What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is an AI-powered bot as an add-on feature for your web and in-app messaging experience. It will automatically respond to support tickets with a list of potentially relevant articles in your help center by analyzing titles, text, and labels. It encourages self-service in your customer base, raises awareness of your product offerings, reduces time spent on tickets, and so on.
You can customize a chatbot to fit your specific business needs. Let’s take Intercom, a customer messaging platform, as an example. Besides answering user questions faster with smart suggestions, Intercom uses a bot named Operator to separate support and sales conversations, qualify leads, collect article feedback and users’ contact info, schedule sales meetings, maintain close conversations, and measure customer satisfaction.
How does it work?
There are two types of workflow of chatbots. One is constantly mimicking humans to keep conversation going and engage customers. The other one identifies users’ issues and provides a list of suggestions from the help center. This type of chatbot typical workflow follows three steps. Let’s see an example of Answer Bot from Zendesk, a customer service software that tracks, prioritizes, and solves customer support tickets.
Step 1– User asks a question
Step 2– Answers are suggested by the bot
Step 3– The ticket is solved
*Step 4– Or, routed back to an agent if the user still needs help
If that’s the case, the agent will receive the feedback automatically to improve future suggestions.
The last step is optional. After the ticket is solved, you can ask the user to rate the experience to better understand the performance.
What are the Benefits?
Streamlining and optimizing customer service operations, a chatbot helps to enhance customer satisfaction, improve business efficiency, optimize cost, and collect customer feedback.
Enhance customer satisfaction
- Offer 24/7 customer service, leading to no waiting time
- Resolve issues quickly by providing relevant articles within seconds
- Create a personal customer experience to keep the customer engaged
Improve business efficiency
- Automate repetitive tasks
- Handle massive ticket volume
- Tailor suggestions by processing tons of information with no omission
- Cut down ticket volume that could go to customer support or success team
- Lower labor expenses by reducing tickets volume and equipping agents with context about the query
- Better allocate human resources
- Bring scale with chat concurrency
- Increase ROI (Return On Investment) in agents and customers
Collect feedback with speed and ease
- Keep track of conversations so that customer success teams can review them to gain insights
- Gather user feedback on product and support experience for improvement
- Ask visitors for their contact info to be notified of your reply if they leave your platform
- Conduct surveys to rate their experience when you close a conversation
What are the Challenges and Limitations?
A chatbot is designed to automate and scale one-to-one conversations. Unfortunately, as you may notice from your daily experience, chatbots sometimes fail to deliver user experiences that are as seamless, delightful and efficient as envisioned. Chatbots are facing some common challenges and limitations:
- They require a large amount of tutorials to be in the help center to serve as a source
- Depending on the case, questions may need further analysis
- Proactive messages can be annoying, or poor language processing can lead to misunderstandings:
- Some people prefer to talk to a human being instead of a machine. Technology can’t (yet) enable a bot to perceive user intents correctly from the context of a conversation, language usage, and emotions. Simply put, a chatbot can’t imitate the way humans think, talk, and react well enough.
Despite the fact that chatbots can’t replace human Customer Success champions, here are some tips to maximize the value of a chatbot:
- Welcome users and make it personal, for example, by calling users by name
- Write succinct, insightful and practical articles
- Use article labels to reduce the “noise”
- Make the message display easy to read and conversational by highlighting keywords and/or adding Emojis 😀
- Detect complicated or emotional interactions and hand off to a human
- Solicit user feedback and act on them