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Chatbots as the most cost-effective way to answer questions WHEN THEY COME UP

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From one of our recent customer service chatbot projects we conducted for a customer, we learned about the question consumers asked most frequently. It had to do with whether a certain offering was a standard part of the customer’s contract (as in “do you offer free returns for what I recently bought?”).

Our immediate reaction to our customer was: “how can this be the top question asked? Do you not tell your customers at contract closure?” Their answer? “Of course we do! And not only once!

So where’s the disconnect? In customer service, questions arise when they arise — not before, not after. People have short attention spans. If you present them with information not relevant to their current needs, they will likely forget (or not even memorize in the first place.) Try to train your sales team on a new product; if they aren’t currently selling it, you might as well talk to a wall (sorry sales colleagues! 😉) — they aren’t listening, it’s not relevant to them at that point in time. They need the information when they need it, in the format they prefer.

As a business, there is really nothing you can do about it. Your customers will ask you when they need to know, no matter how hard you try to tell them upfront. So what do you do? You implement the most cost-effective way to answer the question, while making it as convenient as possible for the customer to ask the question. How you ask? With a chatbot.

Chatbots are “digital users” on messaging mediums like Messenger, SMS, or Twitter DM, and they are best for answering simple questions. They can connect the consumer with a customer service representative if necessary (even staying on the same chat channel), but if the question is simple, they can answer it without any human involvement needed. IVR has been proving that for the last 20 years.

Why not just put the answer on your website you ask? You can — yet your customers will still contact you and ask you. It’s what humans do; they ask questions. Pushing buttons and selecting menu items to get questions answered is what the computing industry has trained us to do over decades, but that does not mean it is how we WANT to do things. No wonder the leading technology thinkers in the world are considering messaging and conversational UIs the next paradigm in computing.

So if your customers still call you and thus still cause significant cost in your call center, what should you do you ask? (An agent call can easily cost $10, an IVR call might be $1, a chatbot interaction can be cheaper than that.) Easy: have your IVR announce the messaging option at the beginning of the call, send a text message (with caller consent) to lead the caller over to the digital option. They will try it out. Then they will thank you. And your bottomline will grow.

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magnoliaChatbots as the most cost-effective way to answer questions WHEN THEY COME UP

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