Chatbots have come a long way in recent years. Early bot deployments were limited in the potential they could offer companies, and were launched as more of a way to entertain and engage customers in the moment. As time went on, AI technology and machine learning helped chatbots become much more sophisticated and advance to the point that they now rival humans in their ability to handle customer questions.
These advancements have led a lot of people to believe that the end is near for human agents, as more organizations shift their focus to automation in an effort to control costs and limit head count, but this thinking couldn’t be further from the truth.
This brings us to our next customer experience prediction for 2019.
CX Prediction 2: Chatbots and Agents are the New Customer Experience Power Couple
Though automation is ramping up for a number of organizations (according to Business Insider, 80% want a chatbot by 2020), the reality is that chatbots will never fully replace human agents. Instead, their true value can be unlocked by using them to augment human agents, either by removing less complex journeys from the funnel or allowing them to assist human agents in solving more complex journeys. Click to Tweet
Determining where chatbots make the most sense and how they can be used to improve resolution times is key to an effective deployment. Organizations can achieve this by blending AI and agents in a number of ways:
Full Automation. The chatbot is used to resolve simple customer requests (e.g. check my balance, pay my bill) from start to finish, without having to consult an agent. Most low-complexity journeys are prime candidates for full automation, just be sure it makes sense. Never try to force automation for the sake of automation. By removing high-frequency, low-complexity requests from an agent’s plate, you’re freeing them up to focus on solving more complex customer journeys.
Partial Automation.Chatbots can be used at the front line to authenticate customers and gather as much information as possible about the customer’s issue. Once they’ve done so, they can hand the interaction off to an agent with all the context included so the agent can resolve the issue much quicker. This can dramatically reduce AHT, effectively improving costs without sacrificing service.
Bot-Assisted Agent.Chatbots can be used to monitor conversations and suggest info or dialogue to agents that they can push directly to the customer – customers never know a chatbot is involved, they just know they’re getting the information they need when they need it. This is also an effective way to help inexperienced agents perform better. Just be sure that the chatbot transfers the right amount of context to agents. Too much context buries the agent, not enough context might force them to ask the customers to start over, which you never want to do.
Agent-Assisted Bot. The chatbot can handle the customer conversation but ask an agent to clarify an intent when it’s unsure what the customer is asking. This method helps chatbots grow smarter as they learn correct responses from human agents as they go.
In this new paradigm, everyone becomes more effective, and most importantly, your customer always walks away happy.
Ready to learn more about why chatbots and agents are the new CX power couple? Download this article. In it we look at how customers have come to accept and even expect automation plus personalization when seeking support, and why forward-thinking companies know that blending human agents and AI is the future of customer service.
Missed Part 1 of this series? You can find it here.