How to Use Chatbots in Customer Service Successfully
Offering good customer service pays off. It’s the best guarantee that your customers will come back, and purchase your products or services in the future. And chatbots can be a big part of that. They can not only improve your customer service, but also save resources, increase your sales, and make customers happier. Find out how to use chatbots in your customer service successfully.
In this article, you will read:
- Why customer service is essential for every company
- What chatbots can do for your customer service
- The best channels for implementing a customer service chatbot
- Four ways to use chatbots in customer service
- The best software to get started with your customer service chatbot right away
Offering good and efficient customer service is essential for every company. No matter how great your products or service are, customers will have questions or run into an issue. That happens to every business. However, how you handle these questions and complaints is what will make you stand out from your competitors.
Customers that have had a good experience with a company’s customer service, are more likely to return in the future, and recommend your company. On the other hand, if customers have had a bad experience, chances that they will leave negative reviews online or negative comments on social media about your business are very high.
Investing in customer service also makes sense from a larger business perspective, as it is up to eight times more expensive to gain a new customer than retaining an existing one.
In other words: high-quality customer service will improve your brand’s image, reduce costs, and increase sales. For most companies, none of this is new. However, what many are not aware of, is how much chatbots can help you improve our customer service.
While it is, of course, important to help your customers, processing numerous customer inquiries can become an overwhelming resource problem for companies. In addition, your service team ends up answering the same questions over and over again. This is tedious, tiring, and time-consuming, and ultimately frustrating for customers and your team.
When asked for their biggest problems, in handling clients queries, customer agents name mostly organizational challenges, such as finding the right answer in the system or switching between apps.
These are exactly the kind of tasks, at which chatbots exceed. Chatbots are extremely efficient at answering frequently asked questions, finding relevant data very fast, and accessing information in a company’s system.
- Chatbots can answer up to 69 percent of frequent customer queries successfully.
- They can offer customer support 24/7
- They are always learning and improving.
- They can be quick or patient, depending on the customer’s needs.
- Chatbots don’t forget important details! Customers don’t have to enter in their account number every time or reprogram the same settings.
- They’re low maintenance, and don’t have to be constantly updated
- They can ultimately free up a lot of resources for your company.
Chatbots are therefore becoming extremely important for companies, not only for your customer service team, but also when it comes to optimizing customer experiences.
Having an automated fast, efficient and around-the-clock customer service can also improve the customer experience.
Recent data also shows that, against popular belief, customers actually respond overwhelmingly positively to chatbots.
- 80 percent of customers have a positive experience with chatbots
- 22 percent of shoppers trust chatbot recommendations for purchasing a product.
- Using a high-quality chatbot leads to a more engaged audience, with 80 to 90 percent response rates. And even the worst experiences still reach response rates between 35 and 40 percent.
It is important to note, though, that, while chatbots can greatly improve your customer service, they don’t replace human agents.
Last year, our customers were able to have 45 million of their questions answered by a chatbot. This saves resources that can certainly be used in better ways, such as improving the capacity to answer more complicated questions and customer demands.
However, this doesn’t mean that chatbots are replacing employees. Instead, they help with routine tasks and collect important data at the beginning of interactions. This actually helps customer service and makes it better!
When thinking about introducing a chatbot for your customer support, you also need to figure out where you want to implement it. Depending on your business, your customers’ needs, and the channels of communication you use, there are different options.
A lot of companies decide to implement a customer service bot on their website. The advantage is that customers are already used to finding chatbots there, and will know how to use the tool intuitively. It also makes the chatbot service very visible and accessible to a lot of different customers.
The downside is that few customers contact companies with complaints or questions through their website. Instead, they tend to use the communication channels they are using for private conversations: messaging apps like WhatsApp, the Messenger from Meta (formerly Facebook Messenger), Twitter or WeChat.
So, for your service agents, it might only slightly reduce their workload as they will still get incoming queries from multiple other channels.
If you offer an app-based service, integrating a chatbot directly in the app is also a good possibility to meet customers where they want to communicate with you. This does require IT knowledge, though, and can be more costly than including a chatbot in a messaging app.
And of course you need to have an app in the first place. Therefore, this is a better solution for bigger companies that have the resources to create an app around their offers.
If your customers contact you through messaging apps, integrating a chatbot here is a clever solution for making the customer experience smoother, and stick to your customers’ favorite communication channels.
It takes some technical know-how to implement a chatbot into a messaging app, such as WhatsApp or Instagram Direct Messaging. And if your customers use several messaging apps to contact you, your agents still have to switch between different sites, and systems.
It is also important to keep in mind, that you need to guarantee data protection when communicating with your clients through a messaging app. For many messengers, such as WhatsApp, this will require a professional solution, like the WhatsApp Business API.
🔥 Tip: Explore in our free webinar what you can do with the WhatsApp Business API!
While it can have its advantages to implement a chatbot on individual channels, you will benefit the most if you are able to integrate a chatbot to be connected to all of your communication channels. This makes use of the efficiency of the bot on all channels, and it also enables your agents to handle the handovers from the bot on one platform.
