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Top Benefits and Best Practices of a Customer Relation Chatbot

If there is one thing we know about customers today, it is that they have high expectations. They want help (or information) fast, and they want access to be convenient. A customer relation chatbot can help deliver that. Many call centers and businesses are already finding these quasi-human resources to be surprisingly useful. And they are not going away anytime soon.

By 2020, 80% of U.S. businesses say they will be using chatbots to support internal work or enhance customer service. No wonder! A customer relation chatbot can work in tandem with your call center agents to assist online customers, but only if you do it right.

Here are some of the many benefits of chatbots and four best practices to make your digital agent the best it can be.

The Many Benefits of Chatbots

Chatbots offer a wide variety of benefits to agents, call centers, and businesses including:

  • Improving customer experience by streamlining interactions
  • Costing less than live chat agents (and potentially being even more effective when it comes to answering simple questions or directing customers to the information they need)
  • Providing customers with links to downloads or web pages for more detailed information
  • Inviting customers to take a short survey at the conclusion of the call
  • Connecting a customer to a live agent right away, if that is the best response

In many ways, chatbots are replacing the convoluted IVR systems that customers aren't very fond of, giving users a more personalized experience. For call centers, this reduces dreaded (and costly) wait times and abandoned calls. Chatbots allow human CSRs to spend their time helping callers with more complex inquiries because they are relieved of repetitive questions.

Best Practices for Your Chatbot

Chatbots do have limitations, and because they can be so diverse, creating a well-received, effective chatbot requires strategic planning. The technology is still evolving, but for now, these best practices will help you develop a customer relation chatbot that customers love.

Make a good first impression

Give your chatbot a name, and have it introduce itself immediately, as a live agent would. Pose a “How can I help you?” type question to get the conversation started. That allows the bot to identify keywords and respond accordingly. (The bot will use a pre-programmed “decision tree” to properly respond.)

Use friendly, conversational language that reflects your brand, but note that customers say they value problem-solving ability over personality.

Offer multiple ways to communicate

As a virtual assistant, your bot’s job is to provide instant answers or point customers in the right direction. It must be able to pose additional questions that clarify the customer’s need or intent. Depending on your customers and the types of help they are most likely to need, consider configuring your bot to offer click-button options as well as text chat. That way, customers can skip typing.

Make sure customers always have easy-to-access options:

  • Opting out of chat
  • Immediate access to a live agent

Monitor and analyze chatbot activity

Just as you do with live agents, monitoring chatbot usage and specific conversations will help you continuously refine the conversational and assistive aspects of the process. Take a snapshot of how your business is performing prior to launching the chatbot, that way it is easier to see how the chatbot impacts your company. Then, once your chatbot goes live, continuously analyze its conversations with your customers. Look at customers who talk to your bot most frequently, the longest, and provide the best feedback. Set a goal to turn more customer interactions into ones like those.

What About AI?

We hear a lot about AI these days, but most customer service chatbots do not use machine learning, yet. Advanced versions that do use AI can actually understand natural language. They learn from each interaction, steadily improving their “intuition” to provide more meaningful future responses. For now, AI-driven chatbots are much more expensive to design and implement.

As you consider creating your own chatbot or refining the one you have, it's important to make it personable, helpful, and the best it can be for your customers using the best practices we outlined above. If you succeed, you will reap the many benefits of a digital agent, and your customers will thank you.

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