Emerging TechnologyChatbotsChatbots for customer experience: How AI-assisted chat helps people

Chatbots for customer experience: How AI-assisted chat helps people

Chatbots can—and should—be used to create more intelligent customer experiences. Here's how you can blend AI with the ingenuity of your human sales agents.

Chatbots have been around for some time now — few businesses actually get the experience right.

Most of the chatbots we see today are useful only for trivial tasks like gathering information, checking an order status, or doing a simple keyword search.

However, chatbots can—and should—be used to create more intelligent customer experiences. The most effective way to do this is by blending artificial intelligence with the ingenuity of your human sales agents.

By making AI-assisted chat an integral part of your overall strategy, you’ll be able to improve efficiency, increase conversion, and simplify training.

Chatbots and customer expectations: An introduction

As chat technology has evolved, so has user expectation. Customers are becoming more comfortable using chatbots, and their use can significantly affect your bottom line.

Recognizing the value and viability of chatbots, several large research organizations have looked into how chat is used.

  • According to Forrester, 45% of customers used chat to interact with a live agent in 2017. Customers who chat were also found to be 2.8 times more likely to convert and spend 60% more than those that didn’t use chat.
  • According to a LivePerson survey, consumers are warming up to chatbots. However, 56% would still rather speak with a human — they believe a human will better understand what they need.
  • According to Gartner, 25% of customer service and support organizations will use chatbot technology by 2020.

Chatbots will continue to become more popular with customers and your competitors. So if you want to get ahead, it’s time to get started.

Three tips for how to use chatbots for customer experience

1. Improving efficiency through chatbot-assisted interactions

One of the biggest ways chat helps improve the customer experience is by increasing agent efficiency.

On the phone, there tends to be a lot of back-and-forth. The phone agents talk, build a relationship, and banter with customers.

But on chat, customers want quick answers.

Based on that fact alone, chat should be a more efficient channel than phone calls. The time and cost per chat is significantly lower than that of a phone call.

Beyond the simple time-efficiency improvements with chat, AI-backed chatbots also help your sales agents. They provide quick and efficient answers to the questions customers on chat have.

For example, you can use an AI-infused platform to monitor chat transcripts and recommend the best response in real time.

The platform will keep learning constantly, so the responses always change and improve.

The more your sales agents use certain responses, and the higher success rate those responses have, the more they appear as recommendations for other agents.

For instance, if a customer wants internet service, the chatbot may recommend a simple response: “I’ll be happy to help you with that. I just need your address.”

By offering simple real-time script recommendations for getting the necessary information from and to customers, chatbots free agents’ time.

Agents can then focus more on more complex tasks. and on providing exceptional customer experience.

example of AI suggested greetings

Your chatbot should also ideally recognize pivotal points in the conversation based on keywords and phrases.

For example, a customer may say they need to talk to their partner before making a purchase decision. The chatbot can prompt your agent with simple, proven rebuttals to entice the customer to buy something today.

These rebuttals (shown in red) are continually reviewed and updated as you better understand the moments that drive conversion.

examples of AI suggested rebuttals

2. Driving conversion through pivotal moments

Chat isn’t a sales channel by itself. It doesn’t drive any new volume to your websites.

What it does is help increase conversion for the channel it’s in, such as your website or social media accounts.

By providing a digital log of all conversations for future review, it can help improve future conversions.

You can identify and annotate different points in the conversation to better understand the customer intent and reactions behind those moments. For example, you can identify the number of times that customers say they need to talk to their partner before making a decision. With that, you can determine the conversion rate for those customers.

You can then get a sense of what was the differentiator—why that chat converted while the other ones didn’t. From there, you can go back to the agents and get feedback. Perhaps you discover  you need to change the sell scripts to adjust for what’s working better.

Then, next time a customer uses that excuse, the chatbot can offer rebuttals that our data indicates will offer the best chance of success.

There are dozens of key points in a conversation that can be annotated and marked as a moment in order to understand it better. This helps the AI understand the pivotal moments in order to give better recommendations.

3. Simplifying the training process

The difference in user expectation on chat means your sales agents need to adjust their strategy—but chat also offers a unique way to train agents to engage with users via chat. Using chatbots as training tools is cost- and time-effective for organizations with large sales teams.

There are two main ways chat simplifies training.

  • Day-one conversion ability. With the help of chatbots, brand-new agents know all the best responses to give to customers to drive the highest conversion possible—right from day one.
  • Cost-effective quality assurance. Chat AI allows quality assurance teams to easily monitor every single chat conversation. The QA process for phone calls is labor intensive and time consuming. Chat, on the other hand, allows us to monitor every conversation and ensure an extremely high compliance rating.

When new agents are as well-equipped as seasoned ones, and all agents are held to the same high standard by QA teams, customers reap the benefits.

Chatbots for enterprise-level customer experience: Scaling with AI

In the Age of the Customer, customer experience is just as important as the product. Most businesses love the idea that using AI can reduce headcount and cost, but the real value of using chatbots is its ability to enhance the customer experience.  

AI can help analyze what customers are saying to how they’re saying it (in real time) and can guide sales agents toward the best response and fastest resolution.

Blending high-performing AI-generated phrases and words with human agents’ communication skills gives customers superior experiences.

AI chatbots allow agents to answer more qualified chats, help deliver priority routing for complex issues, lower handle time, and increase conversion.

Andy Larisch is Director of Digital Messaging at Clearlink.

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