Presented by Helpshift
It’s a real statistic, and it’s damning: 38 percent of consumers would rather clean a toilet than contact your customer service center. Customers just want their problems solved — and want them solved without being thoroughly inconvenienced by real-time conversation that involves waiting on hold, getting transferred between departments and sometimes even getting hung up on. They call customer service back, but they’re not going to come back as a customer.
The heartening news: Half of consumers would prefer that all their customer service interactions be straight up text, chat, and/or messaging. Even better, almost half said that they’d prefer chatting with a bot — a number that continues to steadily grow as conversational interfaces become more and more entrenched. Here are six ways chatbot-assisted messaging is changing the customer service game.
1. Higher CSAT
Is customer satisfaction an important metric? That’s what we thought. So consider how much happier customers would be if they were able to save time, eliminate frustration, and get their questions answered if they were able to start a customer service conversation without having to wait around listening to tinny hold music, be transferred over and over, and lose their place in the queue if they have to hang up. Bottom line: Consumers value their time — and they value the brands that actually take this to heart.
2. Lower costs
Lowering operational costs is, as they say, the holy grail. And when bots and messaging enter the picture, the cost of implementation is more than covered by the huge gains in optimized self-service. Bots significantly improve efficiency via 24/7 automation of the most straightforward customer service tasks, which are the bulk of your customer service contacts, freeing up your customer service agents to focus on the more complex tasks.
3. Increased conversions
Customer service is often thought of as a cost center and not a profit center, but there it is: Superior customer service will ramp up repeat business and turn up the dial for word-of-mouth referrals. Customers are willing to spend more for better service: in 2017, 68 percent of consumers, and 78 percent of millennials shopped more with companies that offered good customer service — and 52 percent of them said they’d pay more for those good service experiences. With the ability to offer smart, contextualized help during the purchasing process, you’re able to improve the customer experience and boost their satisfaction.
4. Empowered customers
One of the sexiest core benefits of smart, messaging-based customer service is the ability to offer the kind of effective self-service that encourages users to resolve issues on their own — in other words, capabilities like user-friendly chatbots and well-designed knowledge bases. Two-thirds of consumers walk away feeling good about your company when they can handle a customer service issue on their own, without ever having to actually talk to a real person.
5. Maximized engagement
Beyond cross-selling and upselling along the user journey, smart bots offer you the ability to check in with your customers as they meander through the purchasing process, allowing customers to easily ask questions, dig deeper into their potential choices, and drop their search on one device, then pick it up seamlessly on another. You’re letting the customer know you have their back — and they’re feeling like your brand really cares about their business, and is remarkably on the ball and always available, too.
6. Highly productive agents
Bots can also do right by your customer service agents, not just by providing conversational self-service that shuffles off the routine tasks, but by automating the first steps of the customer service call, such as collecting information before routing tickets to agents. Machine learning algorithms can automatically triage and classify incoming issues so that calls go to the right place the first time, and smart, automated push notifications can be designed to alert customers when there’s an update to their case, so they’re not waiting in a queue and wasting their lunch hour. And your agents can then spend their time on more complex issues, providing increased job satisfaction.
Customer service can make or break your company, both reputationally and financially. Embracing messaging means harnessing the medium that consumers are overwhelmingly turning to when it comes to personal exchanges, and leveraging the convenience and cost savings of automated and AI-powered conversations. And you’ll have a massive competitive advantage, too.
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