I often observe a wry smile or perhaps a small sneer appear on people faces when I mention the words “chat and chatbots”, and I reckon this is because they have been around long enough now for most of us to have encountered one on a website, and unfortunately most of those experiences have been what I would call SUBOPTIMAL.
From my perspective this boils down to a bunch of reasons, and a summary list is here to share my viewpoint:
- Poor implementation.
- Poor understanding of the customer requirements.
- Poor technology – often free or low cost DIY.
- Lack of any integration into business process or workflows.
- Very binary bot – with zero intelligence.
- Business driver is to reduce call volumes to the call centre.
For me, the right place to be starting, is with an understanding of the customer you serve, and their communication and engagement preferences.
For many of your customers, they will wish to call you, and if there is a queue, some will be ok waiting briefly. For many others, they will not have the patience, and will quickly seek an alternative. So injecting a digital/self-serve option, in the early part of the calling options is a good idea.
Other groups within your customer base will wish to find a digital engagement option first, and so offering them an INTELLIGENT chat option on the website, as well as via commonly used social channels, is a must. We see huge growth in WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and webchat interactions, as customers seek rapid responses and resolutions, without the need to sit in a call queue. Often there is a resistance to even speaking with someone!
Moreover, customers dislike getting stuck, or isolated on a channel
… and this is where the first generation of dumb chatbots has failed. Should the digital channel hit a snag, then the ability to route the customer immediately to a live agent (critically with the context of the interaction to that point also), is pure gold. Nothing less is acceptable.
So don’t worry if your first generation chatbots are failing, but DO TAKE ACTION and ensure your customers are having the kind of experiences you would want, and you would want them to have.
Unsure how – then drop me a message or call me – you’ll find me here: https://grahambunting.com/findme/