AI chatbots have a lot of potential. They can expedite your customer service, reduce the burden on your human agents, and even streamline consistency in terms of customer service. However, not all customers are immediately receptive to chatbots.
What steps can you take to make your chatbots and the processes surrounding them better, so your customers generally love them?
Choose/Build the Right Chatbot
Customer service chatbots come in many forms these days. You’ll need to choose one, or build one from scratch, that provides your customers with the best possible experience.
Consider the following:
- Robustness. What is the range of queries that your chatbot will be able to handle? Is it going to be capable of only addressing the most rudimentary queries, providing basic information and troubleshooting data? Or will it be able to have more complex conversations and resolve higher level issues? No chatbot is perfect and capable of solving everything, but more robust bots are much more reliable.
- Data and training. You’ll also need to consider the data accessible to your chatbot and how it’s trained. Having more access to data and more specific training with interactions specifically relevant to your customer service department is generally better.
- Query handling. The modern era of AI is remarkably impressive, but you’ll still need to give some consideration to query handling. Is this chatbot able to quickly and easily discern what people are asking, even if they type or speak in abnormal ways?
- Output. Similarly, you’ll need to think about whether this chatbot is capable of producing linguistic output that’s readily accessible and easy to understand. Is it on par with the capabilities of native language speakers?
- Speed and volume. Finally, you’ll need to think about speed and volume. People don’t want to wait minutes to get responses from a bot, so it’s imperative to have a system that can process entries quickly, even at high demand volumes.
Make It Easy and Available
Next, make your chatbot both easy and available. For example, you can include a chat window in the bottom corner of your website, so anyone who visits it can immediately find it. You can also give your customers suggestions on the types of questions they can ask this chatbot, or even give them a quick video tutorial if they need more information. If any of your customers feel confused or frustrated within the first couple of minutes of using your chatbot, they’ll probably never want to use it again.
Personalize What You Can
People crave more personalized experiences, even if they don’t articulate this explicitly. Accordingly, you should make your bots as personal as possible, such as asking for the customer’s name and addressing them as such, or drawing upon information that’s available through the customer’s account.
The one caveat here is that you should avoid making customers feel like you’ve violated their privacy. Collect and use customer information with discretion, and try to remain as transparent as possible so customers know exactly what to expect.
Avoid Endless Loops
Unfortunately, using a chatbot can sometimes result in endless loops, such as perpetually redirecting a customer to a specific FAQ page that they’ve repeatedly stated is not helpful. This type of ongoing, unhelpful experience can alienate your customers, so try to avoid it whenever possible. Employ measures to ensure that frustrated or unhelped customers are directed to somewhere more productive.
Detect Complex Issues Early and Redirect
Similarly, it’s important to be able to detect the presence of a complex issue and redirect the customer to a party that’s more capable of solving that issue. Even the most sophisticated chat AI bots in existence aren’t able to tackle every question or concern; you need to be able to recognize these limits and mitigate potential issues in real-time.
Provide Alternative Options
No matter how good your AI chatbot is, some of your customers are going toprefer direct human interactions regardless. Accordingly, to minimize friction and frustration, you should provide alternative options to your customers. Is there a phone number they can call to get in contact with a human being? Are there video tutorials or troubleshooting guides that can help them bypass the need to talk to a robot?
Finally, get feedback. Prompt every customer to indicate whether the AI bot was able to help them resolve the issue, and conduct surveys so you can learn even more about how people are interacting with your chatbots. Take both positive and negative feedback seriously, and incorporate suggestions into future iterations.
AI chatbots can be incredibly helpful both for businesses and for customers. But they aren’t perfect, and they probably never will be. If you want to employ these technological tools effectively and in a way that your customers appreciate, you’ll need to do some proactive planning.