The pace of technological change continues to increase. In 2018, cutting-edge technologies like AI, IoT, and blockchain had a collective market value of $350 billion. By 2025, the value will be $3.2 trillion — nearly a tenfold increase in less than a decade.
These numbers are astounding. They’re also easy to misinterpret. As more companies utilize new technologies, those innovations will have diminishing returns. Businesses won’t be able to use novel tools, products, or services to differentiate themselves because everyone will offer something unique and impressive. Instead, they’ll have to stand out by finding ways to improve the customer experience (CX).
Amazon Connect, the omnichannel cloud contact center platform from Amazon Web Services, helps companies optimize their CX by delivering seamless support through the power of technology. In this post, we’ll examine one of the platform’s specific capabilities: chatbot technology.
How to Use Chatbots for Customer Service
Chatbots and customer experience go hand in hand: they make service more accessible for customers while lowering costs for service providers. That said, there are right and wrong ways to leverage chatbots. Follow these best practices to realize the full potential of this technology:
- Be clear and direct — Configure the chatbot to ask clear questions with specific answers. Avoid queries like “How may I help you?” in favor of more direct questions like “What product do you need help with?”
- Guide the customer — Show users how to interact with the chatbot instead of assuming they know what to do. Instruct them as clearly and concisely as possible. Otherwise, you risk further customers.
- Ingest information — Have the conversational chatbots harvest information from chat logs and put it into predetermined “slots.” If someone writes, “I want to change my address to xxx,” for example, it’s important to make sure the chatbot can retrieve the street and house number without having to take extra steps to ingest this information.
- Confirm intent — Have the chatbot confirm what the customer wants and then confirm they received exactly that. This step helps reduce customer effort.
- Assign a clear goal and purpose — Ensure that the chatbot has a well-defined purpose. Chatbots can improve service, FAQs, ordering capabilities, and more, but don’t rely on one chatbot application to be everything to everyone.
- Support all input types — Allow users to interact with the chatbot however feels most organic: buttons and text for chat, voice or digits for speech.
- Personalize by brand — Keep chatbots from feeling like robots by injecting some personality into the experience. Try to make a personalized chatbot a reflection of your brand, whether it’s defined by fun, helpfulness, or professionalism.
- Leave anything to “common sense” — Conversational chatbots need to be programmed for precise, specific directions, not assumed expectations for typical human speech. Though human conversations follow a number of unwritten rules, conversational chatbots cannot.
- Ignore expectations — Anticipate customer expectations most likely to cause chatbot problems, such as customers requesting information the chatbot can’t retrieve. Address those issues before rolling out the feature.
- Forget to follow up — Ensure that the chatbot works with the notification and CRM system so that it can follow up with customers about incomplete queries and integrate into the overall customer journey.
- Overstuff features — Give the chatbot everything it needs to serve customers and nothing more. Unnecessary bells and whistles only detract from the customer experience.
- Overload with text —Be concise and maximize readability when responding to customer queries. Chatbots shouldn’t respond with large, unbroken blocks of text that are hard to read and remember.
- Assume a linear path — Make sure the chatbot can accommodate customers’ quick conversation pivots or gently steer the customer back toward their original query.
- Force chatbots on customers — Always give customers a way to transfer the conversation to a live agent or the next level of service in case chatbot technology isn’t enough. Some people refuse to use chatbots, and others need more help than a chatbot can provide.
Chatbots are ambassadors. They make an early impression that affects the entire customer experience. Consequently, that impression needs to be a positive one.
When designed and used correctly, chatbots can enhance the customer experience in ways that elevate service, increase satisfaction, drive sales, and promote loyalty. To learn more, click here.