7 Ways Chatbots Help Teams Move Faster

For many years, it seemed like “chatbot” was a bad word.

People likened them to automated voice attendants. Many businesses would put chatbots on their websites without much strategy or thought—using them to effectively act as a search engine.

But that mentality has changed. Technology has caught up with the implementation, and using chatbots as part of your customer service strategy is essential.

In fact, Zendesk reports that high-performing customer service teams are 2.9x more likely to use AI-powered chatbots to help with agent workflow.

Now, you can weave chatbots into every part of your customer service to help your support team work faster.

Keep reading to see how bots streamline workflows and maximize agent efficiency.

1. Answer common questions

Chatbots do not replace human agents. They can, however, alleviate the volume of inquiries by answering simple, repetitive questions.

Questions like:

  1. Where’s my order?
  2. Does this come in other sizes/colors
  3. What’s the return policy?
  4. What are your hours?
  5. How do I reset my password?

This list isn’t comprehensive, as you can customize your chatbot to answer common questions your agents receive.

Don’t underestimate chatbots’ ability to answer customer questions. Daily Harvest, a meal kit delivery service and Quiq client, reduced the demand on their agents’ time with a custom chatbot.

Sage, their digital care guide, now assists with common inquiries and contains 60% of conversations.

This means only 40% of conversations were elevated to a live agent—a far cry from what they managed before Sage came along.

See how Daily Harvest and Quiq worked together to get such excellent results >

2. Collect information upfront

How much time do agents spend collecting and entering customer information? Customers message your support team and are peppered with twenty questions before they can even get to the reason for their call.

Instead, use a chatbot as your welcome wagon.

They can help customers instantly and succinctly gather all the information needed to serve them. Just like your agents would, the chatbot can enter it into your conversational platform so that the data is readily available should they need to be transferred to a live agent.

Now that agents don’t have to collect information, they can jump right in to answer questions and solve problems.

3. Improve response times

Whether acting as a welcome wagon or answering questions, chatbots are faster. They have access to all the same databases that your agents do, and they can predict what customers will say as they’re typing.

This means they’re already gathering information for possible responses before the customer even sends the message.

And response times matter to customers.

Over 60% say the most important aspect of good customer service is getting their issues resolved quickly, according to Zendesk.

4. Chatbots are available 24/7

Your customer service team needs to sleep! But chatbots… Well, they don’t.

They can work through the night and deliver the 24/7 on-demand customer service that your customers crave.

Not only does this please your customers, but it also reduces the backlog your employees walk into every morning.

If your friendly bot answered the easy questions throughout the night, there would be fewer customer inquiries come morning.

5. Troubleshoot problems

Did you ever wait on hold for tech support only to be told to turn your computer off and on again? How frustrated did that make you?

Chatbots help keep that from happening to your customers.

Chatbots can walk customers through troubleshooting the moment they reach out without making them wait for a live agent.

If it’s a simple solution, the customers can solve the problem without ever elevating the ticket to a live agent. Customers get a quick resolution, and your team can spend time on more complex issues.

When customers do reach your support staff, they’ve already attempted the quick fixes, saving your team members from having to walk them through simple solutions.

Customers already know they have a significant problem, and agents can get right to work identifying and solving the issue.

6. Customer routing

According to Zendesk’s CX Trends report, 52% of company leaders plan on boosting agents’ flexibility to solve specialized problems in the next year. It will empower agents to dive deeper into customer issues and become better problem solvers.

However, certain agents specializing in specific problems will increase the need for customer routing.

Instead of making a customer wait for a live agent, then figuring out it needs to go to a specialist in another department, a chatbot can handle that in the initial conversation.

Customers don’t have to wait multiple times to reach the right person, and agents don’t spend time routing the tickets themselves.

By the way, this works especially well for companies with a central customer service team and many departments. Handing this task off to chatbots will take one more thing off the shoulders of your agents.

