Anyone who has ever tried to contact a company through a call center knows that the process can be discouraging and repetitive. This is not the case with trying to contact every company on the face of the earth, but you would be lying if you tried to tell me that you have had a pleasurable experience every time you have called customer service. So what can be done to improve the perceived dreadful experience of contacting customer service?
One Digital Deflection tool is a Chatbot. A Chatbot is essentially a computer program that simulates human conversation through artificial intelligence (AI). In the contact center and customer experience world, a Chatbot acts a customer service representative that a customer can communicate with online. A customer can ask them questions and even request account information. Depending on the situation, a Chatbot is programmed to learn what a customer says to better personalize each interaction.
Here Are 5 Reasons To Use A Chatbot In Your Contact Center
Delivers continuity across different media
Maintain session information
Frees human agents
How Can A Chatbot Deliver Continuity Across Different Media?
The same Chatbot login can be deployed across text/SMS, web chat, and voice channels, which creates a truly superior customer experience based on automation. The hallmark of a well designed Chatbot deployment is that all of the various ways your customers want to contact you are covered. However, it may be that some of those ways have not yet been supported by Chatbot technology, so you put it on the road map for future development.
We want to use the Chatbot to ensure that our method for handling a voice call is the same as our method for handling an SMS text communication. We use the Chatbot engine to take the input from either the voice or SMS text and ensure that the inputs undergo the same processing and submission.
Since a Chatbot is packaging for a self-service automation solution, it will enforce repeatable results for supported transactions and customer inquiries. Chatbots can understand and interpret more than you would think. They can take a complex block of text from a customer and boil it down by specific keywords, action phrases, and Natural Language Understanding (NLU). They will take that distilled information and submit the actions to the back end system. Or, take that information and use it to gather more information.
Here is an example of a potential interaction with a Chatbot: Hotel reservation text/Chatbot scenario
Jeff Buzhardt: “This is Jeff Buzhardt. I would like to reserve a room in Dallas from Wednesday through Saturday morning. It would be great to be close to the pool and exercise room this time. My loyalty number is #######.”
Bot: “Hello Jeff. We have rooms available for your dates, at the same location. Could you please tell me again where on the property you would like the room?”
Jeff Buzhardt: “I would like a room close to the pool.”
Bot: “Ok. I have you set up in your Dallas property from Wednesday though Saturday Morning in the King room, close to the pool. I have attached your loyalty card, ######, to the reservation, along with your parent on file. May i Help you with anything else today?”
Jeff: “No, thank you. Have a good day.”
Bot: “You too Mr. Buzhardt”
I do not think that Media Hopping is an industry buzz word or term, but it is the term that I like to use because it acts as an eloquent functional description. In its most basis usage, media hopping is moving a transaction from one media channel, to a better-suited media channel for that specific transaction. One example of this might be beginning a transaction with texting/SMS and moving to voice communications.
Being in the contact center and telecommunications industry, it is known and understood that customers want to interact with customer service representatives via texting/SMS. From a Chatbot perspective, your customers will most likely choose to engage the Chatbot via texting as well. Somewhere during the transaction, either the complexity of the inquiry, or the customer’s needs could indicate that a shift to voice communication would be better suited to finish the transaction. Chatbots and the underlying technology, when properly implemented, support this media hopping functionality with ease, leaving little to no gap in the transaction process for the customer.
Maintain Session Information
Media hopping would not be nearly as effective if the previous session information were not maintained. Session information is the identifying and historical data that is associated with a transaction or inquiry by a customer. It is common for historical transactions to be rendered to a contact center agent, if agent interaction is necessary at any time during the transaction with a Chatbot. The session information that is maintained are, authentication information, initial transactional desire, current transactional desire, and completed transactional steps. Here at MicroAutomation, we typically maintain the session information in our Context Engine.
Automation Frees Your Contact Center Agents For Priority Tasks
A recent article from CIO magazine quantifies large resource savings by using automation. Without going into a full-blown survey and analysis, consider the tasks that your contact center agents perform on a weekly basis. How many of them are fairly repetitive or straightforward? What percentage of total transaction time do those customer interactions consume? If you can effectively apply automation to those tasks, that time will accrue back to the organization, and agents can focus on higher value tasks. Chatbot technology offers the opportunity to obfuscate the technology to the caller and the agent, increasing the likelihood they will actually communication through this medium.
One major issue in the contact center industry is that new technology deployments, especially in communication, have a low rate of customer adoption. One survey indicates that Chatbot adoption may be slow for the same reasons other contact center automation has been slow to adopt in the past. Since the potential benefit to our business is so high, we need to ensure that out Chatbot project is sufficiently funded and designed to include activities that will encourage customers to adopt this method of communication.
Chatbots offer advantages to the contact center, agents, and customers. We need to follow a general methodology to ensure that we are successful:
Engage an experienced Chatbot provider
Understand your end-users
Manage the project
Follow stringent UAT
Manage the go-live and post-active project periods