Digital customer care trends – part two: The chatbots are coming

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We’re all pretty familiar with Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri by now. So when you think of chatbots, think of the power of these two and you’ll begin to understand the role bots can play in customer service. Digital innovations have already reshaped the landscape of customer care, and it’s not going to stop any time soon. Chatbots are coming (in some cases they are already here!). It’s time to embrace them, experiment with them, and learn how best to apply them.

The golden rule of technology and customer care is to allow the technology to enable great customer interactions, but not drive them. It’s no good sending customers to a new communications channel just because it’s new. , It should be whichever one is most relevant for dealing with the query.

In our latest research we gather some insights into the capabilities of chatbots and how consumers perceive them. Chatbots are more than capable of handling simple queries like checking train times as well as more complex interactions like paying a bill. Consumers are happy to use chatbots for simple tasks, they see an immediate benefit in the response times to their queries. But they do think there should be some human involvement with more complicated responses – either by having responses checked by someone before they’re sent, or passed over entirely. Because they’re new, it will take time and some good experiences to build trust.

Chatbots can grow the omni-channel experience, with customers moving between different services during their query. A chatbot can easily top and tail an interaction with a human agent to speed up answers, collecting initial information, routing to relevant and skilled agents, then finally collating some essential information before closing the call. The best bots will act as an IVR for digital, and quickly  route the customer to an advisor with the skills that are most likely to answer the query.

We’ve been running an extensive global research programme since 2010. We want to know what digital channels and devices customers are using to communicate with companies and if their expectations are being met. Our latest output from this research programme is ‘Chat, Tap, Talk. Eight key trends in Digital Customer Care’. Download your complimentary copy here.


Joseph Walsh


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