A lot has been said about chatbots, not all of it good. But the truth of the matter is, if you’re not using a chatbot in 2022, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity to help your team and make your customer experience even better.
AI-driven chatbots and other automations lighten the load on your customer service agents and let them focus on high-value customer inquiries rather than getting bogged down in repetitive questions that could easily be handled by a bot.
This comes with a caveat though: if you don’t introduce chatbots in a thoughtful and strategic way, tailored to your team and company, you risk alienating your customers.
Dixa’s Chief CX Evangelist Tue Søttrup, who brings more than 20 years of customer service experience to the table, recently sat down with Customer Contact Week (CCW) to share his strategies for introducing a chatbot to your team. We’ve collected the key takeaways here, but if you’d like to hear the full conversation, check out the webinar.
Do Chatbots Really Reduce the Burden on Your Agents?
Short answer? Yes! We know you get a ton of customer inquiries and a lot of these don’t require the human touch. If you can reduce the number of low-impact inquiries that your agents need to handle (questions that don’t create value for the customer, the agent, or the brand for that matter) your agents will have more time to prioritize and focus on high-value questions that create a greater impact.
On the customer side, most customers prefer to help themselves when it comes to straightforward requests, so by offering self-service options like a chatbot that can easily serve information to customers without them having to wait for an agent, you’re delivering a better customer experience right off the b(o)t.
How to Successfully Implement a Chatbot
Listen to Your Frontline Team
Ask your team where they think a chatbot would help out the most. Empowering your agents and treating them like partners in your business will help create a happier, more fulfilled team and reduce agent churn.
Start by asking frontline team members for the most frequently asked customer questions. If your team isn’t sure where to begin, collect your next 50-100 customer questions, and then bundle them into different categories.
Get your agents to write down answers to these questions and use them with customers. Once you’re secure in their success rate, let the chatbot take over (using these responses).
Start Small & Measure the Impact
Turning on a chatbot without investing time in set-up and optimization is tantamount to dumping all of the ingredients for a delicious risotto into your pan at once, setting the burner on high, walking away from the stove, and… expecting a delicious meal upon your return. Impossibly naive at best and willfully ignorant at worst.
Measuring the impact of your chatbot is key. Start by introducing it into one particular “branch” of your conversation flow builder, and once you have a good success rate there, then you can build another branch, and, of course, keep refining these over time. Don’t try to implement your new chatbot in too many places at once, because you won’t be able to keep track of what is and isn’t working.
Set Your Chatbot up for Success
Where does the chatbot create value for your customers and your agents? When responding to an inquiry, the chatbot should be armed with automation based on business logic: how long has this customer been with the company, how much money have they spent, how many times has this particular incident occurred, and what is the cost/value of assisting the customer without escalating to an agent.
For example, say you run a meal-kit company, and one of your customers doesn’t receive something that was supposed to be in their order. The chatbot can use the business logic you’ve set to solve the problem right away and credit the missing item without ever having to involve an agent.
Create a Seamless Handover
Chatbot-to-human handover needs to be seamless. Make sure that a customer can always request to speak to a live agent and that a chatbot will introduce an agent into the conversation if need be. Nothing’s worse than dealing with an ineffective bot that can’t solve your problem and keeps blocking you from getting real help.
Recent research by Dixa shows that 21% of consumers rate chatbots as wasting their time – this figure illustrates that, unfortunately, in many instances, chatbots are being used in the wrong way. They should by no means encourage deflection at all costs, but simply remove friction points in the customer experience by providing fast help to simple questions. The number one rule for introducing a chatbot to your support suite is to always have an agent available to take over from the bot, just in case the customer needs to speak to a human.
Let’s Not Bot Around the Bush!
If you take your time and introduce a chatbot to your customer service suite in a strategic manner, you’ll see the results immediately.
The better you get at utilizing chatbots, the more time your agents can spend on valuable questions that make a greater business impact.
So what are you waiting for?! If you want to explore chatbot options for your business, check out our list of the top 7 chatbots for 2022. And for a deeper dive on all things chatbot, check out Human! Agent! When and How to Successfully Elevate Your CX with Automation and Chatbots here.