Customer service leaders know that 2020’s CX strategy should be different from 2019’s—businesses need to evolve and modernize their CX to meet customers’ expectations. If a company is not offering self-service as an option, or if its existing chatbot is not keeping customers happy, then the solution probably involves investing in new technology.
Self-service has become table stakes for any brand looking to stay competitive, and personalization is top of mind in the realm of CX. According to Gartner, one of the top three things marketing leaders should do in 2019 is, “Deliver more personalized customer experiences that rely on increased automation.” Which means not just any chatbot will do.
Before investing in new technology, you’ll need to make a business case and stakeholder buy-in. Change is often hard, and for large organizations with a “we’ve always done it this way” approach, implementing a new platform can be especially challenging. But that’s no reason to shy away from changes that will level-up your business. In fact, if outdated processes are entrenched, it’s even more reason to update your support strategy.
Let’s look at the pros and cons associated with implementing a CX chatbot:
PRO: Empower your agents & CX team
Agents are a key part of the CX equation, and are often overlooked. When they spend their days dealing with repetitive, mundane tasks and inquiries, they tend to be less engaged. Low morale not only impacts the quality of service they’re providing, it can lead to high attrition rates. By automating the simple and repetitive tasks, companies can free up agents to work on more complex, valuable, and rewarding issues. This boosts agent morale leading to better engagement, higher quality service, and lower turnover.
With the right AI platform, CX professionals can build and manage the automated customer experience (ACX) from scratch. Accessible AI not only enables them to expand their skills, it increases the likelihood of buy-in from the whole team—which is crucial to success. Empowering CX pros also helps ensure that chatbot content aligns with actual need (i.e., FAQs are in fact FAQs) and that answers that feel natural, not robotic.
The average cost of agent attrition is $3,100-$5,100 per employee, and up to $20,000 for high-value, experienced agents
Source: Everest Group
PRO: Boost your key metrics, including ROI, revenue, and wait times
Chatbots can help organizations increase revenue by automating upsell and cross-sell opportunities. The trick is making the right offer to the right consumer at the right moment—and that calls for an intelligent AI-powered platform. The right chatbot can understand context, intent, and needs, crunching all the available data to make meaningful recommendations and drive sales.
Customer support has traditionally been a revenue-negative department, meaning it’s a cost centre that relies on other areas of the business to bolster its budget. But by increasing operational efficiency, lowering costs, and uncovering new revenue opportunities, a CX chatbot can help the support department stand on its own two feet.
By automating both answers and actions, you can drastically reduce wait times for your customers, which is a common source of frustration. At Ada ,we’ve been able to slash wait times by up to 98% for our clients.
PRO: Amplify your brand across channels
Creating a consistent brand experience across channels is crucial to good CX and driving customer loyalty. A chatbot can align with your brand on every level, including voice, tone, and visual design.
A smart chatbot platform makes it easy to roll out new channels as needed, so companies can engage customers where they are—such as Facebook Messenger, What’s App, website, mobile, and SMS.
82% of customers have stopped doing business with a company after a bad experience
PRO: Get personal and speak your customers’ language
All robot jokes aside, chatbots are able to personalize interactions through automation and deep integration with backend systems. They can recognize consumers and pull account data to greet them by name, refer to specific account details, and anticipate what they’re trying to achieve.
For businesses with customers in multiple countries, a chatbot can provide multilingual support at significantly lower cost than expanding physical operations by outsourcing or adding new contact centres. Chatbots also let businesses cater to multiple timezones by offering the 24/7/365 support today’s “always-on” consumers have come to expect.
PRO: Deeper insight into customer behaviour
A residual benefit of automating customer service interactions is the vast amount of data that comes with it. Analytics help organizations better understand customer behaviour via thousands of new customer conversations, which then makes it easy to see what’s working and what can be improved.
CON: Potential for misunderstanding and misalignment
Now let’s look at the challenges of implementing a chatbot into your CX.
Because AI is technology, many companies make the mistake of assigning ownership to the IT department. But allowing IT to lead implementation can be problematic.
ACX is still CX, and should be designed, implemented, and managed by the people who know your customers (and your business) best—your CX team. After all, you wouldn’t let your CX team fix IT errors, right? And neither should you let your IT team write your chatbot content, or decide which journeys to automate first. That will only slow down the process and result in impersonal automated conversations.
CON: Identity crisis - don't let customers confuse a chatbot with a live agent
While most consumers today are familiar with chatbots, and many prefer them, it’s still important to call out the fact that it’s an automated platform. Customers can feel misled if the chatbot doesn’t announce itself as an AI-powered device rather than a human support agent. (This is an easy fix though. Just make sure it introduces itself as a chatbot at the start of every conversation.)
CON: Lack of consistency across the customer experience
It can be confusing for customers if the chatbot is only rolled out on certain channels or pages. Instead, it’s best to roll automation out everywhere all at once so customers know their support options are consistent.
CON: If you build it…. it will take forever
While DIY or in-house approaches may sound like a good idea, they can become a huge time suck. AI is complex, advanced technology that works best when it has a TON of data to iterate on. Most in-house builds aren’t capable of replicating the tech or, if they are, lack the data required for proper training. In most cases it’s much more cost efficient to invest in purpose-built technology, which will also deliver a greater ROI.
Conclusion: Adding it up
If your company’s customer service strategy is outdated, implementing a smart chatbot may be a wise investment. Weigh the pros and cons, and consider the measurable benefits you can use to make the business case to the c-suite. In addition to lowering costs and uncovering new revenue opportunities, a chatbot adds flexibility, agility, and consistency to the CX, driving customer satisfaction and loyalty.
To find out how much Ada can help you save, check out our ROI calculator.
The original article was published here on January 29, 2020.