When customers think about you and your brand, they rarely think only of the products you sell. Instead, the experience they’ve had with your company gets factored in – heavily. Let’s say you love Dell computers, for example. But if someone asks you how you feel about Dell, you’re more likely to think of the three hours you spent on the phone being passed around between different customer support representatives. Your overall impression would be one of annoyance, rather than praise of their products.
Nobody wants to be remembered for poor customer service, or to have their brand’s image tarnished by long phone waits and disjointed resolution efforts. What companies want is something like what Amazon has: streamlined, seemingly effortless customer support that delights people. If that’s what you have in mind for your own organization, are you using chatbots to help you get there? Here are three ways this technology can help you streamline your customer service and maintain a strong brand reputation.
Chatbots can create alignment and a seamless journey.
One of the most aggravating aspects of poor customer support is being passed from person to person. You may call in and share your situation, just to be told you need to wait for a manager and repeat the same story again. This can happen so many times in a row that it’s almost comical (keyword: almost). Or, you have an entire conversation with a virtual assistant, then call in to speak with an agent. That person has no context about the conversation you just had with the virtual assistant, so you’re back to square one again. It’s painful. Customers end up irritated, and with a rapidly souring perception of your company.
If you use chatbots, though, it doesn’t have to be this way. A chatbot can address customer questions directly in your interface, giving complete answers on subjects like shipping and delivery in one fell swoop. More often than not, the customer doesn’t have to go through any additional channels after this one interaction, saving them – and your team – a great deal of time.
If a customer’s issue is more complex and further support is needed, having a chatbot in place can still help, by connecting channels and creating alignment between AI and humans. A chatbot can guide the customer to the right channel and ensure the passing of the baton isn’t clunky. If the customer is being sent to a live agent, that agent will have the context they need to pick up the conversation that had started with the bot – without having to restart any of it. This, again, saves the customer and the agent time and frustration.
They personalize, which leads to faster resolution.
There have been some misconceptions over time about chatbots, and one of the most common is that the answers they give are generalized (making them less than useful). But while older technology may have delivered one-size-fits-all responses like that, modern tech is much more sophisticated. Many of today’s bots use natural language processing (NLP), which can extract the real intent behind a customer’s questions, despite how it’s written in chat. This means that the customer gets a truly specific and useful response to their query.
What’s more, chatbots now can actually give personalized service. If you have a website through which customers can sign in to their account, for instance, your bots can give recommendations or respond to the customer according to who they are. Here’s an example. Let’s say your company sells financial software and your customer logs into their account. They want to cancel their subscription and indicate this to your bot. If they’re a freemium customer, the chatbot can be programmed to allow them to easily cancel right within the interface. But if they’re a VIP customer, the bot can be programmed to route them to an agent (who can hopefully retain them instead).
Today’s chatbots are also capable of handling skills-based routing. If you own a rideshare platform, for example, you have both drivers and riders coming to your site. The bot can help identify which group the site visitor falls into and then route them to the right specialist in the right department. This saves time, again, and ensures that the visitor gets through to an agent who can help them. All of these examples mean that resolution happens faster, and more seamlessly.
Chatbots can help you upsell.
Finally, did you know that chatbots can be an extension of your sales team, while also saving your customer support team time? Consider this scenario. You work for a marketing software company, and a key sales tactic is encouraging users to sign up for more licenses and/or space. Instead of having your sales team reach out for this, your chatbot can do it.
You can program the bot to proactively nudge the customer, by saying something like: “You’re getting close to your maximum number of contacts; would you like to upgrade?” Then, they can help complete the transaction right there in the interface. This also spares your customer service team from fielding so many calls about add-ons, making the whole machine more efficient.
Similarly, chatbots can make personalized product recommendations. If a customer communicates they’re looking for a certain type of product, the bot can suggest several options that fit their specs. This can help customers find what they want, and keep your live team focused on the bigger and more complex sales and customer situations.
The possibilities are nearly endless with modern chatbots, especially when it comes to streamlining customer support and improving your ROI. So the only question that remains is… will you start using bots to better satisfy your customers – and make your own company thrive?
To learn more about how Solvvy can help streamline your customer support operations, sign up for a live demo here!