If you’re on the hunt for solutions to improve the customer experience, you hear about them all the time now: chatbots.

Mark Zuckerberg thinks that live chat, delivered by chatbots, is the future of business communication. And the numbers back this up. A study conducted by Drift, Salesforce, and myclever found15% of 1 000 survey participants used a chatbot over the past year. They expected the number to grow “considerably” in the near and long-term future.  And Gartner predicts by 2020, 25% of customer service support operations will include chatbot technology, increasing from two percent in 2017.

Beyond the hype, chatbots deliver dramatic improvements to the customer experience.

When Autodesk, a 3D design software firm, introduced chatbots to improve its customer experience, there was a significant drop in resolution time  - falling from 1.5 days to just five minutes.

In addition to time-savings, chatbot solutions, like live chat, reduce costs.  Businesses worldwide spend $1.3 trillion on 265 billion customer service requests.

Autodesk cut the per case cost from $15 to $200 to $1. But these figures don’t mean chatbots will replace humans. Gene Alvarez, of Gartner, said organizations were beginning to see the benefits of chatbots, and the ease of escalating to a human in complex situations.

In fact, the best approach is where chatbots work with human agents.

Human and chatbot collaboration

An HBR study of 1 500 companies found deployments of artificial intelligence achieved peak performance when the machines worked alongside human colleagues.

Leading marketing software company, HubSpot, illustrates how humans and chatbots can generate more leads and deliver better customer experiences.

The HubSpot sales team was handling live chat on its website, acting as the first port of call for customers. But the sales team ended up fielding hundreds of queries on product support and other routine queries, blocking them from pursuing high-potential leads. They introduced a chatbot who would refer a lead to the sales team when required.

“... we noticed each sales rep needed to know three key facts about the user to tailor the conversation to their business -- name, email, and website."

The sales team said that in an ideal world, they wanted this context before chatting with a prospect -- an issue we knew a chatbot could solve. We programmed the chatbot to collect this information in a natural, contextual way,” writes HubSpot’s Connor Cirillo.

The results?

Compared to HubSpot’s live chat, 75% more people engaged with the chatbot, and over 55% reached a human.

“While the drop-off there may seem steep, sifting out low-intent people proved incredibly helpful for the sales team,” said Cirillo.

The human touch

If you’re considering using chatbots to engage with customers, do a study of your company’s most repetitive tickets. Chatbots can reduce the volume of these routine requests. Common examples are FAQs on issues like resetting passwords, or information located somewhere on your website.

Bots do a great job of quickly resolving those routine cases. Tickets requiring advanced troubleshooting - and sensitive situations like dealing with an unhappy customer - will be better suited to a human.

Scalable, cost-effective customer service with Touch

Live chat software like Clickatell Touch resolves business queries in real-time, escalating to an agent when necessary. You’ll be able to provide 24/7 support to your customers without driving up costs. Touch will integrate seamlessly into your existing CRM. Because it grows with your business, it’s a scalable, cost-effective way to deliver increased customer satisfaction.

If you want to tap into the power of chatbot-human collaboration to deliver a superior customer experience, check out Touch today.

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