It Takes Two: CX Bots and Human Agents

The relationship between atificial intelligence (AI) and customer experience (CX) is a conversation that isn't going away. For businesses to remain competitive today, delivering excellent customer experiences is more crucial than ever -- and AI presents an opportunity to gain a competitive edge.

This doesn't mean that the role of humans in customer experience is being replaced or even reduced. When companies can adopt new technologies, like chatbots, to work alongside human customer service agents, the opportunity to create a stronger customer experience grows immensely. This partnership between humans and bots is the future of customer service.

In an increasingly on-demand world, consumers expect that they can talk to a customer service representative at any hour of any day -- weekends, holidays, or whenever else they need access to support. This is where chatbots can help create an always-on relationship with brands. According to an Accenture study, nine out of 10 consumers want to use messaging services, like chatbots, to communicate with companies. By enabling chat options that are available 24/7, consumers feel that businesses are there for them when and where they need.

Though consumers today are responsive to communicating with a business through a messaging system, they're also still drawn to the human touch. For example, 74% of 3,000 consumers surveyed by Calabrio said they are more loyal to a brand that provides them with the option to speak to a human, rather than diverting them to chatbot options. The study also found that the majority of consumers (54%) believe that capitalizing on bot technology is a good investment for companies to improve the overall customer service experience. In other words, businesses need to prioritize a blended approach to bot-driven and human interactions.

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Feeling Chatty? Then Get On Board

The customer experience can be a make-or-break avenue to acquire loyal customers. In fact, PwC reports that one in three consumers say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad customer experience. Because of this, brands have one chance to get their CX right on the first try; there are no do-overs, but there are ways to ensure businesses are meeting the mark on the first connection.

With technologies like chatbots, brands can automate menial CX tasks, allowing customer service representatives to take the lead on more personal, high touch, and complex issues. Chatbots are delivering responses to routine questions 24/7, across the globe, without disrupting the normal day-to-day of employees. If a complex conversation does need to escalate from a chatbot to a human agent, the chatbot is still saving the employee time by collecting the initial customer information and troubleshooting common fixes -- so the agent can pick up where the bot left off to resolve the issue.

Don't Lose the Human Touch

While bots are making CX agents' lives easier and more efficient, we cannot leave everything to the bot. Removing menial tasks from your agents' day-to-day to-do list will empower your CX teams to focus on the more specific, higher quality, and added-value customer moments. Service calls with routine, easy-to-solve issues serve as distractions to top agents who are capable of handling much more. With chatbots removing those distractions, your team can develop their skills to become more defined, specialized, and valuable assets within the customer service department.

In these specialized roles, agents can analyze data from customers' experiences and provide real-time feedback to other departments, such as the marketing and sales teams, to create an all-encompassing and positive customer experience across the brand. CX does not begin and end with frontline agents; there are multiple touchpoints for customers to interact with a brand, and employees need to be engaged and prepared to have conversations at any time.

As smart as bot technology is becoming, a bot still needs to be programmed by what humans want it to do. There must always be a personal connection made between brands and consumers. The future of customer experience is a fusion of bots and agents, where they are not competing, but completing the customer experience. By creating an experience that combines technology and human conversations, customers will feel a greater connection with the "person" on the opposite end.

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