It can take time for new employees to fit in with the rest of the team. In some cases they may be shy, or they have personality quirks you just weren’t expecting. None of that is an issue with chatbots, of course, but customer service teams might be even more intimidated or wary of them — at first.
The most common objections to chatbots usually focus around one or two themes. First, will chatbots put traditional customer service teams out of a job? And second, can you really trust technology to offer the kind of personal connection the best customer service agents deliver every day?
Those are both understandable concerns, but the reality is much less frightening. The chatbot technology that works with tools such as Salesforce Service Cloud consistently help service agents focus more on the things they’re really good at, while taking over things that are best left to automation. The arrival of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities such as Salesforce Einstein, meanwhile, amplify the power of chatbots to deliver a more personalized experience while integrating with solutions like CRM and marketing automation to offer richer sources of data about each customer.
Start preparing for the chatbot era of customer service today by thinking through the following action items:
Customer service agents face the ongoing challenge of staying upbeat and engaged while, in many cases, doing the same thing over and over again. Even when customers are routed to a different agent within the same contact centre, they sometimes find themselves re-entering information that has already been offered previously by the customer. This makes it frustrating for everyone involved.
Before an agent’s eyes glaze over in doing some of this grunt work, monitor their current work scenarios and identify those that result in a broken record and repetitive tasks. Some examples of tasks chatbots can easily learn and take on could include:
Correcting an invoice
Checking account profile settings and making adjustments
Common troubleshooting issues with products and services
As these and other issues are handed off to chatbots, your service agents will be able to take on more complex questions and complaints. Automation means there can be new opportunities to train them for those challenges allowing them to spend time on the most meaningful, and in many cases most critical, calls.
Think about how you train new customer service agents today. Agents may be given a certain volume of calls to handle in a given time period, or are routed the more basic questions and issues. Usually things might go well, and if they’re trained properly, they’ll know better than to make a customer service issue worse by trying to bite off more than they can chew. Instead, they’ll immediately contact their colleague or manager to escalate high-pressure situations accordingly.
Chatbots can act exactly like trainees, except that they have AI capabilities that make them deeply versed in your company’s products, services and common troubleshooting issues from their first day on the job. When customers begin to display signs of negative emotion -- more exclamation points, for instance, or phrases that suggest they’re not able to resolve things quickly and easily — chatbots can immediately route the customer to a live person in the contact centre.
Just as you would with the people on your customer service team, discuss upfront the kind of “handoff” moments where chatbots would turn to human beings for the heavy-lifting. The technology works best when it’s not treated as a siloed activity but part of the overall customer experience.
What do people typically want from a customer experience? It comes down to a few basics:
No long waits with hold music
Having some sense of being recognized as an existing customer
Not having to start their entire story from scratch
Chatbots can check off all these boxes for you. There’s no waiting because they are designed to be available 24/7, and they collect lots of pertinent background details that are essentially briefing notes for the rest of the customer service team. When issues need to be routed to a live agent, they have the opportunity to not only sound informed, but can personalize how they resolve a complaint and convey the kind of familiarity that the customer would normally associate with their sales rep.
At a bare minimum, customers expect their questions answered and their complaints successfully addressed. Mere satisfaction can quickly turn into brand love and loyalty when you offer a few extras that show customers you want to treat them as an individual. Chatbots thrive at this.
Here’s just a few things chatbots can do to nurture a relationship while your service agents deal with the mission-critical escalations:
Send a text a few hours or even a few days after the service interaction to double-check that everything’s okay.
Schedule an e-mail message to wish the customer a happy birthday, or to thank them for being a customer for a year or longer.
Promote an upcoming discount or early-bird access to purchase a new product you know they’ll love.
Great service agents have always been good at being proactive as well as reactive, offering cross-sell or upsell opportunities when they make sense. By using chatbots to do those things and more, they will simply reflect the same can-do spirit and helpful attitude that you want your entire organization to project.
Service and support can be complex in any company, but chatbots represent a unique opportunity to become faster, more efficient and ultimately more effective. They’ll also never quit for another job — instead, as you become more familiar with how to leverage their capabilities, chatbots will become increasingly valuable members of the overall team.
Learn how you can make your customer service more effective by reading our free ebook, “5 Ways to Make Service Easy for Today’s Customers.”