❗️Important: As part of the October 2020 updates of the WhatsApp Business API WhatsApp announced that companies must ensure the handover of a WhatsApp bot to a human agent. This could be a handover in the chat, showing a phone number or e-mail, web support or a support form.
Ideally, this platform is also connected to your internal systems, such as your CRM, so it’s easy to provide a personalized customer experience with all the required customer data immediately available.
As a company, the easiest way to manage all queries and integrate a chatbot on one platform is to use a professional central communication platform, like the MessengerPeople Communication Platform. It allows you to:
- 👨⚖️ … use messaging apps via the official Business API for customer communication in a GDPR-compliant way.
- 🚀… Start without IT effort and in the shortest possible time, even from a work-from-home setup!
- 💻… Edit and reply to all messages centrally, regardless what messenger app they are coming from.
- ↔ … Assign requests as tickets to your co-workers manually or automatically through auto-routing.
- 🤖 … Easily set up automation using our simple chatbot builder, which is free of charge.
- ⬆️ … Boost your efficiency with templated replies through a chatblock builder.
There is also the possibility for a deep integration of an AI-based chatbot, developed by industry leader Chatlayer by Sinch.
Using a professional chatbot integration solutions offers many possibilities for improving your customer service.
For a lot of companies, a simple chatbot that you can set up in minutes with a chatbot builder is often all they need. A simple chatbot can be used relatively easily in first-level-support to answer basic questions. In this scenario, you can also understand the term chatbot as “intelligent auto-responding tool.”
For more complex questions, a chatbot can be used to sort and classify the questions. When the chatbot has figured out exactly what kind of problem it is, the correct employee can take a look.
BMW Munich is a great example for using a customer service chatbot as first level support. Before implementing a chatbot, BMW was handling their high level of incoming customer queries through a costly call center. This wasn’t only expensive, it also delayed the communication process, as agents had to constantly struggle to find the right customer information in BMW’s system.
With the help of a simple chatbot, however, BMW, was able to answer 3,800 requests per month.
Currently, their chatbot is able to answer about 80 percent of their customer inquiries.
We receive about 3,800 requests from customers, of which we answer about 3,000 automatically. The callback requests have dropped by 60% and the recommendation rate has risen to 90%!
Alrbert Rösch, Head of Service Consulting at BMW Munich
Basic chatbots can also go beyond customer service support, and help your sales team to qualify leads, while at the same time reducing the work load for your service team.
With some pre-programmed questions, it is easy for chatbots to find out very fast what a customer wants. Do they have a complaint about the product? Then, they’ll direct the customer to the service team. Do they have a question about a product the want to buy? In that case, it makes more sense to forward these leads to your sales team.
It’s actually a very simple solution that solves a lot of problems.
- Customers get the most adequate help.
- The customer service team doesn’t have to handle incoming queries that concern a different department
- Your sales team automatically gets qualified leads.
The women’s sports clothing company, Women’s Best, for instance, uses a bot to pre-qualify leads, and if an interested customer is detected, they are smoothly passed on to a sales rep, which also makes for a really smooth customer experience.
While the previous examples show how much a simple chatbot can do for your company can do, there are obviously also use cases where you might want a more sophisticated bot.
If you own a restaurant that wants to use a bot to take orders or are running an e-commerce company that wants to guide customers through a bot-led payment process, AI-based chatbots that use high-quality NLP training, like chatbots designed by Chatlayer, are a good choice because they are able to engage in more complex dialogues with your customers.
The Brazilian food delivery giant, iFood, for example, used Chatlayer’s conversational AI chatbot to lead an online onboarding process for new delivery drivers, and answer their most frequent questions. Through the automation, iFood was able to achieve a 91 percent satisfaction rate in their delivery staff onboarding, and a reduction of 70 percent in delivery service costs.
Companies are slowly recognizing that authentic conversations are the key to the customer’s heart.
Clients aren’t convinced any more by receiving thousands of ads or e-mails from a company. A good brand attracts a client towards them, instead of pushing them.
Matthias Mehner, Vice President Global Marketing at Sinch
This requires talking to them on a one-on-one basis, listening to their concerns and wishes, and solving their issues in an efficient manner. Conversational AI chatbots can be a great first approach to a more engaged conversation.
Bots are very good at gathering data, and if the conversational design is of high-quality, the bots will also be able to have a natural flow of conversation with a client, understanding their needs. This can greatly improve the customer service experience, and the image of your brand.
Foyer, a leading insurance and wealth management company, for example, was able to boost its customer service with a Chatlayer bot. The bot was not only able to handle requests 24/7, but also increased user satisfaction with personalized messaging.
The deep integration with Chatlayer by Sinch also allows for an AI-based integration of a virtual assistant on all channels. In combination with conversational design, it’s possible to create more natural and personalized dialogues.
👉 Tip: Get started with your first AI-based chatbot project right away! Set up a live demo with Chatlayer. The team will guide you via web demo through the product, and the Chatlayer experts are happy to answer all of your questions.
Find out more about chatbots
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