Five ways AI-Chatbots can enhance your CX

If you have contacted a customer support team recently, it is likely that you will have interacted with an automated chatbot. Powered by AI, machine learning and natural language processing technologies, these solutions have steadily grown in popularity and are available across a wide variety of industries to answer questions and provide more compelling customer experiences. They not only understand (and resolve) the many questions customers ask , but also the context around the conversation. They learn from each customer interaction, building up their bank of knowledge which allows them to become better at addressing customer needs over time.

A survey conducted by Salesforce revealed that 53 percent of service organizations expected to adopt chatbot technology within 18 months, and that 64% of customer service representatives (CSRs) who used AI-chatbots were able to spend their time solving complex cases. As a result, AI chatbots have become a cost-effective and highly responsive tool for businesses.  They allow them to assist customers whenever and wherever they need it, from website, email and social media to text messaging, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Customers have also embraced chatbots as a convenient way to get what they need without having to wait for long hold times on the phone or dig deep into a website to find information. A 2022 study by Tidio found that 62% of customers would rather use a customer service bot than wait for a human to respond to their request and that 69% of customers who interacted with a chatbot were satisfied with the result.

These findings were echoed in research published by Intercom, whose client Hospitable found that 61% of new customers preferred to opt for the faster responses of AI chatbots a clear indication that AI chatbot technology has a place in omnichannel engagements.

Here are five popular ways businesses are using chatbots in customer service to improve the customer experience:

1. Answering FAQs

One of the most common ways businesses use chatbots is as a virtual assistant on their website. These tireless bots are available 24/7  to answer customers’ frequently asked questions almost instantaneously. From providing links to the right information to directing customers to the forms they need to complete a purchase, AI chatbots save customers the time and hassle of scouring a website to find an answer. A great example of this can be seen at Amtrak. The organization’s AI chatbot answers more than five million questions every year and saved the transportation company $1 million in customer service costs in its first year alone. It also increased bookings by 25 percent.

2. Booking appointments with sales teams or customer support representatives

Chatbots should not be thought of as a technology used to replace human interaction, but rather as a tool that can augment and support the existing customer service representatives. They can handle simpler customer inquiries, refer more complex situations to a live CSR and even automatically book appointments with CSRs and sales reps on the customer’s behalf. Square Assistant does just this, enabling small businesses to easily confirm, cancel or reschedule appointments with their customers with no human involvement. Businesses using Square Assistant saw a 10 percent reduction in sales appointment ‘no-shows’ bringing higher levels of efficiency to their business operations.

3. Resolving customer complaints and issues

As AI has become more sophisticated so too has the way in which chatbots respond to customer needs. From helping facilitate the return or exchange of an incorrect item, to tracking a lost shipment, chatbots can walk customers through the necessary processes to make a situation right. If the query is more complex or requires a human touch, chatbots can automatically pass the customer on to a live CSR, along with a summary of the issue up to that point, for speedy resolution.

4. Facilitating purchases

Chatbots really shine when used to facilitate online purchases. They can offer customers product recommendations, help them find a particular item or smooth out the payment journey. Take a look at office supply store Staples. They use a Facebook Messenger chatbot to provide customers with product suggestions based on their requests then let them complete their purchase directly in the chat. The clothing brand H&M goes one step further, using a chatbot to ask shoppers questions about their personal style, sharing photos in the chat of items that match their preferences then guiding them through to their purchase options. When integrated with a cloud-based, embedded payment links solution like Sycurio, businesses can be confident that the customer’s payment card information in every chatbot interaction remains secure and that the entire process is PCI compliant.

5. Paying bills

Banks, utilities, healthcare organizations and other businesses are increasingly deploying chatbots on their online platforms to help customers easily update their accounts or pay bills. All a customer needs to do is open a conversation with the chatbot, provide their account information and payment details and confirm them before receiving an automated confirmation of payment.

Sycurio.Digital’s secure payment links offer exactly this type of automated bill payment through chatbots. With Sycurio, all payment card data is encrypted and securely routed directly to the payment service provider (PSP) for processing which means the sensitive payment card data is kept out of the organization’s chatbot service and network infrastructure completely. This enables organizations to reduce the risk of a data breach and reduce the scope for PCIDSS compliance, making the whole process far easier and less costly.

By delivering better informed and more satisfying customer service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, chatbots are fast becoming an indispensable tool for businesses looking to supercharge their customer service operations. Available at the touch of a button and serving up ever more sophisticated responses, they help to reduce operational costs, increase sales and boost brand loyalty, all while freeing up your CSRs to focus on the activities that will have the biggest impact. When Gartner predicts that chatbots will become the primary customer service channel by 2027, it’s hard to disagree.