7. Improve agent morale

Morale is a tough subject in customer service. Helping customers (who may be less than courteous) with their problems can take its toll on your team.

Only 15% of agents are extremely satisfied with their workload, reports Zendesk.

One thing chatbots can do is alleviate the monotony.

Answering the same handful of questions all day is bound to dampen spirits and slow down your team. Handling these types of inquiries with a chatbot before they ever get to a live agent will lighten the load.

Yes, questions may be more challenging, but your team will feel like they’re making a difference—instead of answering “Where’s my package” 15 times a day.

Find out what Quiq chatbots can do for your customer service team >

Bonus: 2 more ways chatbots can help outside customer service

Speeding up customer service is a great way to use bots, but there are other opportunities to work it into your company’s workflow.

1. Qualify leads

Chatbots can even assist other teams beyond customer service. Whether people reach out through your same customer service channels or connect through a different channel with your sales team, chatbots can make a difference.

Let’s face it. Not everyone who inquires about your product or service is the right match for your company.

And while the sales team is well-equipped to identify qualified leads, it takes time and effort that could be better spent elsewhere.

Chatbots can assist your sales and marketing efforts by qualifying leads before sending them to your sales team or CRM. That way, your team isn’t spinning their wheels talking to leads that aren’t going to end up in a sale.

2. Process payments

With e-commerce sales booming, businesses have been asking customer service teams to spend more time assisting customers before the sale—and even completing the purchase within your messaging platform.

Instead of sending customers back to their carts (which increases the likelihood of abandonment), bring in a chatbot to complete the sale.

Customers get an easy way to make a purchase and your agents can move on to the next ticket.

Welcome a chatbot to your team

Chatbots don’t replace your customer service team—they work with your team to deliver faster, more efficient customer service.

When you integrate bots into your support workflows, the possibilities are endless: response times shrink, customer satisfaction rises, and agents’ morales improve.

Not a bad word anymore, right?

Using AI to Streamline Messaging

Conversational AI typically refers to leveraging bots to satisfy your customers while scaling your contact center.

At Quiq, we love bots, but we also take a broader view of Conversational AI. After all, bots are only part of digital CX.

In our view, Conversational AI also means helping your live agents work more efficiently and streamlining your operations.

In this article, we’re going to focus on how AI can (and should) be used to manage the nuances of messaging as part of a broader suite of Conversational AI. 

The Need for Conversational AI

In The Nature Of Messaging, we described how messaging is a unique channel. It fluctuates between synchronous and asynchronous communication styles. It’s informal. Live agents can work on multiple messaging conversations concurrently.

All of this implies a system that can:

1. Track and prioritize the conversations assigned to a live agent.

In order to prioritize, we must understand who is expected to respond next.

2. Manage the agent’s workload.

  • Keep them busy, but not too busy.
  • Prioritize customers who are actively engaged.
  • Move inactive customers out of the way, without losing their session.

3. Map free-flowing streams of messages into tickets in traditional CRM systems.

In order to achieve the above, you need a purpose-built system (like Quiq) that handles the fluctuating synchronicity of conversations amidst the backdrop of agent concurrency. The system is also going to need a hefty dose of AI to do the best possible job.

Let’s consider some examples to explore why.

Here’s a pretty typical inbound service conversation that was routed directly to a live agent.

The agent sent the last message, but is it the customer’s turn to respond?

No.

The agent essentially promised a follow-up. The system should still prioritize this conversation. 

The traditional algorithm employed in email management systems is that the two parties should take turns, but that doesn’t work in conversational settings because messages are shorter and less formal.

We need NLP/AI here.

Here we have the opposite situation. The system shouldn’t prioritize this conversation or set any sort of SLA timer because the burden of response is on the customer.  

If the customer fails to follow up within a reasonable timeframe (10 minutes?), the system should move this conversation to an inactive state to make room for customers who are more engaged.

