The always-on, mobile, social customer is creating a new set of higher expectations for brands they do business with. They want to see evidence that you engage with your customers in social media. They care more about the customer experience than products. They want personalized experiences and they want them instantly, not when it’s convenient for brands to deliver them.
The Chatbot for customer experience management revolution is fueled by two truths about consumers that brands must heed:
- Customers are mobile
- Customers are social
Digital interactions, transactions initiated by a means other than a phone call, exceeded traditional contact center voice interactions for the first time in 2016.
The mobile/social customer is fully in control. With messaging applications like Facebook Messenger, Slack and WhatsApp emerging as a primary form of communication, smart brands are adopting chatbots and combining artificial intelligence with talented teams to design beautiful customer experiences.
According to eMarketer’s Worldwide Messaging App Forecast, there were close to 1.6 billion mobile messaging app users in 2016; that is expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2021. These users want brands to meet them where they are and resolve issues close to instantaneously. That’s where chatbots can help.
Reducing customer effort, meeting customers where they want you to meet them, and resolving issues in the first interaction are priorities for top-performing customer service organizations.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is a computer program that uses artificial Intelligence to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet. Contrary to popular opinion, chatbots are not new technology. The first one, Eliza, was built in 1966 at MIT. Artificial intelligence is much more mature today and many consumers actually prefer chatbots to humans for routine customer care interactions.
Do we need a chatbot?
Your customers think that you do. A recent Forbes article, titled How Chatbots Will Transform Customer Experience says that Gartner predicts “By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.” Customers want quick and easy solutions that involve limited human interaction, up to a point.
Does that mean we won’t need customer service representatives?
No, although customers want to resolve issues themselves, your customer service team just got even more important. Customers expect them to address more complex issues that automation can’t handle swiftly and completely to their satisfaction. They are critical and their roles is changing.
The profile for the NEW customer service rep includes excellent comprehension, clear communication, critical thinking, decisiveness and agility. They must come up to speed on the issue at hand instantly upon receiving the engagement hand-off from the chatbot. Customers will no longer tolerate being asked to repeat a problem or having their call transferred or put on hold while you figure out how to deliver on a brand promise they feel has been broken.
Your front-line team must be prepared to meet and handle most customer needs, without escalating, in a way that results in positive measurable outcomes like high First Contract Resolution (FCR), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) scores. They must be empowered with the tools, knowledge and authority to resolve issues, retain the customer and build relationships.
Speaking of relationships, how do we build those using automation?
Understanding your customer is the first key to relationship building. Buying power is shifting generationally and demographically. Although each consumer has a unique voice, many share a common thread. They want you to know them, understand them and anticipate their needs. At Telvista, we see increasing demand for support in multiple languages for both automated and human interaction. Our clients trust us to design experiences their customers want in their language of choice. We are expert at delivering support in English and Spanish to fulfill the expectations of America’s largest existing and emerging market segments. At a minimum, providing a blended bilingual combination of technology and talent just makes sense in today’s market.
How do we combine talent and technology?
Using technology to automate repetitive tasks will free your team to develop better customer experience outcomes at every touchpoint on the customer journey. This is where designing chatbots to empower customers to get things done immediately will yield huge benefits. Make sure that your experience design includes a path directly to an empowered customer service professional the minute automation ceases to meet customer expectations. This is the answer to raising the bar on experience.
Meet your customers where they are and give them what they want. As an outsourcer, we provide philosophy, approach, technology and talent to collaborate with our clients to create great customer experiences. As you contemplate your response to the chatbot revolution, remember that although artificial intelligence is already transforming customer experience, quality human intervention will always be a critical element in delivering the “WOW factor” for your customers.