When customers reach out to a company for service, they expect fast response times and resolutions, no matter what channel they use. Agents, however, can only handle so many cases at a time. How do you scale support?
Enter customer service chatbots.
These chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to answer common customer questions. They help customers quickly resolve simple questions and concerns and free up agents for complex, human interactions.
Customer service chatbots tackle simple, repetitive tasks that don’t require the soft skills and experience of an agent. For example, if a customer asks how to reset a password or wants to know an estimated delivery time, a customer service chatbot quickly answers the question by accessing relevant information automatically. At the same time, your agents stay focused on solving complex problems and building relationships with customers.
If your company is just beginning to invest in a chatbot, your first objective is to identify the most common tasks and customer requests to determine what to automate. Keep the following six tips in mind when designing your initial AI-powered chatbot:
You train customer service agents to be friendly, greet customers by name, and recognise their status or tier of service. Your AI interface can do the same things within your chatbot. Program chatbots to pull in values like “First Name” for customers who are already logged in, to ensure chatbots greet them in a natural way.
Most customers don’t want to fill out a form online and then wait 24 hours to get a response. An AI customer service chatbot that dynamically asks different questions based on customer inputs is more engaging. It also helps resolve the customer’s concern faster. Even if an agent ultimately steps in to help, they will already have the information collected by the chatbot available in their console.
Instead of prompting customers to visit your FAQ page, have chatbots bring the answers to your customers. Load your top-level FAQ questions — including any follow-up questions and their corresponding answers — into your AI interface. With natural language processing (NLP), chatbots recognise language as it’s used in everyday interactions, making it easy for your customers to get the answers they seek.
You’ve likely enabled service across a few digital channels — like mobile messaging, web chat, and social — so your customers can reach out in the way they prefer. But the average customer now uses nine different channels to communicate with companies. That means there are plenty of opportunities to evolve customer service to meet ever-changing expectations. Start by digging into your analytics to find the channel that gets the most traffic for your business, then find the top ten most common requests on that channel. Save time for your agents by programming your chatbot to answer those requests.
Basic text is good for answering simple questions, but rich text — including boldface, italics, fonts, font sizes, and font colors — delivers the wow factor. Imagine being able to insert images or even interactive menus into a chat conversation. Based on customer questions, your chatbot shows a menu of products, a selection of knowledge articles, or more options for customer support, all within the chat.
Empower customers to help themselves with guided, step-by-step directions right there in the chat. Ask your team which tasks would be easy for customers to complete on their own. These are the ones your agents could execute with their eyes closed (like replacing a lost credit card). Once you’ve identified a few simple tasks, program chatbots to guide customers from start to finish. In the case of complex issues, the chatbot may still have to hand off the conversation to an agent. But the agent is well-primed because chatbots collect information that helps them resolve each case quickly.
Your customers will appreciate how customer service chatbots provide quick, efficient resolutions to their questions and concerns. Meanwhile, your agents will stay focused on complex customer service challenges instead of answering frequently asked questions. That’s how your business can easily scale support to handle any surge in cases, whenever they come your way.
Learn how AI-powered customer service chatbots can:
This post originally appeared in the U.S.-version of the Salesforce blog.