Improve your customer service with AI-powered chatbots (2023)
December 12, 20227 min read
Research suggests that over 50% of queries go unresolved or require an escalation, and 52% of customers hang up on support agents due to long waiting times.
The agent productivity decreases because of the sheer volume of customer queries which impacts the customer experience. 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.
In this blog, let us explore how AI-powered chatbots can automate responses 24/7 and improve your CSAT ratings with fast and accurate resolutions.
What is a customer service chatbot and why should you use it?
Customer service chatbots leverage AI and machine learning to answer simple and repetitive customer queries, allowing customer care agents to focus on complex human interactions. Using chatbots for customer service is advantageous as they can be implemented across different channels such as websites, live chat, and messenger apps to provide a seamless omnichannel experience.
Customer support chatbots can answer up to 70% of FAQ-based questions and can leverage your knowledge bases for direct questions. You can also train the bots to provide answers to different variants of the same questions in your brand voice and tone.
For example, Dominos leverages an interactive bot — Dom, with definitive call-to-actions to set clear expectations and allow customers to place their orders using an intelligent virtual agent. Customers can also check their order status using the bot. Dominos identifies the phone number of an existing customer and uses it to track the orders.
Source: PR Newswire
You must consider implementing AI-powered chatbots in the following cases:
If your organization has a fragmented view of the social channels and it delays your responses
If your organization has a global presence and requires multi-lingual support across multiple channels
If you have a lean customer service team
If you want to scale your customer service, but also keep a check on the associated overheads
Top 7 benefits of customer service chatbots
AI-powered chatbots help bring therequired “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 24/7 instant support
The biggest advantage of chatbots is that theyincrease 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
Implementing conversational AI can never replace human interaction, but it improves agent productivity. 80% of the customer queries that 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 to guide customers directly or help agents take customers through long processes such as troubleshooting, scheduling appointments, updating addresses, payment information, and more.
5. Switch intent during an ongoing conversation
An AI-powered chatbot can detect the changing customer intent within a conversation and understands when to switch the flow of replies to suit customer needs. In case of unclear intent, it can gracefully hand over the bot-customer conversation to an agent.
6. Bridge the knowledge gaps with customer-focused insights
When chatbots are integrated with existing customer service and self-service software, it obtains additional customer information. 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. Reduce business costs and improve ROI
Chatbots obtain instant responses from FAQ documents and knowledge bases to improve the first contact resolution rate. Bots can further save contact center overheads related to hiring more agents, providing support training, and building a robust support infrastructure.
Top 5 features of a customer service chatbot
AI-powered chatbots offer functionalities that can change how contact centers function and deliver customer delight. Here are the top five chatbot features organizations must consider before deployment.
1. No-code chatbot and conversation builder
One of the biggest concerns while using a chatbot is that the responses can sound static. Opting for a no-code chatbot limits your training requirements, and an easy-to-use conversation builder would allow the interaction between bot and customer to resemble human interaction.
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 conversations highly engaging 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 contextual responses for a better customer experience.
Sprinklr's conversational AI offers advanced chatbot capabilities and has all these essential features. The bots provide contextual, multi-lingual support across 30+ social and digital channels. Sprinklr's conversational AI has proven to increase agent productivity by 40% while reducing the response time by 21x.
Sprinklr's success story: using chatbots in customer service
Challenges faced by AkzoNobel UK:
AkzoNobel UK, a leading global paints and coatings company, had a fragmented social presence. It had over 60+ accounts on different channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to represent its children companies.
All the accounts were maintained in silos by different agencies, risking the brand's reputation.
The existing multi-step social care program led to slow response times and unsatisfied customers.
Outcome after implementing Sprinklr's Modern Care Solution:
Using Sprinklr’s unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform, the brand was able to offer proactive support across six social channels, 19 accounts, and six different brands.
Care agents contributed to revenue by bringing in £13,000 ($18,500) worth of recommendations.
Total engagements across the customer journeys increased by 172%.
Using the insights offered by Sprinklr, agents were able to resolve customer inquiries quickly, resulting in an 80% reduction in response times.
5 Best practices for using customer service chatbots
Here is a set of five best practices for companies using chatbots for customer service
1. Involve your agents at every step of chatbot deployment
Before adopting ai powered customer service technology such as chatbots, your agents and customers should be at the forefront of decision-making. Agents have first-hand experience dealing with varied customer issues. Therefore, you need to involve and train them to make the most of your technological investments.
2. 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 according to relevance.
3. Use AI bots to ensure quality assurance
Set up AI bots toread through entire agent conversations and build performance reports with actionable pointers for support agents. Trigger tasks like form-filling, due diligence, and financial activities with robotic process automation (RPA) bots that can pop into a conversation window effortlessly.
4. 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.
5. Encourage agents to train the chatbots with new intents
Support agents get a front-row view of the most common customer issues. 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.
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
The number of average first contact resolutions by the chatbot
Conclusion: deliver quick & personalized support using AI-powered customer service chatbots
To summarize, 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