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Is a chatbot really necessary for your company's customer service?

Is a chatbot really necessary for your company's customer service?

September 2, 2020

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Introduction

Chatbots, which are in essence automated conversationalist has become increasingly sophisticated. Is it necessary to deploy and design one that is able to interact with your customers? If you are an executive making that exact decision right now, you may be stretched between AI hype on the one hand, and the fear that machines might not treat your customers right on the other but the fact is that customer service needs to be automated due to constant customer’s requests, it would help you focus on your core business.

Chatbots cover many categories, that includes everything from automated text chat on a company’s customer service page to Alexa smart speakers. The most powerful chatbots powered by AI are the ones that can actually make an impact on customers’ experience, and company craves are virtual agents. These kinds of chatbots are fueled by artificial intelligence that can understand and answer a wide variety of customer questions.

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Chat implemented virtual agents scan the customer’s request, and combine that with whatever other information is available to them (their geographic location, past purchases, account settings, past purchases), and then identify the customer’s intent: what she is trying to accomplish. The intents of a telecom company customer can include: “reset my password,” “help me move,” “upgrade my service,” or “fix my nonworking service.” Once it has identified the intent, the virtual agent responds with a script intended to resolve the customer’s problem.Customer service chatbot can come in handy in many situations.

Like many successful automation efforts, customer service chatbots can significantly reduce costs, but the improvements they make in customer experience are far more impactful. Bots are without any problem available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they happily answer customers’ questions more quickly than human agents can. At the car rental company named Avis Budget, virtual agents were able to identify and also automate 68% of service calls. Just as Web automation in the 90s and mobile apps in the 2010s improved customer convenience, suitably designed virtual agents can improve customer satisfaction. The U.S. television operator named Dish Network, customers already rate their satisfaction after chats with a virtual agent without many discrepancies with responses from human agents, and those scores are improving as the virtual agent can handle more questions more effectively.

Is a customer service chatbot necessary for your company?

Virtual agents are the most effective in customer service applications in some service-heavy industries like retail, financial services, travel, and telecom.

For companies that handle a high number of service demands, the effects can be significant. A company named Dish Network maintained many call centres to handle questions about billing, installation, and technical questions. Then it deployed a virtual agent called “DiVA” that automated the most common 30% of customers’ intents, addressing 4 million customer interactions per year. DiVA can calmly walk you through the steps to set up your remote control with a new TV or approve your request for extra time to pay your bill.

DiVA now handles 40% of customers’ questions on its own, and the company is actively working on expanding the listing of intents it handles, potentially impacting millions of more requests. Not only that, but chatbot can also be of great help booking customers for your company. For example, in hair saloon or car industry, your chatbot can reach new costumers and guide them through booking a meeting just through chatting with them. It is an easy and powerful way of doing that, and what is great, most of the people prefer it that way.

How to get started?

For deploying a virtual agent, you need to first prepare your systems. Virtual agents are trained in recognizing a customer’s intent if they are not wired into the systems of record that hold your customer information.

Start with smaller projects where you can demonstrate success. Dish Network first deployed virtual agents specifically to help with the flood of orders for pay-per-view fights. After some time the system had proven itself in that context, the company began to expand it to the broader set of customer service questions. If you are still not sure if your company needs one, read our latest blog that explains how it can boost your customer support even more and save you both time and money.

Conclusion

Remember that virtual agents improve over time. The number of intents they can conceive will expand as your company identifies which questions are still getting redirected to human agents. A virtual agent system will keep getting better, especially if you have set it up in the right application, with the right goals, and in the right channels to maximize success, agencies specialized in chatbots can help you greatly in that effort.

We think this sort of conversational interface to companies is going to displace the current app and Web interfaces over the long term, simply because it is faster and in many cases, better for the customer.

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