There’s a lot of talk these days about the power of the bot to transform the way we think about customer service. Bots augment customer service, providing more in-depth “self service” options for online customers.
But will using bots for customer service remove humans from the scene? Or are there times when you should be using humans instead of bots?
Bots for customer service – self service
Customers like to do at least some of their own research before contacting customer service. 70% of consumers expect a self-service option for handling commercial questions and complaints.
Customer research online can include looking for information in specialized blogs and checking out informational wikis. It can also include an online success center. Success centers make it easy for customers to find articles, tips, and guides that answer a whole range of questions.
Even better, when a solid base of information like a success center is combined with artificial intelligence (AI), customers can easily find answers to many of their questions. Bots can direct customers to the right article in the success center, guide customers to locating the options they were looking for, or begin a purchase process.
As bots become more sophisticated, they can learn over time, adjusting their responses according to past customer queries and new information and data points. Even so, 40% of customers get in touch with a contact center after they looked for answers using online self-service options.
Responsive service is a middle step
Responsive service allows customers to get in contact with the contact center without requiring an immediate answer. Responsive service can includesocial media channels such as Twitter or Facebook, as well as email and texting.
Even with responsive service, customers expect a quick turnaround. Recent research shows that 39% of consumers expect an email reply within four hours. 55% of social media users want an answer in less than four hours.
AI can be of assistance in this situation, either answering straightforward questions asked via responsive channels or helping customer service agents find the answers they need. Using AI to help agents is a different way of using bots for customer service, but it can be quite effective.
So are we done with the human factor? Probably not.
Live service becomes even more critical
According to Forrester Research’s Ian Jacobs,
Because customers almost always try to self serve before they call a contact center, traditional contact centers are now escalation channels.
When customers call in, they have questions that neither they nor bots could answer. They are no longer looking for bots to help their customer service needs. They want knowledgable agents that can think on their feet.
Customers are already frustrated, so agents need tools to de-escalate the situation. Cobrowsing solutions are key in this de-escalation process. Cobrowse allows agents to instantly view and interact with customers’ web browsers when online.
With as little as one click, agents can provide live, personalized guidance and visually collaborate with customers. This is quite valuable when customers are working through a complicated process online.
Cobrowsing solutions have come a long way, with more secure architectures, out-of-the-box CRM integrations (like Glance for Salesforce), and solutions that work every time. Secure cobrowsing solutions mask (i.e., do not transmit) customers’ sensitive information, so agents can’t see it. This makes it ideal for use even by organizations that deal with private and sensitive information, like financial and healthcare institutions.
In fact, a recent survey showed that 52% of customer service professionals who work for companies that have cobrowsing technologies report better understanding of customer issues. Moreover, 38% stated they are able to improve customer satisfaction.
Customer service across the channels
According to a CEI Survey, 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience. That said, only 1% of customers feel that organizations consistently meet their expectations.
Wouldn’t you like to be a part of that 1%? Using both humans and bots for customer service will help get there.