How AI and chatbots strengthen your customer service team
Chatbot and AI technology is accessible to every business in some shape or form. We’ll be talking about how excellent it is for customer service. As well as supporting brand image and brand advocacy, it’s cost-efficient and helps you plan and deploy your resources effectively.
It can also be used very effectively in promotional marketing, so we’ll talk a little bit about this too. If you haven’t dipped your toe into the world of bots and AI before, let us be your guide.
Bots & AI – summary of features and benefits
- Ease demands on human resources
- Provide wraparound 24/7 customer service
- Handle high value of enquiries
- Reduce actual call times
- Remove the human being for the quick query
- Leave complex and nuanced queries to humans
- Offer resolutions at the customer’s convenience
- Provide instant customer satisfaction
- Supports brand equity, loyalty, and advocacy
- Meet the pain points of your customers (or field teams)
- Inform and evolve your service using detailed BI
- A standalone service (not tied to fulfilment)
Best uses of chatbots and AI in customer service
A bot shouldn’t take over the customer support function. This technology best occupies a space where they can excel – satisfying customer needs quickly and accurately. This is generally where:
- There’s a high volume of enquiries
- Where the query is simple
- As triage, answered by the bot or handed to a human customer service advisor
- To capture and evaluate data for insight that shows how processes can improve
The trick to getting the balance right between bot and human is understanding that bots are very good at handling direct enquiry types but humans add common sense. As amazing as this technology is, when it comes to customer satisfaction, human empathy and brain power are still superior.
But AI is catching up. And when it comes to data, the bots win hands down. More about that later.
Where can bots be used in customer service?
- Pre-sale, providing information to help customers make decisions
- Post sale, with troubleshooting, helplines and returns advice
- Promotional marketing campaigns (like Send Me A Sample)
- Promotional marketing campaigns that require receipt validation
- Reward schemes and customer loyalty schemes
- Field teams, for troubleshooting and kitting enquiries
Is a bot the same as AI?
So, bots are very good at getting through high volumes of direct enquiries, while nuanced calls can be passed to a human customer service advisor. But what’s the difference between a bot and AI?
At Granby, we use Microsoft Azure and also build bespoke bots, including those that have machine learning.
This is a programme of questions and answers. The programme’s knowledge base is this list of FAQs and it will try to interpret your enquiry to its knowledge base and give you a helpful answer. It only knows as much as the knowledge it’s been given. Any new information must be given to it.
A bot can operate on all kinds of channels, from web chat, to social media, to voice search (via Alexa). So your customers can have their question answered whichever they find most convenient – and on Google, your bot can reply to a query on the go.
A bot stands in for a person. More often than not, it’s obvious you’re talking to technology, though occasionally a brand’s copywriter has done such a good job it’s difficult to tell! Who hasn’t said ‘thank you’ to a bot?
AI (machine learning)
A bot enhanced by machine learning will use its experience to improve its performance. This is AI.
“Artificial intelligence is the capability of a computer system to mimic human cognitive functions such as learning and problem-solving. Machine learning is … the process of using mathematical models of data to help a computer learn without direct instruction … to continue learning and improving on its own, based on experience”
Microsoft, Artificial intelligence vs machine learning
AI is the sweet spot for customer service. It gives an extra dimension to how well bots can respond to queries.
Machine learning allows cognitive search, which means AI can understand the nature of an enquiry even if, in the bot’s eyes, the human isn’t communicating it very well. It’s intuitive and much more nuanced, though there are still times when a query needs to be handled by a human.
AI and data – deeper insight, faster resolutions
AI will record customer support data from various channels (it will convert speech to text). Its machine learning will then analyse the queries and conversations to gain deeper insight that it can use to inform decisions and actions.
The bots will analyse keywords to accurately monitor sentiment and pain points, which can be an early warning system if something’s not quite right with a product or service, allowing it to be resolved quickly.
Keyword analysis is more objective than asking a human to score sentiment on a call log.
AI might be able to respond to the query itself. If it can’t, it will escalate the query to an advisor, and pass the context of the call over too so they can hit the ground running and resolve the query efficiently.
Say no to customer service chatbot horror!
We’ve all got one – probably more than one!
- The government bot that thought it had answered a query and kicked you out of the chat.
- The customer service bot that sent you in an infinite loop when you just wanted to know where your order was.
- The poor handover from a bot to a customer service adviser, who called you by the wrong name and asked you to summarise your problem. Again.
- A bot that couldn’t understand your lovely regional accent and kicked you out of the chat.
- Not being able to escalate your enquiry to a real person when a bot has failed.
- This is when a business uses a bot as a one-stop-shop for customer service. Unfortunately, it reeks of being too small to cope or too big to care. Don’t be that brand! At least offer an email address.
The future of customer service is people and chatbots/AI working in balance. If you’d like to talk to us about how bots and AI can improve your customer service – and your business – get in touch.
Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash
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