Magnus Geverts at Calabrio says it’s time to wise up to the explosive growth of Chatbots while keeping human agents happy with effective workforce management
Thanks to the rise of mobile texting and messaging apps, ‘chatbots’ or “chatter robots” are causing a stir in the world of customer service. In fact, Business Insider UK recently wrote that the most powerful tech companies think chatbots are the next best thing since the iPhone. In fact, Facebook now allows businesses to deliver automated customer support, e-commerce guidance, content and interactive experiences through chatbots on Facebook Messenger. The company is rumored to be launching a “bot store” – a move which could be as revolutionary for technology as when Apple launched the App Store.
Chatbots are computer programs that mimic conversations with people using artificial intelligence. This is not science fiction, “bots” are the next step in the evolution of the Internet and are fast transforming the way people interact and the future of customer service. So what role will they play in contact centers that are at the very heart of customer service and certainly first point of call for many customers?
After all, the millennial generation has come of age and is old enough to make a significant dent on consumer spending. These tech-savvy individuals have high expectations and demand round-the-clock service as well as an instant response. Automation and self-service are the way to go, making chatbots an important part of today’s multichannel contact center environment.
Direct contact, direct business impact
Messaging a business directly is a fast and convenient way for people to get in touch with questions about products and services, appointments and customer service support. Plus, messaging allows businesses to build personal connections with the people who are interested in them.
Just take a look at some of the ways the use of chatbots can make customer communication easier:
Facebook isn’t the only chatbot game in town, but because of Messenger having a reach of around 900 million users plus vast connections with advertisers and a healthy developer ecosystem, it provides the most attractive platform on which to implement bots.
Don’t forget the humans!
Automation of customer service has been widely implemented by contact centers for many, many years. Chatbots adds a new dimension to this, allowing contact centers to automatically respond to even more complex tasks. As customer service becomes more and more automated, the tasks and enquiries that actually require personal handling are becoming more advanced and necessitate a higher set of skills from contact center agents. Good training and employee loyalty will be ever more important as experience and knowledge will be a premium when dealing with complex or delicate customer enquires which cannot be answered by a robot.
The best way to build customer engagement and loyalty will be via happy, knowledgeable contact center agents with a work/life balance that suits them best. Therefore, a sophisticated yet easy to use workforce management solution will be essential. Through advanced forecasting,scheduling and competence management, the humans in contact centers will remain more productive and valuable than bots will ever be.
At Calabrio we believe a combination of bots and well scheduled human agents with the right skills, could be today’s silver bullet solution for effective customer service. It is time for contact centers to take the trend for chatbots seriously by maximizing agent productivity and improving social customer service with a little help from clever, automated technology for bots and humans.