Do you remember choose your own adventure books? In this example, you get to pick what happens next:

  1. Nothing. The conversation is over.
  2. An hour passes. The customer responds with “You too!”
  3. An hour passes. The customer responds with “Actually, I don’t want green after all.”
  4. An hour passes. The customer responds with “I have a different question for you.”

Compared to phone and email, it’s less clear when a messaging conversation is actually over.

Obviously, we don’t want to just leave the conversation open; that delays helping other customers.

So the system should automatically inactivate and/or close it. 

If scenario 2 happens, what should we do?

We definitely don’t want to open another tracking ticket, and we may not even want to reopen the conversation and route it to the agent (especially if that agent isn’t online anymore). We call this the ‘long goodbye’ problem, or more generally, an unimportant response.

If scenario 3 happens, we need to reopen the conversation and it should be associated with the same ticket in the CRM and ideally routed to the same agent.

If scenario 4 happens, we should start a new conversation associated with a new ticket and route the conversation to our entry point (e.g. a bot) rather than directly routing to the agent. 

In messaging apps, there isn’t a clear start and end point to a conversation—and there isn’t an equivalent of an email ‘Subject’.

It’s just a stream of messages with potentially long delays between them. So in order to solve the above problems, we need a deep understanding of the message content.

The Impact

The examples we explored above aren’t just academic. They’re impactful to your operations.

Consider the following stats taken from across our user base (your org’s exact numbers might differ):

10% of conversations will have a late, ‘unimportant’ message arrive.

  • Failure to recognize these as continuations of the previous conversation causes superfluous records that impact analytics.
  • Agents are unnecessarily distracted.

The traditional ‘take turns’ response algorithm is wrong 30% of the time in messaging.

  • If we fail to prioritize a conversation where the customer is expecting a response, we risk missing SLAs and angering customers, while forcing agents to attempt their own prioritization.
  • If we prioritize a conversation that is actually waiting on the customer, we decrease efficiency by distracting the agent and delaying service to other customers.

20% of your messaging conversations will reopen in a 72-hour period.

It’s important to recognize when an important message arrives and determine if it represents a new topic or a continuation.

Our Approach

At Quiq, our goal is to leverage AI to have a positive and immediate impact on our customers and their businesses.

We follow the latest research and pragmatically adapt and apply AI to the context of conversational business messaging.

For the majority of our AI modeling tasks, it’s not sufficient to simply consider the text of a single message in order to make a decision.

Instead, we must consider all of the recent transcripts, including the sequence of individual messages and their authors. This deep understanding of the conversation transcript enables us to achieve high accuracy on problems like the ones presented in this article.

Stay tuned as we build out more!

How to Scale Customer Service to Keep up With Business Growth

Consumers need information, and they need it right away. It’s a retailer’s job to make sure every buyer or lead receives the customer support they need. That’s why it’s important to foster growth with the help of scalable methods and technology.

Scaling your customer support strategy takes time and careful planning. There are several methods that can help reduce the burden on customer service agents and provide shoppers with the answers they need faster.

How to Scale Customer Support to Keep up With Business Growth

As a retail business grows, so does the number of people who need customer service. Responding to each question individually takes time, and this can be a major inconvenience for shoppers who have immediate needs. Scaling customer support ticket volume is a detailed process, and it’s important to understand what to prioritize before you get started. 

Hire More Agents

In some cases, hiring more agents is the best way to respond to the increasing demand for customer support. A greater number of agents helps retailers divide responsibilities more evenly and reduce individual workloads.

While hiring more agents is a less cost-effective way to scale customer service than using some of the technology available today, it can be a smart option for expanding retailers who want to improve customer management.

Prioritize Important Customers

Although every shopper matters, some customers have more urgent needs than others. It’s important for service representatives to take this into account when deciding which inquiries to answer first.

Marking questions by urgency is an effective way to separate and prioritize the buyers who need assistance right away. Those with less urgent questions may be able to wait a little bit longer for answers.

