Chatbots: Are you with us or against us?

What's yours called — Siri, Alexa or something else? Soon, most businesses will have a chatbot, whirring away alongside human contact center agents. In fact, all the tech you need is now within easy reach.

Are the robots taking over?
Before getting too far into this topic, let's shoo some scary digital elephants out of the room. Chatbots won't transform overnight into robot overlords that imprison you at your desk — or hunt you down like The Terminator. But their march into the customer contact arena is unstoppable.

Research from Oracle shows that 80% of businesses already use, or are planning to launch, chatbots by 2020[1]. What's more, it's predicted that chatbots will power 85% of customer service interactions by 2020 and the average person will talk more with bots than with their spouse[2].

So what can chatbots do for me?
Put simply, chatbots can interact with thousands of your customers simultaneously, handling repetitive tasks and answering basic questions in a consistent way. This means you can reduce waiting times, improve service and provide 24x7 customer support. Then there are obvious savings if companies can employ fewer low-skilled agents — or switch them to more meaningful tasks.

But the best chatbots can go further. You can integrate them with other self-service features and agent tools as part of the omni-channel experience you deliver to customers. You can adapt them to fit your brand and audience. And the best solutions even enable chatbots to guide customers to secure automated payment options, Apple Pay by phone, or agent-assisted phone payments.

I've met chatbots before - and I hated them
We feel your pain. And, let's be honest, a grinning chatbot cartoon face just makes it so much worse. But Chatbots are only as good as their memory banks. So if you've encountered a bionic buffoon that doesn't grasp your simple request — and locked you into a never-ending conversational loop — then it's because they've been starved of knowledge.

Chatbot rage can be avoided if you follow these three steps:
Step #1: Keep it simple
Fail to choose the chatbot’s tasks carefully you’ll end up with an irritating android that customers will despise — just like they loathe bad IVRs. It's essential to only let your chatbot handle the low-skilled, repetitive tasks and leave the complex, intelligent stuff to human agents.
Step #2: Boost its brainpower
Behind every successful chatbot is a thoughtful Knowledge Base, supplying the right answers every time. Choose the right chatbot specialist as your technology partner and they'll supply a ready-made Knowledge Base for you to use immediately — or help you to build your own.
Step #3: Make it part of your team
The arrival of chatbots is good news for human agents, saving them from many mind-numbing tasks. But it's important to ensure there's a swift and seamless handover between your android agents and human ones —every time a customer's enquiries prove more complex. That's where human agents really shine and make the difference.

Discover more
Eckoh's chatbot technology can embed neatly within Multi-Channel and Omni-Channel contact center environments. Take a look at our eGuide and discover how you can make this work for you and your customers.

Sources:
[1]'80% of businesses want chatbots by 2020' (Business Insider, Dec. 14, 2016)
[2]AI By The Numbers: 33 Facts And Forecasts About Chatbots And Voice Assistants (Forbes, May 15, 2017)

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Posted by eckoh at 11:46 AM on Oct 13, 2017

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