Chatbots are undeniably the future of customer experience.
An increasing number of customers prefer to interact with bots over humans, largely because chatbots offer the things customers crave the most: convenience and speed.
Chatbots can answer 80% of routine questions and provide a much more efficient alternative to waiting on hold to talk to a human.
For businesses, chatbots can significantly cut costs (an estimated $8 billion) and lead to faster resolution time and more time for human agents to focus on larger, more complicated issues.
Chatbot usage took off during the pandemic, increasing 67% between 2018 and 2020. With increased usage comes improved capabilities, so much so that by 2022, an estimated 70% of customer interactions will involve technologies like chatbots. That’s a 15% increase from 2018.
Now is the time for all companies to build out their chatbot capabilities. As technology and customer usage increase rapidly, brands with sub-par chatbots run the risk of being left behind. Chatbots need to be part of the overall CX strategy and serve a real purpose to be successful.
Here are six best practices to create effective and customer-approved chatbots:
- Set the scope. A chatbot isn’t there to solve all your customers’ problems or replace all human employees. Before you begin, narrow the scope of what your chatbot will be able to do. Look for pain points in the customer experience that could be improved with a chatbot, such as answering simple questions, scheduling appointments, ordering items or checking order status. When you set the expectations for the chatbot and what you want it to achieve, you can then design the skills to match.
- Create a personality. Chatbots bridge the gap between technology and humans, but they need to have a personality so that customers feel connected instead of like they are talking to a computer. Give your chatbot a name and some basic personality traits, including how it talks and interacts with others. Is it a formal all-knowing librarian or a best friend who has all the answers? The chatbot’s personality dictates how it interacts with customers and makes them comfortable.
- Strike up a conversation. The first few messages from a chatbot will decide if customers engage or move on. Have the bot start by introducing itself and what it is capable of doing. A catchy introduction can bring in users and help them feel instantly engaged. You don’t necessarily need to hide that your bot isn’t human, but the focus should be on the skills of the bot, not the technology itself.
- Keep it short. Chatbots are designed for easy interactions, so keep the conversation as clear and concise as possible. Break information into short sections and avoid complicated questions so you don’t overwhelm customers. If an issue requires massive amounts of text to solve, consider having the chatbot send the user a link to get more information or adjust the scope of your bot.
- Work with humans seamlessly. Inevitably, chatbots will face questions that can’t be answered with their limited knowledge, and the customer will need to be handed over to a human agent. The chatbot should be programmed to know when to pass the customer to a human, such as if the customer is getting frustrated or the conversation is taking too long. Create internal systems to automatically and quickly send the customer to a human.
- Update continually. Chatbots can gather large amounts of data, which can then be used to improve the experience. Get real-time feedback from customers by asking if the bot met their needs and solved their problems. Today’s chatbots are far more advanced than they were even just a few years ago, so use feedback to continually update and provide the most convenient, personalized and up-to-date experience possible.
As technology advances, chatbots will become even more crucial to brands. Following these best practices can put all companies on the path to chatbot success.
*This article is powered by Quiq.
Quiq is a leading conversational AI platform that drives two-way conversations to deliver a better experience for people and brands. Quiq enables enterprises to connect and engage in two-way conversations with their customers across varied messaging channels — including Facebook Messenger — in more than 170 languages. Quiq is the future of business-to-consumer messaging; it’s the wingman every brand and CX’er needs.
Blake Morgan is the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. Join the new Customer Experience Community here.