to Leverage Technology to See Improvements in Customer Service Interactions
As processes become more digital, there’s concern that business interactions will lose the personal touch. However, attempting to retain legacy customer service processes, such as telephone support, can lead to more of a divide. Customers spend more time on hold than resolving their issues, and customer satisfaction suffers.
On the other hand, a chatbot for customer service provides self-service options for people who prefer it. It also helps customer service agents do their jobs better. When a chatbot handles routine requests, agents have more time to devote to customers who need their help to solve more complex problems.
Customer service metrics, such as average resolution time and first response time, can go up as well. And customers will be happier, which increases loyalty, while operating costs go down.
Customer service chatbot benefits make giving this technology a closer look. Solvvy offers a powerful conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platform for businesses in a range of markets. Solvvy’s advanced NLP model can detect meaning and sentiment and is designed for smooth handoffs when a customer needs assistance from a customer service agent.
To see Solvvy in action for yourself, request a free demo today to learn more.