Can Chatbots Really Be an Agent's New BFF?

June 21, 2018 Marin Rowe

We live in an amazing time. In the past year alone, we’ve seen SpaceX launch a car into spaceaugmented reality helping us make buying decision and, my personal favorite, a teenager leveraging the power of Twitter to earn a year’s worth of free Wendy’s chicken nuggets. To add to that, we’ve seen Artificial Intelligence (AI) pick up speed across a variety of industries – including customer service.  Today A.I. powered chatbots are helping customers do everything from understanding shipping and return policies to book entire international vacations.  As the technology continues to get smarter, and use cases expand, the question remains — where do the humans fit in?

The answer?  Humans are – and will remain – a critical part of customer service and support.  It can be easy to see all these great implementations of A.I. and assume it will solve all your customer service needs – but that is exactly where many companies are falling down.  Taking the people out of the equation. To really be successful in this new landscape, companies need to leverage both A.I. and human agents in the places and situations each are best at.  A.I., for example, is great at providing quick answers to simple questions via a chatbot or dynamic search bar (think: Google for each brand) and conversational A.I. is getting better and better at handling even complex queries.   But what A.I. doesn’t have is empathy, emotional intelligence.  This is where human agents shine and where meaningful customer relationships are created.  When it comes to complicated situations or areas where emotions are high, there is no replacement for a good conversation.

To create a modern and effective customer experience that results in higher CSAT, lower costs, and brand loyalty, there should be a natural symbiosis between agents and their chatbot counterparts – the Bert to their Ernie – the peanut butter to their jelly – you get it.   And this interdependence goes far beyond the idea hat chatbots can help customers in one scenario and people will help in others.  They need to work together as a team – helping each other along the entire journey.  True BFFs.

So let’s examine that a bit more.  Here are a few ways A.I. can be your agent’s best friend:
 

  • Sharing the Workload – Just like a true work BFF, chatbots can help take work off a busy agent’s plate – taking on those repetitive, mundane requests that bog down their day. Customers reap the benefit of getting quick responses day or night and agents have the bandwidth to handle high-touch, complex issues that create more impactful engagements. The time saved delivering faster responses might even provide agents an opportunity to take an actual lunch break. (Thanks Bert!) #BFFgoals
     
  • Act as a Personal Assistant – Ask any celebrity and they will likely tell you, their best friend is their personal assistant. Why?  Because personal assistants work tirelessly to make sure that they are prepared and look good in every situation.  Chatbots can quickly and efficiently gather necessary customer information to help inform an agent interaction — including the customer’s history with the brand and the context of the interaction so far so agents can dive right into solving the issue. Customers enjoy a personalized experience which makes them feel valued and agents are put in a position to be the stars they are.
     
  • Provide Advice – We all lean on our BFF for advice and the relationships between human agents and chatbots are no different. When integrated right, chatbots can always live in the background, assisting human agents during customer engagements – making recommendations on responses, assets to provide, or upsell opportunities.   This helps both the bot and the agents continually learn so they both can grow together and become quicker at diagnosing and solving customer problems.

The ultimate goal for most companies is to create an experience that keeps customers happy and loyal.  Adding a bot BFF seamlessly into the mix can help create faster resolutions, personalized interactions, and ultimately satisfied customers.

Give your agent their work BFF by adding AI to your customer engagement processes. Check out “The Next Evolution of Chatbots: How to Ensure a Bold Bot Future” for tips on how to get started.

This article was originally published here.

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