Chatbots in services and sales
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Chatbots for customer service is not something new to us. In fact the moment we talk about chatbots one of the very first applications we think about is the use in customer service. Life gets busier by the day and customers want everything to happen on the go. And powerful smartphones with great internet browsing capabilities are making this so much simpler. One other thing that has changed is the way people communicate. The trend now is to use the messaging platforms for a majority of the interactions. Official, personal and business interactions all happen in messages. Integrating customer communication in the popular messaging platform has become an essential aspect for businesses. Customers do not really have all the time to download several apps and then navigate to the chat platform on them and then get in touch with the customer care team, leave alone placing a call.
Customers prefer messaging than placing a call
Conversing with the customer care team over the phone has a lot of limitations.
- Placing the call might take time and on unplanned busy days and days when the customer care teams are on leave and many other situations it gets worse. And having to wait to hear a human voice after patiently listening to an audio recording or tediously selecting various options that an IVR puts forward are all known to be factors that easily annoy customers. So you lose half your customers right at this stage.
- After the call gets connected there are other problems. If the customer care representative is not able to converse with the customer in his language, it is a problem. If the tone or actual responses given by the representative sounds unsatisfactory or rude then that is a whole new problem.
- It doesn’t end there. When the customer asks some questions, for the representative to understand it and then actually give a relevant answer there might be momentary delays involved. There is also the problem of communication barrier here. And sometimes the representative would have to put the customer’s call on hold while retrieving the information required.
If you have taken appropriate measures to handle all the above mentioned problems then it might make the customer service better. To do it the easier way there is the option to incorporate a chatbot to establish direct interactions with the customers.
If a customer care representative doesn’t understand the customer queries then the customer is easily dissatisfied. But if the chatbot doesn’t understand a query it can easily redirect the conversation to a human customer care representative to handle it. This would mitigate the situation to some extent.
Sharing information is a whole lot easier through messaging platforms
Messaging platforms these days have changed the way people texted and these are not called texts anymore because people share more than just “text”. Sharing media including images, videos, web links, documents are all possible through messaging platforms. Take for example a case where a customer is placing a call to complain about some product issue with a recent order. While on a call a customer would not be able to instantly show the customer care representative an image to explain the issue at hand. In those cases where customers are asking the representatives some basic questions like tracking order status or placing an order or actual product related queries, the representative would not be able to instantly share relevant links or product images to make the customer understand better. For this to happen the customer would have to have access to multiple devices at the same time. So he could check on his laptop while talking over his phone. To make matters simpler a chatbot can make this happen on a single device. And the best part is that these can be integrated with the most commonly used messaging platforms. So customers would not have the hassle of downloading different apps. It saves a lot of time.
Even the most efficient customer care teams would be able to handle only a certain number of queries per hour. But chatbots can handle multiple customers at the same time and thus eliminate wait times for customers and increase the capacity for the customer care team. No more holidays to worry about and for the ecommerce businesses sale days with a lot of incoming queries would become manageable with the integration of chatbots.
Customers start where they left
Different types of customers would prefer different types of interactions. Some want the whole conversation to be precise and to the point. Some would look for additional information to be provided for unasked. Some would want it to be short. Some would want to talk for a long time to ensure that all their questions are answered. Chatbots can offer precisely this to the customers- a personalized customer service delivered exactly like what the customer would prefer. And the conversations are all recorded and the chatbot would remember what was discussed in the previous interaction. So the customer would not have to explain the whole story all over again. All essential information about the customer’s account, the orders placed and other details would be instantly accessible to the chatbot in customer service. So interactions would be more relevant. And the chatbot would learn about the customer preferences with each interaction. The data can also be consolidated and presented to the customer care team and the other teams for future reference.
The place where the chatbots might miss out is the fact that human language is a bit difficult to comprehend and the machine interactions might after all not match the actual feel of talking with a human. This too is being addressed now by the integration of natural language processing in chatbots so that these can sound more human like. It also has the benefit of understand the customer queries and statements better. When all this happens customers would be satisfied with the service and this would improve the loyalty. This then leads to customer retention and thus help strengthen the brand identity. It also improves the sales and promotes upselling and cross-selling more efficiently. And cart abandonments can also be avoided and handled suitably every single time.
We are not suggesting that chatbots are meant to replace the existing customer care teams. We are only implying that these can easily revamp the existing trends and make customer care more relevant. It would simply make the work of the customer care team simpler and easier to track and manage. And while doing all of this the chatbots would also be able to gather customer information and these can be scaled to perform additional tasks as and when required.