5 Cornerstones of Effective Bot Customer Service


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A well-built bot conversational structure can yield numerous benefits, including helping field more customer service requests, alleviating the strain on customer service representatives, and ultimately increasing customer satisfaction and enhancing the customer experience. Strong bot dialogue capabilities are essential for success, and the key lies in finding the balance between automation and human interaction.

One of the easiest mistakes made during bot conversational design is neglecting or failing to achieve a human cadence in dialogue. I recently touched on this in my article, 3 Mistakes to Avoid in Bot Conversational Design, but this response structure warrants further discussion. Given the nuances and complexity of conversation, bots must understand a customer’s request and provide answers quickly and clearly. If there’s any breakdown in dialogue – misunderstanding, too many follow-up questions, etc. – a customer will ask to speak to a human representative and the bot has lost its use.

Here are the five cornerstones to building effective and efficient bot dialogue:

1. Quality – Correct Answers: While this may seem obvious, it’s important to provide customers with correct answers. Acknowledging that bots have limitations is a key step in ensuring that quality control. If a customer request is too complex or not fully understood, it must be acknowledged, and the request should be passed on to a human representative. Ideally these requests are identified early on in customer dialogue and without too many follow up questions that can lead to customer frustration.

2. Quantity – Deductive Analysis: It’s natural in conversation for a customer to jump ahead with their response, provide a partial answer, or indirectly answer a question. Quantitative queries can be a challenge for bots and it’s important to build quantitative analysis into their dialogue structure. Enabling bots to ask follow-up questions and offer confirmations is crucial.

3. Relevance – Concise Information: When customers choose to use a bot chat function, they are expecting efficiency. Not only do bots needs to understand customer requests, they need to do so quickly and identify the key information needed in response. Only the most important and essential information should be shared in response. Streamlining communications will speed up customer service and help create a clear dialogue with the customer.

4. Format – Friendly Tone: The easiest way to make a customer feel comfortable with bot dialogue is by making the tone of conversation as close to human as possible. This can be achieved by making responses less formal and more conversational. Focus on natural transitions and consolidating information whenever possible. For example, instead of saying “Your transaction has been completed. A confirmation will be sent to your email.” A more human-like response would be “You’re booked! We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.”

5. Empathy – Human Voice: A common mistake in bot conversational design is leaving empathy out of the equation. This element rests on identifying key words and phrases that single dissatisfaction or urgency. Bots should acknowledge customer challenges as a human would and incorporate language that makes the customer feel heard and taken care of. For example, if a customer says, “My flight has been canceled and I need to reschedule” the best bot reply will express sympathy for the hassle the customer is facing with a response such as, “We’re sorry for the inconvenience. We’re looking into options for rebooking right away.”

Effective bot conversational design pairs automation capabilities with human consideration – offering concise, friendly, and empathetic customer service. This requires that both bot and human dialogue is correctly understood and interpreted in symbiosis with technology and conversational copywriting.

Carlos Carvalho
Carlos Carvalho is a Senior Consultant at Junokai, a German CX consultancy recently acquired by Majorel. With his in-depth knowledge of agile (customer) service design, digitalization and strengthening customer service integration, Carlos has held several executive positions leading European customer service organizations.


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