The potential of chatbots in today’s business environment is wide-reaching and has, as of yet, been largely unrealised. Though the benefits are myriad, chatbots can present a specific solution to one of the most commonly experienced problems of companies today: high volume and low complexity service requests. These types of customer inquiries can occupy large portions of employees’ workloads and are often resolved across multiple channels via service management and communication platforms.
Chatbots that are integrated with the organisation’s back-end hold immense potential in alleviating the strain on both service management and customer service. In this context, chatbots are effectively a visual interface for user-friendly process automation and high-quality service delivery.
Operating across an omnichannel environment, chatbots provide a unified automated experience, leveraging integrations to utilise and mediate information from the back-end to the customer-facing front end. This works both ways, as data from customer interactions can be gathered to discover customers’ pain points and preferences, or inefficient service processes.
Happier Customers, More Motivated Staff
These are typical use cases for chatbots per functions and/or departments.
IT: Open IT ticket, update IT ticket, Device Order, Password Reset
Finance: Billing / Invoicing inquiries, Customer / Supplier data change
HR: Sick leave reporting, Holiday balance inquiry, payroll discrepancy
Every day, organisations receive a stream of inquiries that are repetitive and often primarily involve information retrieval on a case-by-case basis. The resolution of these inquiries involves equally monotonous work, which can lead to decreased motivation in employees. By deploying a chatbot on an enterprise service management platform such as ServiceNow, most of the monotonous service requests could be resolved through self-service. This would mean 24/7 access to services for the end-users on their own terms, leading to increased user satisfaction and reallocation of resources previously tied to those services.
Furthermore, by integrating the chatbot with a communication platform like Microsoft Teams, it could simultaneously serve end-users by fulfilling requests and supplement the level 1 support team by notifying them of new requests or changes in ongoing requests. This would facilitate increased efficiency by centralising information, rendering email notifications and manual browsing of open requests obsolete.
While customer experience has long been a priority, employee experience is being increasingly recognised as crucial to the health of an organisation. With the help of process automation from chatbots, employees across multiple departments can utilise their talent elsewhere, undertaking more challenging and fulfilling tasks. This, in turn, promotes staff wellness and satisfaction, while the customer receives consistent quality that can otherwise be difficult to maintain. In this way, chatbots facilitate an improved experience for all parties involved, leading to consistent quality in service delivery across all enterprise functions.
Streamlined Customer Service with Chatbots
Arguably one of the biggest complaints of customers in relation to customer service is that the path to resolution is a long and convoluted one, full of referrals and multiple explanations of their situation. When an inquiry is passed through several departments, a customer faces the unpleasant experience of having to repeat themselves to each new agent.
This is where chatbots can profoundly improve the quality of customer interaction – provided they are compatible with the organisation’s customer service solution, such as ServiceNow CSM. Since chatbots are integrated with backend systems, the data for each customer’s case is readily and immediately available. The customer will receive recognition of their case history in a matter of seconds. This reduces the risk of added frustration in customer service inquiries. Even if escalated to an agent, that employee has immediate access to all the case information and can provide the service more efficiently.
In addition, Natural Language Understanding (NLU) has produced chatbots whose usability is far improved from prior years due to developments in the field of Natural Language Processing (NLP). Customers can use colloquial phrases in their native language, eradicating the need to alter their natural patterns of speech. This makes for a streamlined and efficient process, characterised by ease.
From Corona to the New Normal – Chatbots Prove Their Value
The Corona crisis has put chatbots into a new spotlight with regards to service management and customer service. In uncertain times, chatbots increase operational scalability and adaptability, also serving as an effective tool for the distribution of knowledge and information. This can be used to keep employees updated about policy changes, proactively solve issues resulting in fewer service requests or to inform customers of their refund process in case of a mass refund.
I’m sure the insights gained in spring 2020 will be very useful also in the future in less turbulent times. Tweaking processes to be more efficient and developing the quality of customer experience should always be at the top of any organisation’s to-do lists.
Natural Language Processing (NLP) – Processing textual inputs to derive meaningful information (e.g. emotional sentiment)
Natural Language Understanding (NLU) – A subfield of NLP, enables users to apply colloquial language to mediate their needs. With NLU, programs can recognise intents and supporting details from the user input.
This article is the first part of Sofigate’s “Chatbots in Business: Guide to Success” blog series. The latter parts will be published in the summer on Sofigate’s website and on LinkedIn.
Read the first part in the blog series HERE.
About the author
Hector Auvinen’s expertise is chatbots in service management. Understanding the technology behind chatbots and the importance of service design thinking, he can bridge the gap between users and developers. Hector is passionate about artificial intelligence and the business opportunities emerging from it, especially customer service and process automation.
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