The chatbot age is here. According to Gartner, the average person will have more conversations with bots than their spouse by 2020. What’s more, Gartner also found that the top three emerging technologies expected to have the biggest impact on CX projects in the next three years include artificial intelligence (53%), virtual customer assistants and chatbots (39%), and omnichannel engagement solutions (37%).
As bots step in to serve customers on their channels of choice at any hour of the day or night, some customer experience professionals may worry about a dystopian robots vs humans scenario in which AI makes off with their livelihoods. The reality, however, is that chatbots are actually standing by to offer them a helping hand and enhance their jobs. Here are three ways conversational AI can assist humans in providing a stellar CX.
Accelerating customer engagement
Customers expect rapid service, and they eventually become impatient when faced with the pulsing dots in a messaging app that indicate the person on the other end is carefully typing out a response. On the other hand, a human agent can only write so many personalized messages at once—we just weren’t built for multitasking. But bots were. They can conduct multiple conversations at once without missing a beat.
Businesses can respond to customers more quickly with bots at the ready 24/7, freeing up their human counterparts to apply their specialized expertise to complex cases. Companies can also use chatbots to reach customers more effectively on their preferred channels. According to Search Engine Journal, messages sent by Facebook Messenger bots have an open rate of 70 – 80% within the first hour. As Smart Insights reports, high-performing email open rates can range between 11.34% and 33.10% depending on a number of variables such as industry, region, and business size. By contrast, Facebook chatbots can secure businesses a hefty increase over what would typically be considered a strong email open rate, according to the Search Engine Journal article.
Streamlining the ordering process
Chatbots can help companies fulfill orders more quickly and easily, lightening the load for their human counterparts while also serving up a satisfying customer experience. As TechCrunch reports, Starbucks launched a chatbot in 2017 that allows customers to reorder their favorite drinks via chat or by voice using an Alexa integration from right within the Starbucks app. Coffee lovers can secure a java fix without leaving the comfort of their home, office, or car, knowing it will be ready when they arrive. And the barista, meanwhile, can focus on preparing a perfect latté—intricate foam art and all.
Interpreting digital body language
Bots can even keep watch over the customer experience, springing into action when a customer is becoming frustrated but hasn’t yet reached out for help. As CMSWire notes, a chatbot can spot digital body language signs that indicate a customer is anxious, for example when a customer is bouncing from page to page on a website and clicking or tapping frantically all over their screen. The bot can offer assistance, escalating the issue to a human if needed and making sure the customer is in good hands.
While human customer service professionals certainly couldn’t spend this much time monitoring customers’ digital body language, bots can—and in this way, they can help the CX team deliver more proactive service. A seamless handoff from the chatbot to its human counterpart is essential to success in this case, of course, but companies that pull it off should see a payoff in the form of long-term customer loyalty.
Companies that integrate bot technology into their CX strategy can accelerate customer engagement, streamline the ordering process, and even leverage behavioral insights to proactively solve customer frustrations. And while the chatbots themselves may be artificial, the resulting increase in customer satisfaction can be very real.
Can’t get enough of chatbots? Read more about them here:
- 3 Ways a Chatbot Can Improve Customer Service
- The Voice Assistant Comes of Age: Chatbots and AI Drive CX Solutions
- These Chatbot Examples Are Pioneering the Future of CX