My Own Personal Robot: Scale Up Your Customer Service Game With Chatbots
05 Jul, 2021
Customer service bots in the age of machine learning: it sounds like the unsexy bureaucratic future none of us voted for. But automated customer service doesn't have to resemble the soul-less dystopia of “Total Recall” or “Minority Report.” In fact, when it comes to connecting more to visitors and customers, we are finding that people have started to value that robotic touch as much as the human one. This article looks at some of the benefits of chatbots for optimizing customer service.
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The global chatbot market value today is over 500 million USD with an estimated fivefold increase in the next 7 years. Chatbot customer service optimization is not just a huge growth market but also the undeniable future for e-commerce.
And yet, there is resistance to the Bot for reasons that we hope to show are somewhat unfounded. But before we get to that, let’s start with this: What is a customer service chatbot?
Powered by AI, customer service bots deliver interactive answers to customer questions in real-time. Bots offer bite-sized information in human sounding language to shoppers browsing your site in need of help.
One of the most interesting things about the Bot is that it is always learning and always refining. It uses AI technology to learn from data it collects so that it is always improving on every customer interaction.
There are a few perceived disadvantages with chatbots. The main one is that they lack the human touch and can’t respond with the nuance of a real person. This is fair enough. As mentioned above, however, advances in bot-based machine learning are already improving nuanced customer service in this regard. Their integral AI power means they are constantly self-optimizing. Plus there are those who like the objective tone of the bot as well. It’s harder to get upset at Bot. Less anger means a longer, healthier life. Thanks for that, little bot.
Another issue: the Bots are taking human jobs. Rather than taking jobs, chatbots free up customer service workers to attend to more pressing matters related to your customer. Sure, a human customer service agent can answer a frequently asked question about a return policy, or they can deal with more complex and creative minded solutions to problems someone who just bought your hottest new items might have.
One area where chatbots can be a legitimate problem: generational divides. Older customers need and expect more human interaction. But when we get to Gen X, according to Accenture research, age-based bot concerns become a non-issue. By the time we get to iGen, customers are embracing the bot full on—and actually expect it. The advice here: know your customers. If you have a lot of 65+ shoppers, maybe the bot isn’t quite right. But if your customer base was born after the Moon Landing, by all means: Go Bot!
Still not sure if this bot-based customer service optimization is for your business? No problem. Here are 8 reasons why it's beneficial for your brand to go full bot now.
According to IBM, chatbots can answer 80% of standard questions. If customer service agents are repeating the same answers that can be quite tedious for worker morale. But here’s the thing: the chatbot doesn’t mind. Far better to have the bot dealing with some of the necessary, albeit perfunctory questions of customer service.
Unlike customer care executives, chatbots are on the clock all the time! They don’t take holidays or breaks. They never get fatigued or angry! They never have a backlog of people waiting to get through as they are available to everyone at the same time. This is great for people shopping all over the world and outside of the normal ‘business hours’.
According to Sales Styles recently-published 2020 Ecommerce Stats Report, the most common time that consumers are most likely to make a purchase is Mondays and Thursdays with the peak time between 8pm and 9pm. That is technically after hours but this is where you can get the most bang for your buck—with a bot!
Personalization And Upselling - CHA-CHING!
Chatbots not only help in engaging with customers but they can also help with selling products. Though the most obvious use for customer service chatbots at this point is to answer the most common questions people have when they go to your store, you can also program the Bot to give the users a more personalized shopper experience—and more personalization leads to greater conversions. You can also program your bot to upsell and recommend other items. Personalization, conversions, and customer service? Cha-ching!
The Omnichannel Bot
In today’s non-linear, multi-device shopping journeys, you need a consistent voice across channels all day (and night). One way to help unify an omnichannel approach to marketing is through the ever-ready chatbot—always there to assist no matter the channel a shopper is contacting your brand. Syncing chatbot answers across various platforms leads to more consistency in tone and voice—which omnichannel shoppers value.
A customer service agent can only help one person at a time—that means long wait times on the phone and friction for customers. Chatbots can supply answers to any number of customers concurrently at hyper-speed. Less friction. More fun.
Chatbot technology is relatively cheap. Sure, you have to invest time into giving it the info at the start, but this pays dividends. According to IBM chatbots reduce customer service costs by more than 30%.
Up Your Social Proof: Better Goodwill & Reviews
Customers who can get a faster response are happier and prone to leave better reviews. What’s more: you can also program your bot to ask for feedback! This is especially useful as an exit strategy for when people are leaving your site. Did a shopper buy a product? If not, why not? Generating customer feedback for products and user experience (UX) equates to big qualitative data to help improve your brand—courtesy of the bot.
Chatbots can be programmed to communicate in whatever languages you choose. People like clear and easy answers in their language of choice. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to communicate with someone who doesn't speak your language. A huge problem solved here with the polyglot bot.
We live fast, online lives and we want answers on the double. But humans can only answer so many calls. This is where chatbots can offer solutions to your brand — solutions that can increase customer satisfaction and lower costs. Moreover, the functionality of the bot is already starting to move beyond customer service and into other areas of the shopping experience, from product page personalization to customer feedback.
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