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Usher in a new era of customer service with AI-powered chatbots

Krishna Charan

July 14, 20226 min read

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Is your agent productivity dwindling because of the sheer volume of customer queries?

Chances are that it’ll eventually start eating into your customer experience and satisfaction too!

There comes a point when hiring in excess to meet the support demand stops yielding dividends. Increasing agent count can be a temporary fix to handle seasonal spikes in query volume. But it’s not practical if you want to keep your business scalable without compromising quality. 

To that end, let’s explore how AI-powered chatbots can automate responses 24/7 and improve your CSAT ratings with fast and accurate resolutions.

7 unmatched benefits of customer service chatbots

AI-powered chatbots help bring the elusive “control” customers seek when they reach out for support. Chatbots liberate customers from the long queues, hold times, and cold transfers that a typically busy contact center puts them through. 

Here are a few ways AI-powered chatbots can salvage agent productivity and meet customer expectations on speed and quality.

1. Deliver instant support 24/7

Increase customer satisfaction by providing instant, round-the-clock support with a lean support team. 75% of consumers expect a response within 5 minutes of contact, and chatbots comfortably meet this expectation with quick, contextual replies.

2. Increase agent productivity

80% of the customer queries agents receive are repetitive, simple questions. AI chatbots can understand customer intent and keywords to respond with relevant pre-created responses. This gives agents the much-needed space to focus on resolving high-impact and complex customer service problems.

3. Assist agents with AI suggestions and customer context

Advanced AI chatbots can detect customer intent, sentiment, and context at a message level. These bots can provide your agents with smart reply suggestions and the intel they require to add more contextual, hyper-personalized responses that make customers feel valued.

4. Resolve customer issues with error-free guided customer workflows 

Your agents can build conversational workflows within an AI chatbot that can guide customers directly or help agents take customers through long processes like troubleshooting, scheduling appointments, updating addresses, payment information, and so on.

5. Switch intent during an ongoing conversation

An AI-powered chatbot can detect the shifting customer intent within a conversation and understand when to change the flow of replies to suit customer needs. In cases where the intent is not identifiable, it can gracefully hand over the bot-customer conversation to an agent.

6. Fill up the knowledge gaps with customer-focused insights

Chatbots, when integrated with customer service software and self-service portals, fetch additional knowledge about customer preferences. AI-powered chatbots help your contact center derive insights from customer conversations to identify the need for more knowledge resources, pinpoint operational inefficiencies, and find solutions for recurring customer problems.

7. Cut business costs and improve ROI

Chatbots can fetch instant responses from FAQs and solution articles, increasing the first contact resolution rate while bringing down your contact center overheads. In 2022, chatbots are expected to cut global business costs by $8 billion, significantly up from the estimated $20 million savings five years ago.

How to prep your support team for chatbot implementation?

Before adopting customer service technology like AI, chatbots, or any support tool for that matter, your agents and customers should be at the forefront of decision-making. Companies need to work out the mutual needs of their agents and customers to arrive at their AI and chatbot requirements.

Involve your agents at every step of chatbot deployment

Get your agents and supervisors into all conversations about new tech deployment. Agents have first-hand experience dealing with varied customer issues, which is why they would be the best judge before you zero in on the right AI-powered chatbot solution.

This image shows the 5 questions to ask your support team before deploying a chatbot for customer service.

5 must-have features of a customer service chatbot

AI-powered chatbots offer functionalities that can change how contact centers function and deliver customer delight. Consider and evaluate these chatbot features before deploying one for your company.

This image shows the 5 features to look out for in a chatbot for customer service.

1. No-code chatbot and conversation builder

Look out for conversational chat flows between your bot and customers in an easy-to-use builder, with zero lines of code and limited training.

2. AI-driven customer intent detection

The chatbot platform should let you test and identify customer intents and help the bot provide the correct answers. Agents should be able to keep track of ongoing user-bot conversations without leaving their integrated workspace.

3. Deploy across all channels at once

Evaluate if your bot offers omnichannel customer service capabilities or has any limitations. This way, you will help reduce the customer wait time on high-volume channels such as live chat and instant messaging with quick responses.

4. Customize your bot’s look and feel

Deploy a chatbot that lets you meet your company’s brand tone and visual choices. Customizable AI chatbots with interactive features such as buttons, quick actions, forms, and carousels can make the conversations highly engageable for customers.

5. Capture and store the context behind customer requests

Evaluate the chatbot for real-time dashboards and reporting capabilities that draw insights and find common patterns in bot-customer conversations. This cross-channel transfer of actionable customer information and pain points will help in providing better service to your customers.

Best practices while using chatbots for customer service

Integrate your knowledge base with instant messaging channels

Respond to common customer queries by plugging in solution articles from your knowledge base. Design conversation flows for your chatbots to scan your knowledge base and community discussions and recommend them to customers if found relevant.

Use AI bots to add quality assurance to your support

Set up AI bots that scour through entire agent conversations to build performance reports with actionable pointers for support improvements. Trigger tasks like form-filling, due diligence, and financial activities with robotic process automation (RPA) bots that can pop into a conversation window effortlessly. 

Leverage conversational AI to respond at scale

Integrate your messaging apps, speech-based assistants, and chatbots to automate communication with a human touch and deliver personalized customer experiences. You can humanize bot conversations further by providing continuous feedback to the AI engine used in bot conversations.

Encourage agents to train the chatbots with new intents 

Support agents get a front-row view of the most common issues your customers face. Encourage your agents to use their discretion to recognize questions that require a dedicated solution article to make life easier for themselves and the customers. Give them all the tools they need to manage every knowledge resource effectively.

An image with a quick tip that says, build conversation flows that branch out to a proactive support workflow. This can be done by suggesting prompts such as next steps, talk to an agent, avail a coupon code, or schedule an appointment when your AI system detects signs of opportunity, abandonment, distress, or uncertainty.

What are the chatbot metrics and goals that matter in customer service?

To get a granular idea of your chatbot's performance, continuously monitor the touchpoints where they make a tangible impact.

  • Percentage of cases deflected by the bot

  • Accuracy of the AI models and intent detection

  • Number of FAQs and knowledge base articles utilized by the bot

  • CSAT and written customer feedback on chatbot resolutions

  • Average bot handle time – which is also pitted against agent handle time for benchmarking

  • Number of average first contact resolutions by the chatbot.

Ready to deliver quick and personalized support with an AI-powered customer service chatbot?

To recap, let’s see how you can leverage an AI-powered chatbot to improve your agent productivity and exceed customer expectations on speed and personalization:

  • Declutter your agent inbox by integrating your chatbot with self-serve resources.

  • Enhance customer experience with 24/7 chatbot support, powered by the “always-on” AI.

  • Identify customer context and message intent before agents pick up tickets.

  • Route queries to appropriate agents or teams based on agent skills and issue type.

  • Help agents get real-time AI assistance by surfacing relevant knowledge base articles and canned responses while handling customer queries.

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