Manage the Workload and Tickets Effectively

If you want to prevent customer service agents from becoming overwhelmed by the number of tickets, it may be time to consider a more effective management strategy. For example, developing specific emails for tickets can keep messages organized for agents.

Assigning tickets to service representatives who specialize in specific topics or separating questions by key phrases can also help simplify the process.

Implement Software

Today’s retailers can enhance their customer support with the help of messaging software. SMS communication software allows for easy integration across multiple channels and creates a more personalized experience for shoppers.

Quiq offers a Conversational Customer Engagement Platform for retailers looking to implement efficient communication technology. Our platform expands your mobile presence and improves customer satisfaction.

Learn and Implement Improvements

One of the best ways to scale customer service is to implement improvements for training, records, and technology. For instance, chatbots from Quiq can speed up customer support by providing individuals with immediate answers.

Keeping organized documentation and developing training programs for agents can also help streamline operations.

Contact Quiq for a Demo Today

You can save time and money this holiday season by organizing the customer service process and integrating the latest software. Quiq offers numerous platforms and messaging solutions to help growing retailers scale their customer support options, so contact us today for a demo. 

Chatbots: How AI Is Becoming More Personal Than Ever

What’s the solution? Technology now allows a variety of real-time services for customers, including live chats, direct messages on social media, and texting with representatives. For some easy or repetitive questions, it may not be necessary to have live customer service reps standing by. In fact, in many cases, let’s face it — it just wouldn’t be practical.

Enter chatbots and AI.

How Chatbots Improve Customer Experience

Do chatbots work in customer service? A few years ago, the thought that chatbots could help customers was a nice idea but wasn’t yet practical. Today, as AI and the technology to support it continues to improve, chatbots are becoming increasingly more intelligent and helpful.

But do customers really want to talk to machines?

The answer is, as usual, not black or white. Customers generally want one thing out of customer service interactions: assistance that is efficient, helpful, and fast. If chatbots can provide that, customers are satisfied. These days, customers are not as concerned about where their answers or help comes from, as long as their needs are met — and in many cases, chatbots can answer questions and fill in information very quickly, sometimes more so than a traditional customer service representative. So, the question then is: Can a chatbot interpret questions and answer them accurately?

How it Works

Chatbots are more personal and responsive than ever before, and they’re now able to understand language and provide dynamic solutions.

With the speed at which technology is advancing, chatbots and AI are constantly improving. In every customer interaction, chatbots are gathering information and aggregating data to help them perform better in the next conversation. Every customer touchpoint becomes an opportunity for the business to better understand that individual’s preferences and how their experience might be similar to other customers.

Machine learning is advancing all the time, so as it learns, a chatbot can pick up on language cues and sentiment analytics that indicate if a customer is becoming increasingly frustrated (or very happy ?). But, when the conversation requires more delicate handling, the bot can immediately transfer it to a human representative, which mitigates the potential for further frustration and is a seamless experience for the customer.

The key to implementing chatbots successfully is to understand that they are not meant to function as a replacement for human operators. Human engagement is still a very necessary and important part of complex customer service inquiries. So instead, as chatbots are becoming increasingly more intuitive, the business can augment their company’s existing customer service staff and gain efficiency by streamlining the process of communication without sacrificing quality in their customer engagements.

Even with constant innovation and new technology, there will probably always be some questions that are just too complex for chatbots to answer. While chatbot limitations are less and less, they still make an incredible supplement to your traditional customer service team. Agents love them too as they are able to focus on the more important customer interactions while getting support from their chatbot counterparts to help customers with less complex requests.

Step Up Your Customer Service With Quiq

Want to grow your business in 2020? It can be tricky to keep up with new customer service trends like live chats, chatbots, messaging, and AI. Quiq is here to help.

In addition to enabling conversations between customers and representatives over digital channels, Quiq also enables bot technology that’s more personal than ever before. Browse our site to learn more about what we do — or better yet, see it for yourself. Try a demo today to see how Quiq can help your company use chatbots in customer service and build better connections with customers.

See a Demo Today