The speed at which technology changes and advances is increasing, and businesses are looking for ways to keep up while balancing between the needs of the business and the needs of their customers. Customers are seeking personalized information, and they don’t want to wait to get it. In fact, 56% of customers expect offers to always be personalized.1 One way to meet both goals is to embrace digital self-service.
“Future experiences will be both more invisible and more immersive. The below-the-glass technology that powers on-the-glass experiences will be increasingly invisible. Brands will become so adept at anticipating the needs of their customers and serving them proactively with relevant services in just the moment they need them that consumers will actually engage less frequently—but more meaningfully—with brands.”2 There are many different types of technologies businesses can embrace for immersive and personalized experiences—one type being bots. Bots can provide personalized experiences, and when built correctly, can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
What Is a Bot?
So, what is a bot? Simply put, a bot is a self-service application that allows customers to interact with technology as if they were interacting with a human advisor. Bots can step in and automate tasks that are simple, repetitive, informational, or transactional.
An example of a transactional task would be bill payment, where the customer would say or enter, “I need to pay my bill.” There are several underlying steps required to complete this task, but when built correctly, it can be handled by a bot quite easily. Once a customer indicates they want to pay their bill, the bot needs to work with the customer to mutually determine which account is being paid and the payment method, including credit card number, expiration date, and CVV number. The bot could also confirm the payment date with the customer. If the customer wants to make a payment after the due date, a smart bot can gently remind the customer the payment will be posted after the due date, which could impact their customer standing or result in additional fees.
Informational bot responses can be much simpler and include FAQs as simple as, “What’s your return policy?” However, personalized information in response to questions like, “When will my order be delivered?” often requires the customer to provide some information first, in this case an order number, along with a lookup and playback of the information relevant to the customer.
Where Can You Use a Bot?
Bots can engage customers in whatever channel they prefer to use. According to Salesforce research, 59% of customers prefer to use the phone to engage with companies.3 Voicebots can sit between the customer and the human advisor, decreasing repetitive task burden on advisors, and providing customers with a personalized experience.
- Voicebot: Elegant voicebot experiences take significant behind-the-scenes work. Voicebots rely on automatic speech recognition (ASR), which converts customers’ words or utterances, and then converts that speech to text. This text is then passed through an interpretation layer which determines the intent, or contact reason, of the customer. Once the intent is known, the voicebot can provide the appropriate informational or self-service task, or route to an appropriate advisor, if that’s the desired experience. Going back to our bill payment example, if the customer calls their cable company, a voicebot would answer the phone and ask, “How may I help you?” The customer would respond, “I’d like to pay my bill.” From there, the underlying technology recognizes the words, interprets intent, then requests and accesses the appropriate information based on the responses from the customer to complete the task.
- Chatbots and messaging: Bots can also interact with your customers through text or via a chatbot. Historically, chatbots required that customers communicated on their computers via text with a human advisor through a website. However, many customers found this cumbersome and inconvenient. A main frustration driver was that customers had to remain at their computers for the length of the chat. If the customer was called away or took too long to answer the advisor, the conversation would be closed, and the customer would have to start all over with a new chat. Now, messaging technology allows two-way connections through SMS or business messaging applications, such as Apple Business Chat or Google Business Messages, for conversations on-the-go with the customer’s mobile device. This allows the customer to respond when they like, step away, and pick the conversation back up when it’s convenient. Even if the initial conversation is closed due to inactivity, the system keeps the conversation history, and when the customer comes back, from their perspective, it’s as if the conversation was never closed.
There are design challenges, of course, to both chatbots and voicebots. Voicebots are naturally a bit more complicated than chatbots because of the involvement of the speech recognition component. For both types of bots, if a customer is very wordy over chat or conversely, isn’t wordy enough, the bot will need to handle the situation gracefully. A partner well-versed in bot design can provide the necessary design fixes to course correct and avoid undesirable outcomes.
How Can Bots Help Your CX?
One of the biggest benefits of using bots is providing consistency to customers. Building a bot to interact with customers usually forces you to evaluate policies and standardize and agree on these policies across the organization. This ensures a unified approach to the customer experience, regardless of the channel the customer uses to engage with your brand.
Operational costs are reduced through offloading repetitive and mundane tasks from the advisor to the bot. A skilled partner can ensure the customer experience is warm, friendly and engaging, giving the customer a personalized interaction.
Bots also help increase customer satisfaction by ensuring customers are directed to the right-skilled advisor the first time. If a customer requires support beyond what the bot can offer, being routed correctly to the right person will help avoid customer frustration.
Improving or optimizing CX is never a one-and-done activity, and bots are no exception. Collaborating with a technology partner that has the experience and skills to help you to continually evaluate your customer engagements and to offer strategies for improvements is key in being able to stay ahead of customer expectations. Concentrix’s team of over 200 professional service experts, with more than 800 years of combined experience, can help you design, build, and run customer experiences that are transformational and drive business growth.
Learn more about the services and technologies available through Concentrix.
1, 3 “State of the Connected Customer,” 5th edition, Salesforce, 2022.
2 “The State Of Digital Experiences: On The Glass,” Forrester Research, Inc., Julie Ask, Fiona Swerdlow, Gabrielle Raymond, October 6, 2022.
Associate Director of Human Factors