With phones ringing constantly in your contact center, you’re likely always looking for ways to improve your service offering. And there’s one way you can do just that: by using chatbots. This isn’t just one of the many marketing trends being punted as game changing. This is tech that’s here to stay.

Chatbots are able to answer multiple calls in the time it would take a contact center agent to resolve one query. And these bots are able to learn from previous interactions, making them more efficient as time goes by. They’re also able to know when the call should be handed over to an agent to properly complete the call.

We know that your customers want to interact with your business on their terms. They want to ask questions and resolve problems. They’re used to doing everything with the small device that’s always in the palm of their hand. They want to be able to use chat rather than voice.

Accenture's recently released Global Consumer Pulse Research study highlights the importance of businesses acting at the same speed which consumers do. The study tracked the intentions and actions of consumers across the world for a decade. It gives insights into how technologies have reshaped customer behavior and needs. It highlights how companies have struggled to keep pace with consumers who expect speedy service but are still encountering clunky, confusing websites, long call center wait times, and difficulties solving problems, irrespective of the channel used.

How have companies solved these issues?

"It starts by becoming a 'multi-speed customer company'. Such companies have moved beyond the one-size-fits-all customer agenda," says the research.

These companies have mastered the approach to both analog and digital, allowing customers to interact in ways they feel most comfortable. This allows them to keep their existing customers while being better positioned to compete for new ones who’re looking for a better option.

So, why are chatbots better than voice?

As that study pointed out, customers are tired of being on hold for extended periods of time. And chatbots are perfectly positioned to step into this space. If your business isn’t offering the type of support your customers demand, you aren’t delivering what's needed to retain your existing ones and attract new customers. An example of a tool doing just that is Clickatell Touch which reduces contact center query volumes by using live chat and bot-driven interactions.

In a new article by customer engagement company [24]7, five reasons are outlined for why chat is beneficial for business. Their five reasons are: cost saving and improved customer satisfaction, everywhere availability, greater upsell opportunities, access to intent and insight analytics, and system automation.

The article does caution: “Despite their many benefits, chatbots are not the sole answer to everything. Chatbots need to be supplemented with fully developed chat programs for when the customer question is too complex for the bot. If you’ve done this right, the customer will stay in the same channel, and experience a warm handoff from chatbot to chat agent to ensure the experience continues and they don’t need to start over.”

Take the example of intent and insight analysis. With chat, you’re able to access a complete record of every interaction with the customer. You’re able to see what may have gone wrong if they’re dissatisfied, you’re able to find opportunities to sell them more products or services, and, importantly, you’re able to improve your chat program continuously. And looking to the example of upsell opportunities, chatbots are able to target customers who have the highest probability of purchase. So, chatbots really are so much more than a marketing trend. They’re a business contact center essential.

The reality is that while your customers may want to communicate with your business via chat, it’s actually beneficial for you to fully embrace it. Adding chat to your contact centers is likely to be fairly simple and inexpensive. The benefits to your business are actually countless, so why wouldn’t you want to do that?

Well, one of the areas where chatbots are still lacking and why they need to be supplemented with chat programs is that they’re not able to connect fully with customers. One of our recent articles highlights their inability to ask and answer the types of personal questions which tend to elicit the types of responses which serve to really understand customer issues. The article explores why chatbots need to get more personal to increase engagement and improve interactions.

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