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“There is going to be an exponential growth in the role of chatbots over the next decade. Already, given the current state of the market and the speed at which it is expected to grow, we can see how rapidly the use of bots is advancing” ~ Avi Benezra founder and CTO of SnatchBot speaking to Chatbot Magazine

Chatbots are here to stay and they are becoming more sophisticated. The fundamental reason for the existence of chatbots is to improve customer service. When an enterprise invests in a chatbot, it has to get its return in investment in the form of increased sales and profits. Therefore, the enterprise must make sure that the chatbot is performing at its best. Here are ways to boost the chatbot performance at the contact center to improve customer satisfaction.

1. Keep chatbot information up-to-date

Any enterprise that installs a chatbot in a contact center has to commit to managing it. The chatbot needs sufficient data, it needs to be educated and it must be given what it needs to learn and grow. This can be time-consuming to maintain as the information has to be updated continuously to remain relevant. Someone within the enterprise must be responsible for the chatbot and be accountable to the marketing manager.

2. Have an escalation path for complex questions

Chatbots have limitations. They can answer routine and advanced questions but if the questions become more complex, a human should intervene. The ideal setup is for a chatbot to work hand-in-hand with human agents. Each bot should therefore have an option to escalate the interaction to a human agent and the human should be able to continue where the bot left. If possible, the agent can switch to a voice interaction. This will ensure that the customer’s questions are adequately handled and the customer is sure to continue doing business with the brand.

The enterprise should therefore have sufficient human resources available to manage those escalations to reduce customers’ waiting time and to lead the customers to a sale.

3. Make chatbots respond to emotions

Chatbots are a great help but they can make it difficult for customers to express their sentiments during conversations. Therefore, part of their training should include empathy, and aim to cover various emotional states emotions and report on them. A chatbot should be set up to capture customer sentiments during the conversations and adapt the flow of the conversation and responses to sentiments. At the end of the dialogue it should ask openly how the customer feels. The users should be able to compare implied and expressed measures so that they can progressively improve how they capture sentiments. They should be able to tell which emotional circumstances the chatbot is not performing well and keep training the chatbot to show satisfactory behavior.

4. Use a chatbot to collect information at the beginning of dialogue

To make the best of a chatbot, the enterprise can start with live chat offering or social media messaging, e.g. Facebook Messenger, to improve customer satisfaction. Once that is going well the enterprise can introduce a chatbot to automate the repetitive task of collecting information at the beginning of a conversation. As the conversation progresses the chatbot can direct the visitor to a human agent or another self-service option.

5. Use Natural Language Processing (NLP) to make chatbots appear natural

Language matters and an appropriate tone matters for audiences conversing with chatbots. Customers should feel that they are communicating with a real person instead of robotic software. The enterprise should therefore train its chatbot to recognize real language through Natural Language Processing (NLP) so that it can use data to provide personalized information to customers. It should also train the chatbot to analyze the customer’s tone, and even use colloquial tone to make customers feel at ease.

The enterprise can analyze the transcripts of conversations to gain insight into the type of customers visiting the website, products being sought and recurring issues being resolved. Continuous improvement then becomes possible and the customers become happier and more satisfied with their experience.

6. Analyze interaction to make chatbots more conversational

An enterprise needs to understand that communication by phone differs from text, chat or email. It should therefore train its chatbot to use the same communication approach as the humans to make sure customers are happy with the interaction and the outcome. The enterprise should therefore analyze every chatbot to understand preferred approaches on each channel. Then it can adapt the conversations to suit those preferences and trigger positive reactions.

7. Use data for continuous improvement

Chatbots like SnatchBot can help enterprises to learn from available data and then train their bots how to react to new interaction types. This will reduce human agents’ workload so that they can focus on handling more complex human issues.

Advice to enterprises

With chatbots becoming more popular, most customer interactions are going to be run by chatbots and enterprises must improve their game to remain competitive.

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