According to IBM, “265 billion customer support requests are made every year, and [servicing these requests] costs businesses a whopping $1.3 trillion.” That’s a daily average of over 726 million requests. While no single company is responsible for handling that volume, it’s easy for companies of all sizes to feel the pressure of high customer service demand. With the advent of smartphones, the Internet, phone apps, and more, customers have come to expect a smooth, simple, fast experience—whether at 3pm or 3am.
So how can companies continue to provide exceptional customer service without overworking their best employees or spending a fortune? Automation and artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence tools like chatbots work with humans to deliver an unprecedented level of service. While humans on live chat platforms are still the driving force that’s in control, automation and artificial intelligence combine to manage repetitive/simple tasks, provide better access to data, and expedite processes throughout the customer journey. This assistance improves both agent training and customer support.
With the addition of chatbots, live chat agents can train faster and in better detail.
Agents learn faster
From their first day on the job, agents have a chatbot resource available to assist them. As they train, agents can get questions answered in the blink of an eye, enabling them to learn faster. Because the chatbot provides relevant content in real time, agents no longer need to take time studying informational materials.
Transitioning is easier
Agents can also rely on chatbots as they transition from training to live chat, where they are actively helping customers.
Better customer support
Chatbots handle the easy stuff
Automated chatbots help customers before agents are ever involved, using machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to handle simple conversations entirely on their own. One chatbot, for example, recognizes 40+ distinct use cases to quickly resolve simple requests.
Customers are connected faster
In cases where live chat agents are needed, chatbots use conversational data to route customers to the correct agent. This routing saves considerable time and energy for both agents and customers, reducing wait times and improving accuracy.
Agents can do more
When agents are involved, they can handle multiple conversations at once. Not only are they able to switch between text conversations as needed, but agents also receive information support from chatbots, reducing the time and effort required to find relevant data. Compared to phone conversations, these text chats allow agents to serve a higher quantity of customers in less time, and with improved individualized service to boot.
The bottom line
Conversations are more cost-effective
Chatbots provide information faster and more accurately than humans can. According to a survey by Aspect, the average chatbot customer service session is 80% cheaper than a voice session (roughly $8 to $10 versus $35 to $50). That’s quite a savings!
Customers get what they need
In addition to accurately routing, chatbots prevent re-engagement by predicting a customer’s future needs and offering relevant information during the first interaction.
Agents are happier—and they stay
With the support of automated chatbots, live chat human agents get work done faster, manage their time better, and interact more with colleagues. These benefits all lead to one thing: happier employees. With an improved quality of work life, fewer employees are likely to quit, which saves companies the extraordinary cost of hiring new workers.
Juniper Research predicts that by using chatbots, consumers and businesses will save over $8 billion by 2022. This technology is changing training and support practices across industries, including yours.
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Lionel Bodin is the Director of Digital Transformation at Logic20/20. He manages highly complex, multi-faceted digital programs related to CRM systems, cloud and on-prem implementations, Big Data, and more.