Despite some newsworthy chatbot failures, use of this technology isn’t going anywhere but up. Many business leaders see virtual agents as the ultimate win-win — and they can be. When built well and implemented correctly, chatbots and other types of AI-based support solutions improve user experience, free up employees to focus on higher value work, and save money. With all this going for chatbot technology, it’s no surprise that experts predict stunning growth. The projected value of the chatbot market by 2024 is $9.4 billion, coming from $2.6 billion in 2019. This growth is driven partly by changing consumer expectations.
Younger generations increasingly prefer interacting via messaging platforms rather than speaking to someone live. Many claim that bots are faster than humans at delivering the help they need — something we’ve seen to be true when simple customer requests don’t require contextual understanding. Some people even admit that they simply don’t like speaking with human agents. However, there remains a contingent who strongly prefer live agents. This group thinks that chatbots are hard to interact with and even annoying. But more and more people want efficient 24/7 service — something that’s hard to deliver without the help of AI technology.
How can businesses ensure that their bots aren’t “annoying” or difficult for users? The first step is avoiding common pitfalls and making user experience the top priority. Let’s discuss how.
Potential pitfalls to avoid when building chatbots
An organization’s goals for its chatbot and other AI solutions shouldn't solely revolve around driving costs down. Improving customer experience is just as, if not more, important. After all, improved customer retention directly relates to improved profitability. When it comes to chatbots, don’t create an experience that detracts from great service. Below are some common mistakes companies make when introducing this technology.
- Leaving out the option to talk to a real person: This can kill your customer experience. Depending on their complexity, some requests simply cannot be handled by a virtual agent. And not being able to reach a live person when you need one is arguably one of the most frustrating customer experiences.
- Lack of continuity between bots and live agents: A close second in the frustration rankings for customers is spending time repeating their information and their issue over… and over… and over again.
- Neglecting to create a sufficient knowledge base for bots: Without a thorough library of information to pull from, bots are severely limited on what questions they can answer and what tasks they can do for your customers.
- Implementing a bot without thoroughly vetting its capabilities: With only cost in mind, some businesses start too small. They don’t spend sufficient time analyzing what a particular bot technology is capable (and not capable) of doing.
- Using the wrong provider: Different virtual agent tools meet different levels of need. Not all bots can be programmed equally.
6 best practices for implementing chatbot technology
Conduent’s expertise in implementing virtual agent technology covers various types of virtual agents for voice assistance, chat and other applications across many different industries such as Human Resources Benefits Administration, tech support for smartphone assistance, responding to tolling customer inquiries, and many more. To help your business maximize the efficiency of its virtual assistant technology and use it in a way that enhances service, we offer the following best practices.
- Find the right tool to match your needs. When considering which technology to use, seek to understand the differences between the types of solutions available and the environments in which they’re best applied. For instance, the quality of their language engine is an important bot differentiator. If your users are likely to have complex needs, then language engine quality should rank high in your vetting process.
- Configure a guided flow for bots to follow when engaging with customers. Base this on common customer requests and issues.
- Include “off ramps” to live agents. Not every customer inquiry can be satisfied by a bot — and some customers simply don’t want to interact with a bot, even for basic questions — so offer a clear path to speak with a live agent when appropriate.
- Build an adequate knowledge base for your virtual assistant. Always keep customers’ most common requests in mind when constructing your bot's knowledge base and consider categorizing FAQs as a start. Carefully consider the best types of questions for virtual assistants to answer versus those that require a deeper contextual understanding and should be routed to a live agent.
- Maintain continuity between channels. All the information your bot collected should be shared with a live agent both for efficiency and for a smooth customer experience. Plan for full, omnichannel information and conversation transfer
- Proactively plan for ongoing management. Effective bots aren’t built and then left to their own devices. Put a process in place to continually manage and update the knowledge base that your bot will use.
Navigating the world of virtual assistant technology can be overwhelming without the right experience on your team. Even knowing what questions to ask while vetting potential tech partners is paramount, and then you need to understand the answers and what they mean for your goals.
Conduent helps our customers understand these complex questions and configure the best AI-assisted virtual assistants for their situation. Our experts assist clients in determining the right technology fit for both immediate customer service needs and their long-term success. On average, inquiries handled by our bots are resolved in three minutes compared to 10 minutes with live representatives. Our conversational AI bots are “always on,” helping our clients continue to serve their users after hours
Helping our clients build virtual assistant technology that automate routine inquiries allows for improved scalability, managing influxes of volume while freeing up representatives to focus on complex, high-value issues that require more contextual understanding.
Conduent works with various technology providers to build integrated, AI-based solutions that support an omnichannel contact services experience for our customers’ clients — including our propriety AI Conversation Platform. Contact us for more information or to discuss extending your customer engagement channels.