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The business case for chatbots

Maurizio Pesce (Flickr), CC license

You can have all your communication channels lined up and ready to go, your agents trained to help via phone, email, SMS, web chat and via social media, but you could be missing a trick. One that could provide a cost saving to your company and quick resolution of enquiries from your customers: chatbots.

Although chatbots have received a fair amount of media attention recently, the technology is still in its infancy when it comes to its effective application in South African businesses environments. Intrinsically chatbots represent automation – self-service within a “human form”. This can offer a wide-range of benefits when it comes to facilitating and resolving customer queries efficiently and without the need of human involvement.

Currently, the most common application of this technology occurs when interactions are relatively simple – freeing up customer service teams to use their knowledge and training to resolve more complex queries.

The business case for chatbots

You may have an extensive contact centre or a smaller team, the fact remains that whenever customer service agents are engaging with customers directly, this takes time and costs money. Conversely, customers don’t always want to deal with a contact centre and the pain points that it can represent (such as being on hold or frequently transferred and having to repeat information), especially if all they want to do is to activate a service or the answers to some relatively simple questions.

It depends on the nature of your business – and, within that the reasons why your customers may interact. In sales or customer service, it can be reassuring to have human interaction, especially for your older customers who are more accustomed to using voice as a medium. On the other hand, younger consumers are adept at finding their way around mobile platforms, preferring the speed and ease with which they can get things done.

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