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Straight answers to the 10 most important questions about getting started with chatbots

Know Before You Bot

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Chapter 7

How will bots and agents interact?

What do most chatbot fails have in common? A never-ending conversation with the customer who wants, but is unable to reach, an agent. Eighty-six percent of customers believe that they should always have the option to transfer to a live agent when dealing with a chatbot.

It’s best to ensure your bot vendor has an accessible “Chat wih Agent” option in the chat window. Even if it’s after hours, it’s better for your customers to be able to leave a message than to be left hanging and frustrated.

When a customer does ask to speak to a human, the bot needs to be able to transfer the conversation and chat history to an agent, in real-time. Some bots transfer customers by initiating a brand-new chat with an agent, but that means the customer has to repeat themselves to somebody new. This is one of the single largest customer complaints about contact centers. It is avoidable!

There are also situations where you will want the customer to bypass the bot completely. For example, you may have VIP customers or prospects who you never want routed to a bot. Or perhaps there are some pages on your website that indicate strong purchase intent, so chats from these pages should go right to your sales team. Your bot platform needs to accommodate these situations and connect these customers directly to a human agent to optimize success.

If your chatbot only takes over after hours, be sure to let customers know what times they will be able to speak to a representative, or how long it’ll be before they receive a response to their message.

Finally, don’t forget about your agents! While you might think chatbots are for customers, they can also be used to support agents. Agent-facing bots can supply agents with the customer’s profile and suggest answers based on how the chat is going. For example, if a customer is looking for information on a feature, the bot can instantly supply the agent with a relevant link to share with the customer, saving the agent from searching manually for the link.

Some agents might have the perception that a chatbot will eventually replace them, approaching a chatbot project with trepidation or even fear. Because of this, it’s vital to Know before you bot 15 demystify and clearly communicate the chatbot’s goals to your team. It’s useful to explain that there will always be many queries that chatbots can’t handle so your human agents will always be a critical part of your service. It can also be helpful to explain that your chatbot should take away repetitive questions, leaving your agents with more time to handle more interesting queries.

Consider this

Ask the vendor about their best practices for bot-to-human escalation and what options they have to implement a human ‘safety net’ for the bot to fall back on when your customers have more complex queries or needs. Also, consider how you want to treat different customer types. If you wish to offer different service levels under certain situations, your bot will need to accommodate that.