What issues most commonly arise during customer interactions?
Do you want to use your chatbot to simply direct customers to the correct department, or do you want them to handle entire conversations with artificial intelligence?
What kind of analytics dashboard would your team members require?
On which devices or digital channels will you offer your chatbot?
What is your overall goal when installing a chatbot? For example, will you be limiting web chat queues and increasing efficiency?
Pricing is also an essential point to consider. The cost of a chatbot can vary greatly, depending on the features and functions you require.
The other primary consideration is which provider is going to code your chatbot.
Even if you go for a simple scripted bot, what if you need to update its answers with newer, more relevant information?
Is the solution you're reviewing easy enough to update, or does it require more of an in-depth focus?
Keeping these kinds of questions at the forefront of your mind will help you find a customer service chatbot that'll truly complement a seamless customer experience.
How to improve customer service with chatbots
These days, chatbots are an essential part of any customer service solution.
In fact, 40% of millennial customers say they interact with chatbots every day!
Still, that doesn't mean every business uses them to their best ability.
When businesses fail to use chatbots correctly, it can cause user tension and ruin the customer experience.
That said, this doesn't mean customer support chatbots are the wrong choice for your business!
Far from it, in fact. It's more that some organisations don't design their chatbots in line with their customers' needs.
To make sure you can offer the best customer support and achieve your customer service goals, you'll need to take into account two main areas.
As we've already seen, deciding on your chatbot's purpose is hugely important.
Overestimating your chatbot's abilities is a sure-fire way to annoy its users.
This isn't exactly a great move!
Customers won't be satisfied if they encounter a chatbot that appears to be more advanced than it is.
It's the same case if you present your chatbot as a real human.
When your customers discover that they're dealing with a bot, they're going to realise you've broken their trust.
Again, this is not a good look.
So, make sure your chatbot’s purpose is clearly defined, both for yourself, and your customers.
Unlike humans, chatbots don't come with a personality of their own.
It's another aspect you're going to have to think about before you deploy.
An excellent tip for deciding on your chatbot's personality is to consider how you want to broadcast your chatbot’s chosen purpose.
For example, say you want to offer a scripted bot to deflect customers from your live chat agents.
If this bot only answers the simplest of questions, the bot doesn't need a huge personality.
In this scenario, it's best to give it a generic, 'bot-like’ personality instead.
Your customers might get irritated if you code a simple bot with too much of a presence when it only answers scripted questions.
Again, your customers might think your bot is more powerful than it really is.
That said, chatbots don't always need to be boring.
Suppose your brand has a fun image and tone, and your bot uses artificial intelligence to converse.
In that case, a more fun personality could be a great move for an improved customer experience.
Just remember to create a personality that best speaks to your target audience.
With 48% of customers stating that fast resolution times are more important than quirky personalities, it’s proof that a succinct chatbot interaction isn't off-putting.
Chatbots vs live chat agents: Which is best?
Research shows that by 2022, 75-90% of customer queries will be handled entirely by chatbots.
Even so, the best approach to deploying customer service chatbots is to use them alongside a dedicated support team.
Not only can human agents solve far more complicated queries, they can also assist your customers on multiple channels like web chat and video chat.
After all, how do you think your customers will feel if they get into a knot during a chatbot interaction?
Even if the chatbot does supply quick answers, users will only get annoyed if the responses they receive don't make any sense!
This scenario will hardly improve engagement.
So, if your chatbot will serve as your primary point of contact, it might be best to adopt a Virtual Agent that can understand when a user is getting annoyed or confused.
That way, they can escalate the interaction to another channel where a human agent can efficiently take over.
Industry examples of customer service chatbot
Here are a few industry use case examples, demonstrating what's possible with your customer service chatbot.
Financial services: HSBC
High street banks don't often have the best reputation for customer service.
They can be infamous for long phone queues and complicated online processes.
To rise above their competitors, HSBC recently launched a chatbot to improve their online response times and functionality.
Using AI-based technology, HSBC’s chatbot can now offer online policy information in a fast and customer-friendly manner.
Fast food: Dominos
Domino's launched their chatbot 'Dom' back in 2017.
First offered through Facebook Messenger, this customer service chatbot is now available through various contact channels, helping customers order their deliveries and keep track of their orders in a fun and engaging way.
For more on Dom and the customer engagement success it's brought Domino's, check out our article on the best ecommerce chatbots!
