Send in the Bots
Bots are software-based, AI-powered services that via machine learning, semantic and cognitive services are able to respond to customer requests either via text or voice
A study says that customers who never had problems with a product or a vendor are actually overall less satisfied than customers who did experience problems and had them solved.
Customer service has been considered as the ultimate battlefield for customer loyalty. In a world with easy access to knowledge about suppliers, products, prices, and reviews the main differentiator in most businesses should be how customers experience the company and the product. When a customer has a good experience buying a service or a product, this customer is likely to become a returning customer and will also validate the company or product to family and friends.
The salient point for decision makers is that great customer service is costly. Companies communicate with customers on multiple platforms (omnichannel) and need employees to handle all tickets coming in, but also need experts to handle more complex tickets. This requires a lot of resources and with a 24/7 customer support also hundreds of FTE’s.
A deflection between 40-60% of tickets at companies that implement customer self-service
Acknowledging the need for customer support and the cost related, technology has evolved rapidly to meet these needs. «Self-service customers» quickly became a buzzword, but simply it means allowing the customers to raise issues and finding the answers by themselves in portals. This leads to fewer tickets and also helps increase customer satisfaction when customers find the answers by themselves instead of waiting for a service desk to help. However, customers experiencing issues that cannot be solved via self-service will find the service agents more available due to the decrease in tickets. I have seen cases with a deflection between 40-60% of tickets at companies that implement customer self-service.
This is just the very first step in the evolution of customer service. Next are the bots to assist in customer service. We are not talking full-on robocop style personnel in customer service – we are talking software-based, AI-powered services that via machine learning, semantic and cognitive services are able to respond to customer requests either via text or voice depending on the channel.
These bots are so effective that sometimes it is hard to tell if you have been communicating with a bot or a real person. Recently I had a conversation with a customer service agent named Chelsea about my purchase of a product. It wasn’t until I read the transcript of our conversation, that I knew Chelsea was a bot.
Bots are not a thing of the future. Chances are that most of you have already interacted with a bot when communicating with a customer service. Bots are a great way to help customers and if the company has a decent knowledge database or FAQ, it only takes a simple and low-cost solution to deflect even more tickets from human service agents.
Personally, I believe that bots will replace human first line support within a few years – leaving human customer support to take care of the more complex tickets… for now. However, I think trying to pass off bots as real human beings is underestimating the customers of today. I do not think that anyone would have trouble communicating with a bot if companies make sure to explain why the company is using bots.