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Do your customers love chatbots as much as you?

31st Jan 2019
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Keen to embrace the cost-saving benefits of automation, businesses have kick-started a chat bot frenzy. At the same time, Forrester’s most recent CX Index survey reveals that emotional connections account for almost half of customer loyalty to a brand.

In today’s ultra-competitive markets, the success – or failure – of your business could depend on its customer experience. In this context, do chat bots, which prioritise operational efficiency over the human touch, represent the best way to satisfy growing expectations?

Customers are resistant to chat bot automation

New research by NewVoiceMedia (NVM) reveals that although six out of 10 customers have used chat bots in the last 12 months, three-quarters would prefer their service queries to be handled by a live agent.

Reflecting on the potential of all customer service interactions being replaced by bots in the near future, openness to automation is even worse. Fewer than one in five customers felt happy or very happy about the prospect, compared to nearly two-thirds who felt either unhappy or extremely unhappy.

Customers have more options than ever when they want to contact a company. Yet in nearly every type of service scenario, customers believe person-to-person conversations will be crucial to their satisfaction. Let’s explore a few reasons why.

Chat bots lack empathy

Chat bots are a low-touch channel compared to voice. This means chat bots are great for a limited number of cases, including routine issues, collecting contact information, and answering FAQs. Voice conversations, on the other hand, are better suited to complex or emotionally driven service scenarios.

When it comes to managing difficult conversations, man still holds the advantage over machine. Unlike chat bots, live agents have empathy. Your agents know how to listen, respond, and react appropriately to the nuances of human behaviour. During discussions that decide whether a customer sticks with your business or switches to a competitor, it’s an advantage to have a live agent in your corner.

The nature of customer calls is changing

It’s true that chat bots have become more effective at dealing with simple requests. Nevertheless, when developing customer relationships, there will always be make-or-break moments that require the people skills only a live agent possesses.

Within this service environment, the calls that get routed through your contact centre are likelier to have a bigger impact on your bottom line. As a result, merging chat bot support for ease and accessibility with escalation paths to voice for when things get complex or emotional is vital.

Disconnected experiences that lack visibility and context

Too many businesses manage chat bots and voice as independent channels. Known as a multi-channel approach, this makes it extremely difficult to ensure your customers remain connected to your brand when things go wrong.

At the moment the capability of your chat bot falls short, most customers will want to speak to a real person. Without a single routing engine for chat bots and voice, your business won’t be able to maintain the context between all previous interactions. Agents will then struggle to solve problems, conversations will fall flat, and customers could get frustrated by having to explain their issue over and over.

Find the right balance between chat bot automation and live support

Emerging chat bot technology enables better self-service. But to enhance CX, augmenting chat bot interactions with voice is key to creating a better overall experience.

Unfortunately, many chat bot conversations that transition to contact centres arrive disconnected from the customer journey. Conversations that remain essential to providing positive CX are difficult because agents don’t have a full picture of past transactions, resulting in frustrating and impersonal interactions.

NVM’s omni-channel capabilities offer the solution to this CX conundrum, delivering the right balance between chat bot automation and live support. Combining information provided by your chat bot with Salesforce and other interaction data, it offers the optimal strategy for routing conversation to live support.

Focus on people first, tech second

Imagine a customer is browsing your website. They encounter a problem and access a chat bot for support. The AI powering your Salesforce CRM collects all the contextual data for this customer conversation. But when the chat bot encounters an issue it can’t solve, it escalates the problem to a human agent.

NVM uses all acquired data to route the call to the agent best suited to meet their needs. At the same time, it provides a full history of conversations across every channel. Making agents ‘journey aware’ prior to the start of a conversation in this way provides the insight needed to deliver a consistent experience that puts your customers’ needs first.

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