Latest News

To Chatbot or not to Chatbot

By Mark Fairlie

Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away, you could pick up a telephone, be answered within three rings and ask a human being the question whose answer you were dying to know. You would receive a courteous and accurate reply then hung up satisfied with the information you’ve just been given.

Then something happened. The whole face of customer service changed with the introduction of call centres. At first, waiting times were short and you could get through very quickly. With the rapid advancement in technology your call handler could use the computer to look at every aspect of your account and give you the answer you are looking for.

Then something changed again. You now ring up a call centre with a query and you are asked to select from an options menu, and another menu, and another menu. Eventually, you are placed in a queue to listen to an inaccurate and sometimes painful rendition of a popular piece of music. At some point in the future, your call is answered.

Feeling frustrated and angry, that was 20 minutes of your life you will never get back you decide to change supplier. Whether the culprit of this anxiety provoking incident was your energy company, your bank, or your health club, you have had enough.

Does this sound familiar? Does your business lose customers and you are left wondering why, only to find out upon analysis that they are fed up with waiting to be served? Customer expectations have changed beyond recognition over the past decade.

Once upon a time, information research was carried out in the local library. If a customer had a query, all they had to do was to ring up a store or service and find out. In this technological age, customers become accompanied to typing in a few words and receiving an answer within seconds.

Customers now expect service to be swift. The answers to questions should be located within seconds rather than minutes or hours. If customers have a simple query, then they expect to receive a simple answer quickly.

To make sure you keep your customer engaged and interested, you have paid an expert to produce a website that answers every question your customers could think of. Or maybe not. There will always be that one or two or three customers who want to know the answer to a question isn’t on your website.

It might be a silly question. It might be a question that has arisen because of what they have read on your website so they ring you up. In order to satisfy the customer’s demand for immediate response, you need to have on your payroll a team of call handlers who are available 24/7 to answer questions.

Can your business afford such a luxury? A multinational business with a large call centre carries the risk of experiencing problems as noted earlier in this text. What is the answer? If you’ve never considered using a chatbot, now might be a good time.

What is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a robot that chats to your customers. Okay, so this might sound like something out of Star Trek. Captain Kirk asks the computer to plot a course to a galaxy far away and it answers him back. Well, actually that’s not too far from the truth.
Imagine this. The money you could save by not having to have call handlers available 24/7 to respond your customers’ questions.

Imagine the time that could be saved if an automated machine can give your customer answers to some of the most popular questions. If all your customer wants to know is how long it will take you to send them a product they want, do they really need to wait 20 minutes to find out? Do you really need to have a customer service operative to tell them? The answers are No and No. A Chatbot can do this for you.

What could a chatbot do for my business?

Chatbots are replacing the need for every customer question to be answered by a live person. In addition to being able to respond to telephone calls, chatbots are also replacing other forms of contact such as emails.
A chatbot can simultaneously have conversations with thousands of people. Because they never get tired or need breaks and they can be available 24/7. Imagine what that could do for your business.

At this stage in their development, chatbots are not able to replace human beings entirely. They can be programmed to answer simple questions and provide the popular information that is requested many times by your customers.

Once a more complicated query is generated, then your chatbot can be programmed to pass on the complex queries to customer support agents. In terms of customer satisfaction, the call has been answered very quickly and the query has been routed to the appropriate department or call handler.

Your chatbot can be programmed to be bound by rules in respect of how it treats your customers. It does not have good days and bad days. Its response will be polite and perfect no matter how the customer speaks to it. Chatbots can be programmed to speak the same language as the customer. Imagine what this means for the travel and hospitality industry.

Nothing is perfect

As with everything, problems can emerge. Artificial intelligence assisted Chatbots are not yet at a stage where they can display genuine and socially acceptable conversational skills. There is still some way to go.

That said, many companies are successfully using chatbots to enhance their business and give their customers the service they require. Brands such as Spotify, MasterCard, Starbucks and even the Wall Street Journal are taking advantage of Chatbots versatility. Is your company next?

Why not give us a call and find out how a chatbot can help your business? For more information, call us on 0151 652 4777 or email info@maxwebsolutions.co.uk.

Previous Article

The growing importance of voice search

Next Article

Top Five Twitter Advertising Tips

Subscribe to our newsletter: