7 Best practices for optimizing live chat support using bots

Faith Ocampo Published on November 7, 2016

office teammates discussing laptop at work

With their ability to solve simple issues instantly, chatbots allow brands to make the always-on consumer happy.

Twitter has just followed Facebook’s footsteps in deploying a bot-operated customer support messaging feature. In April this year, Facebook announced that developers may now start creating bots and integrating these into their accounts. Twitter, on the other hand, recently added two new features —the welcome message and quick replies—into its Direct Message platform. These moves are giving brands new opportunities to engage with their customers in a much more responsive way.

With the two popular social media websites joining this trend, it’s clear that bots are significantly shaping the way businesses deliver live chat support. As a form of artificial intelligence (AI), these chatbots assist customers in solving simple issues that require immediate responses. They can increase your sales by enhancing the first customer contact, allowing you to guide a prospect through the buying process.

Keep in mind, however, that there are things chatbots aren’t equipped to deliver. For instance, nothing beats human agents’ ability to personalize the customer experience and manage people’s expectations.

To optimize bot-driven interactions for chat support, you must build a solid plan. Here are seven best practices you must take note of.

1.     Set clear goals.

Whether you’re planning to develop your own bot or are looking to purchase from a third-party vendor, you should clarify what you’re aiming to achieve. Defining your objectives will help you find the right combination of functionality and complexity for your bot. For instance, are you hoping to increase sales, get rid of recurring problems, or acquire new customers? Communicating these goals with your IT team or your prospective vendor will let you build the perfect solution that meets your customers’ and your company’s needs.

2.     Personalize the welcome message.

In web chat interactions, welcome messages and greetings are crucial. They set the tone of the conversation while giving people an idea about what to expect. A warm and natural-sounding greeting lets you improve engagements, allowing you to turn interested customers into buyers.

3.     Know when not to use it.

bearded man using laptop in office lounge

Inevitably, your chatbot will encounter situations it’s not geared up for. Complex issues, for example, are better handled by call center agents, as they can give more reasonable inputs than AI tools with limited functionality. There will also be instances when customers may raise special concerns or requests. It helps to clearly define what your bot can and can’t do so you can determine the best way to optimize every conversation. This then leads us to the next item on this list.

4.     Connect it with other channels.

The idea here is to provide customers several options on how they want to talk to you. Aside from letting you satisfy their preferences, this enhances problem resolution. If the bot encounters an issue it can’t solve, it must refer customers to a live chat agent or to another customer support channel. Remember, all the communication tools you use must help you improve the customer experience by eliminating pain points in the buyer’s journey.

5.     Adopt a human tone.

Your chatbot, which may serve as the first point of interaction, represents your organization. As such, every message they send must convey positive emotions. Avoiding a robotic tone is a must so you can connect with people on a deeper, more meaningful level. In addition, when customers feel like they’re talking to a human, they’ll be more likely to trust your brand.

6.     Collect customer feedback.

businessman in blue using laptop in coffee shop

Delivering relevant information to customers is the primary function of bots. Aside from this, however, what most customer service managers don’t realize is that they can also help you collect insights. Through web chat interactions, you can identify these:

•     defective products
•     most popular product features
•     customers’ perception of your brand
•     recurring issues

Knowing how people view your brand, as well as their preferences, can help you improve your products and services. This increases customer retention and loyalty.

7.     Monitor interactions.

Your bot exists to supply customers’ needs, provide fast solutions, and make people happy with your services. The only way to know whether it’s helping you achieve these goals is to monitor and evaluate interactions regularly. Using these insights, you can then create strategies for facilitating better chatbot-driven conversations with your customers.

 

 

Faith is a digital media enthusiast aiming to become an active part of the tech world by sharing her insights. She likes to blog about everything digimarketing, technology, and social media.
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