Customer Experience, Technology, Work

Connecting the Customer Service Dots at ICMI 2019

Any article that myself and the brilliant Bob Furniss are both in is very good in my book!

Click through to read this great writeup of our respective ICMI Connections sessions.

Here’s my section…

Bots Make It Better

In a session directly following, the conversation turned to another potential solution for alleviating agent workloads.

In “Fantastic Bots and How to Build Them,” Kaye Chapman, learning and development manager at customer experience solutions provider Comm100, discussed what goes into an effective chatbot implementation strategy, and how enterprises and contact centers can benefit from chatbots. 

It all starts with a strong knowledge base. That’s because “artificial intelligence isn’t just intelligent [by] design,” Chapman said. Chatbots need to be programmed with “an idea of the right answer”; a knowledge base provides chatbots with it. Similar to other technology implementations, up-to-date data that comes from a single source is ideal for chatbots, she added. 

The next step is to see what tasks are best suited for the chatbot and what channels are best to deploy them on. Chatbots are best used for simple transactional tasks like “taking payments, making data changes, booking appointments,” Chapman said.

And don’t overburden chatbots with formats that aren’t ideal, she warned — text is “reasonably straightforward, but voice “is a whole different ballgame.” With voice, AI jumps “two hurdles,” understanding the request (picking up tone, pacing, and accents), and then fulfilling the request, she explained. 

Rather than deploying customer-facing chatbots, contact centers might opt to first deploy chatbots to assist agents. Bots can provide agents with “thoughtful responses, so they don’t have to go searching” and are considered “lower stakes” since customers won’t be exposed to any chatbot errors, Chapman said.

Additionally, “agent-facing AI can reduce costs simply by shaving off … a few seconds” that it would take agents to search for an account message or pull up a knowledge base. 

Many enterprises are looking to chatbots to reduce costs and improve workforce productivity, but the time and money saved from chatbots can be best used to “doubling down on quality” by “investing in agent training, … spending more time on onboarding, [and] by giving them the support they need to deal with really horrible queries,” Chapman said.

Chatbots can focus on simple tasks, and agents can be delegated more complicated tasks that require a human touch. Whether its implementing chatbots or opening channels of communication between IT and contact center management, the two sessions provided suggestions for how to reduce the workloads of contact center agents. The result for both: happier agents and better customer experiences.

Originally posted at NoJitter.

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