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  • Scott Summers

How Chatbots Help Improve the Fundamentals of Customer Service

Can you remember a time you had an excellent customer service experience? What was it that made it so good? I wanted to explore how chatbots help improve the fundamentals of customer service by looking at its most important factors.

Immediate Service

Whenever I call customer service and I’m told “Our wait times are longer than usual, but your call is important to us,” my blood boils. After all, whenever I phone a sales department, my call gets picked up immediately. Responding quickly is fundamental to good service and because there’s no wait time with a chatbot conversation, customers often feedback positively after using a virtual agent. What’s more, enabling customer self-service and reducing call volumes through a chatbot improves service quality for those people who prefer to phone because the queue time is reduced.

Service Wherever I Am, Whenever I Need It

While issues such as ASB and repairs aren’t confined to 9 to 5, it’s quite rare that contact centres are open 24/7. Wouldn’t it be good to have service capability 24 hours a day, 365 days a year? While chatbots can’t handle all customer issues (a good chatbot should be aiming for around 70%), customers can initiate the support process and log a call back request any time of day. Customers feel they have been attended to immediately. Moreover, different people prefer to communicate on different channels and a good chatbot can be available across all of them. If your customers prefer to use WhatsApp, the chatbot can be there. If they want to use Facebook Messenger, they can get the same response there. Same for your website. Same for SMS text message.

Escalations and Transfers

Sometimes, when an agent needs to transfer a call to another agent, it can diminish the customer experience, particularly when a customer is forced to hold in between. Frustration increases when a customer needs to re-authenticate or repeat their issue. Because chatbots can be trained to deal with a broad range of topics, there’s less need to transfer. However, as chatbots aren’t great at dealing with complex issues, it’s good practice to have the ability to escalate to live-chat. Fortunately, the transcript from a chatbot conversation can be passed to the human agent so that the transition is seamless and doesn’t negatively impact the customer.

Reliable and Rich Information

Queries often need detailed information to resolve them. To provide consistently good customer experience, companies rely on their contact centre staff having broad, deep, up-to-date knowledge on a range of topics. In Housing that range is huge. The amount of training needed is impractical and the ability to retain this information is virtually impossible. Chatbots, when implemented well, can be trained to have almost limitless levels of knowledge and reference material which can be provided to customers immediately – and in any language. Customers might need to have the information written down so they can absorb it at their own pace. Because chatbots can provide links to web pages, then send this to customers after the conversation, customers get exactly what they need and can refer to it when they want.

Empathy and an Emotional Response

An emotional, empathic response is probably the most important factor in providing excellent service for complex problems - and chatbots can’t do this. However, at FUZZLAB, our firm belief is that chatbots will make customer service become more human, more emotional, more personal. This may seem paradoxical but by letting the computer do the things they’re good at, it frees up the humans to spend more time with the residents that need them most. Training can be focussed on the things that really matter; building trust, listening skills and emotional intelligence and this is how chatbots will help providers improve the fundamentals of customer service.

Being cared for by customer service

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