Automation is gaining traction and becoming a tool in business strategies. This is also because digital transformation has become necessary in order to stay competitive. Businesses looking for a stepping sIn today’s digital age, customer support chatbots have become essential to businesses. This conversational interface helps customers along their journey, improves customer experience (CX), and builds up engagement. To better understand the best practices you have to implement regarding chatbots for customer service, here’s our guide. 

What Are Chatbots?

So what are chatbots used for and what are they anyway? Chatbots, or chat robots, are automated software applications or programs that can use natural language processing (NLP) to simulate meaningful and natural conversations between computers and humans. 

What Are Artificial Intelligence (AI) Chatbots?

While there are simple chatbots that are able to scan interactions for keywords and reply with preset answers, there are also chatbots that are powered by machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI.) AI customer service bots actively learn from each query a customer asks in order to engage with customers and provide answers. 

How Do Chatbots Work?

How chatbots work depends on what type of chatbot they are. Rule-based chatbots interact with customers via buttons and pre-defined answers. Customers click on buttons that are related to their queries. To give the best possible answer, customers will usually have to make several selections which result in a long user journey.

Intellectually independent chatbots use ML to understand certain keywords and phrases that will trigger relevant responses. Similar to rule-based chatbots, answers are pre-defined but this type of chatbot will take keywords and phrases into account. 

Then there are AI chatbots that also have a pre-defined flow but combine AI, ML, and NLP to understand customers better. NLP enables the interaction between customers and AI chatbots to feel like a conversation between people. For instance, a rule-based chatbot will be able to provide business hours but an AI chatbot will be able to identify a customer by name, provide store hours, and identify which branch a customer should visit based on their customer information. 

Chatbots - Best Practices to enhance Customer Experience
Chatbots – Best Practices to enhance Customer Experience
The Benefits of Chatbots

Chatbot advantages that businesses can benefit from include: 

Hyper-Personalisation

Today’s chatbots are able to personalise every interaction they have with customers based on previously collected customer data. Instead of robotic and distant replies, personalized customer service provides customer-specific answers which can lead to higher customer satisfaction and an increase in loyalty. 

Gain Valuable Insights

Based on interactions, brands are able to keep track of conversations customers have with chatbots. Chatbot data analytics give businesses insight on products and services based on chatbot conversations and determine peak times, frequently asked question (FAQ) volume, and what products or services are being asked about the most. 

Brands often implement customer satisfaction surveys after every chatbot interaction to gauge what works, what needs improvements, and what needs to be changed completely. 

Humanise Brands

Chatbots can hyper-personalise interactions that engage customers and humanise your brand. If need be, customer information can be accessed by agents in real-time so that representatives efficiently help customers reach their goals. 

24-hour Availability

With chatbots, brands are available round-the-clock. Without the set restriction of business operating hours, customers can find answers to their queries whenever they need to even if the customer service team is currently unavailable. With 24×7 customer support, chatbots engage with customers at their convenience. 

Seamless Live Chat

Businesses benefit from chatbots, live chat, and a combination of both because customer support can be delivered better. With hybrid support, customers can have part of their queries answered by chatbots but then be transferred to a live agent smoothly for more complicated ones. 

Time and Money Efficient

Chatbots save time and money without compromising the quality of customer service. Chatbots for business can efficiently answer questions in a matter of seconds which reduces the need for customer service agents to cater to every query. This way, customer service agents are able to spend their time helping customers with more complicated questions.

Chatbots - Best Practices to enhance Customer Experience
Chatbots – Best Practices to enhance Customer Experience
Chatbot Best Practices

Best practices in chatbot building include:

Define Your Chatbots’ Scope

Chatbots can be used in so many different businesses but you have to make sure that you are using the one that suits your brand and customer needs best. Narrow down the scope of chatbots by looking at what problems are the most critical to customers.

Balance the Human and Robot Element

While chatbots are designed to be human-like, certain tones and language used can confuse customers and lead them to think that they are interacting with an actual customer service representative. Chatbot experts suggest that brands choose a personality, name, image, and introductory message for chatbots so that customers know that they are currently being assisted by a bot. You can also let customers know that chatbot to human handoff is possible if they prefer talking to live agents. 

Be Scalable

With technology constantly advancing, it is important to work with your developers to make sure that your chatbot infrastructure is scalable. By being prepared to move forward, your business won’t be left behind. 

Collect Real-time Feedback

While all chatbots learn from interactions, ML and AI-powered chatbots instantly take conversations and their information to better answer future queries. Take advantage of this technology and implement follow-up surveys at the end of conversations so that customers provide chatbot feedback after interactions. 

Choose the Right Bots

Each bot has its strengths and limitations. While some businesses can thrive with rule-based bots, others can increase conversions by investing in the best AI chatbot on the market instead. 

Always Have a Back-up Plan

While bots are useful, they are not human. Chatbots lack human empathy and emotions which is why they cannot answer every query and resolve all customer issues. Always have customer service representative channels open and ready so that customers can reach out when they need or prefer a live chat agent. Chatbots can ask customers if they would prefer to leave a message, fill up a form, or be transferred to human support. 

Measure Performance

After building and implementing a chatbot, it is important to measure key performance indicators (KPIs.) Just like other business tools, measuring chatbot performance like conversions, handover to human support, and customer satisfaction can help businesses identify what works and what needs tweaking. 

The Future of Customer Service

Chatbots are a powerful tool in customer service and are designed to support customers, live agents, and your business. Invest in chatbots and explore how to integrate them into your business!

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