What's the buzz about bots?

alan.ranger
EMEA Marketing Director
LivePerson
Blogger
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In this digital era, with the advent of social media and a smartphone in almost every pocket, consumers expect to have immediate, direct access to brands to address their needs and solve their issues. Consumer expectations are at an all-time high, and businesses face intense pressure to provide quick and effective customer service.

Meeting this demand traditionally required a sizable, dedicated customer experience team along with a generous budget. This high cost has sparked a new interest in using bots, instead.

Why?

With more than a billion people worldwide using WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, it is crystal clear that consumers prefer communicating using messaging apps, instead of phone calls and email. More brands are realising the value of enabling their customers to communicate with them in the same way they do with friends and family — through mobile messaging. But answering the sheer volume of incoming queries can be very time consuming for agents and lack the immediate response consumers demand. Bots provide a solution to this.

Bots reduce costs and save time

Bots can help customer care organisations efficiently and affordably streamline operations within the contact center. There are several different bots that can help take some of the mundane and tedious tasks off of human agents’ plates, allowing them to handle the more complex enquiries.

Specialist bots can be implemented to focus on answering frequently asked questions and standard business processes, such as changing an address, updating credit card information, or helping with log-in issues. Welcome bots can help route enquires from the start of the conversation to the right agent or specialist bot, and closer bots can help wrap up conversations. Agent-assist bots help agents work on the back end by queuing up potential responses and relevant information for an enquiry.

For organisations, bots reduce costs for answering simple queries or routing them to the best agent — human or bot. For agents, bots free them up to handle the more complex and interesting queries. For the customer, bots give them the immediate response they’re demanding and helps organisations provide a positive customer experience.

Consumers want accurate answers quickly

Most consumers don’t mind dealing with bots when it comes to their customer care enquiries. According to a recent survey we did at LivePerson, 55 per cent of consumers would prefer interacting with a bot over a human if it were just as accurate as a human customer care agent. And, of those who have interacted with a brand’s bot, the majority reported a positive or neutral perception of bots.

Bots scale, humans don’t

Brands looking to implement bots can start small, experiment, refine, and then expand their bot strategy from there. For example, one major brand started by piloting a specialist bot for one particular customer issue -- problems with logging in -- which made up 25 per cent of its customer care enquiries. That brand saw a 90 per cent “containment” rate within that bot, meaning that only 10 percent of conversations had to be escalated to a human agent.

More than a buzzword

Bots have now become perhaps the most efficient and affordable way to handle customer requests and reduce demand on customer service agents. More effectively able to deal with transactional enquiries (payment information, change of address, etc.), bots streamline services and give customer service staff more time to deal with complex requests and questions.

Bots have been hyped as the next big thing, from organisations to personal assistants in the home and on your smartphone. ‘Chatbot’ has become the latest buzzword, but the reality is that using them adds value to the bottom line. When used correctly, they can transform the customer experience through bot-integrated messaging platforms.

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