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What are the Benefits of Chatbots for Customer Care?

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Nov 23, 2017

Chatbots’ applications in customer care have been heavily discussed in the last few months. After the initial excitement around it, their uses showed mixed results. Some companies managed to adopt it successfully, to bring quick answers and combine it with their agents. Some others developed chatbots degrading customer experience, because of their lack of comprehension and inability to hand over the conversation to a human.

There are a couple of essential key considerations before launching a chatbot, such as:

To help you better understand chatbots and their potential, we are going through their current applications for customer care.

What is a chatbot?

According to the definition from Chatbots Magazine,

“A chatbot is a service, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that you interact with via a chat interface.”

Chatbots are also often compared with apps, as Gartner highlights it in its definition:

“Chatbots are essentially the “apps” of voice and messaging platforms, defining how people converse with your digital business services and data.”

Chatbots are often associated with Artificial Intelligence : AI can be used by chatbots, but it is not always the case. Most advanced chatbots use AI and natural language processing (NLP) to understand complete sentences from customers like real humans. Concretely, the interaction with a chatbot looks like a conversation in messaging apps you already know:

Depending on the chatbot technology, the conversation can feature different components:

Why are chatbots so popular?

In the past few months, every customer care event and media have been talking about chatbots. Several factors can explain this trend:

The main uses of chatbots for customer care

These are some of the main chatbots’ uses for customer service:

Before launching a chatbot, 3 main issues should be addressed: what will be its perimeter? On which channels will it be implemented? How will it be accessible?

We can see that brands currently launching chatbots for customer care prefer dedicating them to a specific area. For example, electricity provider Direct Energie choose to develop two chatbots: one is dedicated to meter reading, and the other one offers a personalized follow-up to new customers. By limiting their features, the company makes sure it will be able to treat the enquiries received. If needed, the conversation can be handed over to an agent within the platform. This approach is also a good way for Direct Energie to experiment with chatbots and learn from it while keeping its high quality of customer care.

Even if customers do not initiate the conversation with the right chatbot, they can be redirected to them when it’s relevant. Based on criteria such as the message topic, Dimelo’s engine can route enquiries to the right, specialized chatbot.

Chatbots are still at an early phase, and have room for improvement. A study from 3C Interactivereveals that 71% of consumers said the chatbot they interacted with could not answer their question or help them. Companies are also aware of these limitations, as their priority for chatbots is to improve their intelligence and their conversational language (Mindbrowser).

When developing a chatbot, customer experience must remain at the heart of the reflection. It is then essential to rely on messaging channels and a Digital Customer Interactions Platform. This will ensure that the conversation can be handed over to an agent when needed to keep a good customer experience. Such platform will allow to anticipate the development of chatbots on new channels, by making it multichannel. Instead of developing a chatbot for each channel, the existing chatbot can be deployed, making the company save time and development costs.

To sum up, here are some of the main benefits of chatbots in customer service:

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