Chatbots and their impact on the customer journey
Chatbots are an old concept given new life by recent technological advances. Starting in the 2000s, the rise of broadband internet, mobile devices, and now messaging services within the enterprise have spurred organizations to seek ways to capitalize on new channels of engagement. Enter chatbots, which have come a long way since the ELIZA natural language processing program inaugurated the category at MIT in the 1960s. Today’s chatbot technologies are much more capable in comparison, especially in their abilities to incorporate and respond to new information on the fly.
Why chatbots and customer service are a perfect match
That nimbleness makes them ideal within the messaging channel, whether for customer-facing tasks like quick inquiry response or internal workflows such as agent training. According to Gartner, more than half of companies had already invested in virtual customer assistants by 2018 and by 2020, one-quarter of all customer operations could involve one of these chatbots.
Chatbots excel at delivering fast, detailed answers that resolve complaints without human intervention. Their implementation can reduce the number of email and voice inquiries by as much as 70 percent, which fuels higher customer satisfaction as well as savings on the operation of traditional voice and email channels.
The particular advantages of chatbots – their automation, 24/7 availability, and high adaptability – directly address some of the biggest problems in the traditional online customer experience, like not being able to find basic information and answers to simple question or having to wait too long to get a response over email or phone. Higher customer satisfaction is possible through the use of chatbots.
Where the chatbot fits into the customer journey: 3 examples
Client data is the fuel for customer service chatbots, much as scripts were for ELIZA. Information such as knowledge base, online orders, call center interaction histories, and website browsing details can be synthesized and applied by chatbots at multiple stages of the customer journey. Many use cases based on chatbot can be imagined, but three will impact the value chain of many industries:
1. Cross-selling and upselling to customers
Say you go to a website and purchase a pack of socks via chatbot. The chatbot could analyze the details of the transaction and use them to suggest similar items and/or products that other customers bought in conjunction with those socks. It could built its suggestions via similarities in quality or complementary relationships (e.g., a color-matching belt or pair of shoelaces), and present them in a clear layout, with extensive product details, none of which would be viewable if engaged only via voice. Such cross-sells and upsells account for the majority of all revenue, and chatbots can create new opportunities here.
2. Agent onboarding and training
Chatbots can help employees help customers. Using a bot framework, an HR department can streamline the answering of basic questions during onboarding, oversee the management of shifts, and create product knowledge bases to train and regularly reevaluate sales agents. All of these processes would otherwise require a great deal of human time. Accordingly, customer service organizations that use chatbots might enjoy operational advantages by being able to deploy resources to high-priority projects instead of more routine HR activities.
3. Knowledge base enabling
FAQs and knowledge bases are useful resources, but not everyone can find them in a pinch or locate the exact answers they need. In these situations, chatbots can speed up the process of finding the right information. They’re not just gateways to the knowledge base, but enablers of better customer service through fast and accurate answers. Chatbots have instant access to the KB as well as other resources like order histories (if applicable) to leverage in these scenarios.
A smooth customer journey is the ticket to a better bottom line. Learn more about how chatbots improve the customer experience from the director of Logic20/20’s Technology Practice, Greg Clayes.
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