Nike's 'Stylebot' is another customer service chatbot that got its start on Facebook Messenger.
Nike's bot is proof that a great imagination can help to improve the online customer experience.
With their chatbot, users can browse outfits based on their personality, not just their preferences.
It's proved a creative way to offer fast and automated customer service while increasing convenience, engagement, and satisfaction.
What's the best customer support chatbot?
Now that we've outlined how a customer service chatbot can work for various businesses, you might be wondering which chatbot providers offer the best solution.
To help you decide, we've outlined a few of the key names you should explore.
You might've seen it coming, but we'd be remiss not to highlight Talkative's own customer service chatbot in this discussion.
That said, Talkative's AI Virtual Agent is one of the best chatbot options available.
Lightning-fast responses mean you can keep your customers smiling and reduce the pressure on your live chat agents.
What's more, you can humanise your chatbot experience by linking your bot with several other customisable communication channels.
Whether you need a standalone deployment or integration with big names like Salesforce, Mitel, and Microsoft, we've got you covered.
Add a no-code building experience into the mix, and you'll be able to deploy your customer service chatbot with ease.
When it comes to customer service chatbots, Zendesk is a big name for a reason.
Adopting their solution will mean your business is amongst some colossal brand names too.
Much like Talkative's solution, you can use Zendesk's customer service chatbot to answer customer queries at any time, night or day.
However, their basic package only allows you to offer 50 AI answers to your customers a month - so make sure you properly check their pricing tiers for your needs!
Freshworks is another excellent option.
Much like Talkative's customer service chatbot, their model enables you to qualify leads on your website and answer visitor questions, all based on user behaviour.
It means you can help boost both your sales and support teams, all thanks to intelligent automation.
Freshworks is traditionally known as a helpdesk software provider too, so if a chatbot isn't your primary concern, it's a great choice.
FAQs about customer service chatbots
To round off our discussion on chatbots and Virtual Agents, here are the answers to your most frequently asked questions.
When were chatbots invented?
The first 'chatterbot', ELIZA, was invented by professor Joseph Weizenbaum in 1966.
Where do chatbots get their information?
Chatbots retrieve information from a company's knowledge database. They can also pull data from AI technology like NLP and machine learning.
Do customers actually like chatbots?
They do! However, a poorly programmed chatbot can cause huge customer perception issues. It's the same with any other self-service tool - even FAQ pages can sour the customer experience if they aren't written helpfully.
Does chatbot installation take long?
Customer service chatbots can be installed in minutes!
What kinds of questions can chatbots answer?
For best practice, you should limit your chatbots to answering basic customer requests.
Should you always keep chatbots on?
It's up to you! Some companies only turn on their chatbot during out of office hours. Some keep them on 24/7. It all comes down to your needs.
Can chatbots speak in other languages?
Yes! Talkative's chatbot uses our multilingual translation, meaning it can deal with over +100 languages.
Can you connect chatbots to other channels?
You can! Chatbots work great in conjunction with live chat. It enables bots to escalate interactions when they don't understand a customer's query.
How do chatbots escalate to human agents?
Chatbots can be programmed to escalate queries when they don't understand the user's requests or when they type a keyword of your choosing, e.g. 'speak to human'.
Is it easy to create your own chatbot?
Building a chatbot requires a large amount of coding experience. In contrast, chatbots can be simple to implement with customer service platforms like Talkative.
Can you design how your chatbot looks?
You can! Thanks to Talkative's widget builder, you can create your chatbot in line with your brand and website.
What security concerns are there with bots?
If a customer service chatbot collects data, the biggest concern for businesses is security and customer privacy. It's why our customers choose Talkative - they know all our contact channels are security compliant, valuing privacy and safety above all else.
What name should you give your chatbot?
Depending on your brand, you might want to opt for a serious name or something more fun. Either way, it's best to make it evident that customers are speaking to a bot.
Do I need a chatbot or a Virtual Agent?
Again, it’s really up to you! While Virtual Agents are far smarter than basic chatbots, it all comes down to your needs. To help you decide which will work best for you, get in touch with Talkative today.
Customer service chatbots in summary
As an automated customer service tool, chatbots are the prime choice for increasing interactions while reducing pressure on contact agents.
They can offer your customers fast answers, 24/7 and 365 days a year.
What’s more, they'll help you automate the same sterling customer service that you would offer in person.
Want more information on how you can engage more of your site's visitors with automated customer service? Book a demo with Talkative today.
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