Customer Service Chatbots: What you need to know

Driven by the shift to digital in the past couple of years, companies are dealing with a rising inflow of customer requests. Chatbots have proven to be game-changers for customer services. But how do they work? What types of chatbots exist? And most importantly: How can your customer services benefit from them? Find answers and success stories on chatbots for customer services below.

Table of Contents

How chatbots boost your customer service

The benefits you obtain with chatbots for customer service are manifold:

  • 24/7 availability
  • Diversity in languages
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Boosted efficiency
  • Better Customer Experience
  • Conversational Design for natural conversations
  • Brand loyalty
  • Improved purchase conversions

Unlike human customer service agents, chatbots don’t get tired and don’t need sleep. They’re available for the customer 24/7. What’s even better: They can speak A LOT of languages, making good customer support possible all around the globe.

"95% of companies that implemented an AI bot are happy with the way this technology is boosting their business"

Mindbowser

Other than that, most of the requests in customer services have already been solved before. Automated replies can cover the lion’s share of your requests, and thereby reduce costs and boost overall efficiency.

Also, chatbots draw customers into personal conversations. As a result, they’re having a better customer experience and start building loyalty to your brand. In short, they can get straight to what they want by just telling the chatbot what they want. It’s as simple as that.

💡 Download this IDC Whitepaper and learn how you can leverage your conversations for digital customer engagement!

Chatbots are even great salesmen. A lot of companies report that through adding virtual shopping assistants (chatbots) they see big improvement in purchase conversion. Where before, customers tended to end the purchasing process prematurely, with the assistance of a bot, they are more likely to finish their purchase.

What types of chatbots exist?

What you should know is, that not all chatbots work in the same way. There are differences. The biggest exists between rule-based bots and AI bots.

Rule-based chatbots are simple compared to AI chatbots. They work through preconfigured conversation paths but are also able to understand keywords. To cover all keyword eventualities however can be rather time intensive. The conversation flow may stop, if the user is not following instructions at all but it is still pretty easy to create a conversation that looks and feels natural.

Whatsapp-conversation
Rule-Based Chatbot

AI chatbots on the other hand bring a lot more capabilities to the table. Thanks to Natural Language Processing (NLP), a bot is able to fulfill tasks by making sense of what the user is typing into the chat.

Beyond that, it uses Machine Learning (ML) to understand the customers better. Put easily, the bot assesses what went right or wrong in past conversations. 

To be able to hold completely natural conversations, there is also no need of a big data basis anymore. A few expressions are enough to train your bot. 

CL-Chatbot
AI Chatbot by Chatlayer

AI Chatbots – such as those provided by Chatlayer by Sinch – have already taken over the scene and will continue to grow their usage in the coming years. They simply provide more horse power for customer service departments. Some of the unique strengths of Chatlayer’s AI bots are:

  • Triple digit language support
  • No IT background is needed for set up
  • Chatbots not only relieve human agents but support them when they take over e.g. with suggestions, thanks to Machine Learning from past interactions
  • New level of Conversational Design is possible with ML and NLP.
  • With Chatlayer, using NLP is no complicated matter anymore, as it used to be.
 

💡Have a hands-on look at how an AI bot is created for a banking company in this article: Creating smart chatbots – an example for banking

AI chatbots will be corner stones of customer service

The strength of AI chatbots firstly lies in their support of a lot of different languages, making them especially useful for companies operating globally.

Secondly their ability to understand the context of written language with NLP enables them to independently make sense of inquiries and solve simpler ones on their own. Together with their ability to learn (ML) and to adapt, this makes them the perfect entry point for your customer, as they can quickly find accurate solutions to problems from past interactions. As a result, customer service agents only have to deal with pre-sorted requests, that really need human intervention.

Moreover, chatbots not only relieve customer service agents but help them out when they are struggling. Analysing the data from the past, the AI can come up with response suggestions for the agent, so he doesn’t need to search for answers on his own.

Lastly, AI chatbots are useful when it comes to conversational design. Not unlike visual UX design or verbal UX design, conversational design is meant to improve Customer Experience at conversational touchpoints. With Conversational AI, chatbots are able to provide a Customer Experience that can adapt to every customer based on his data and history and get better and better over time.

In summary, AI chatbots are not designed to fully replace human agents, but to lift a big part of the weight off their shoulders, namely repetitive and simple inquiries, that usually make up more than half of the total request volume. As a result, your customer service staff can focus on more complex tasks.

 

💡 For a deep-dive into customer service chatbots and their benefits, take a look at this article: How AI can supercharge your customer service

Success stories

BIZBIKE

Challenge

Belgium’s biggest eBike provider Bizbike has more than 100.000 electronic bicyles on the road. They were looking for ways to ensure customer satisfaction with quick responses and high-quality support.

Solution

Together with Chatlayer by Sinch, Bizbike focused mainly on automating answers to simple questions and requests. As a result, the company’s chatbot already solves almost a third of incoming inquiries and saves them a substantial amount of monthly time.

💡 Read more about key features and strengths of AI Chatbots from Chatlayer by Sinch.

iFood

Challenge

The Brazilian online food ordering and delivery platform iFood struggled with their delivery drivers not having effective customer services. They would need to call human CS agents and therefore struggle with time. ifood was looking to scale their CS Operations and improve the entire delivery chain. Part of that was the signing up process for new restaurants, registering new delivery staff and customer service towards the end user.

Solution

Chatlayer’s Conversational AI chatbot helped iFood with onboarding processes for new drivers and restaurants by automating the registration. Additionally, the new bot made it possible to conduct surveys to measure NPS scores. Last but not least, a full customer support has been integrated into the chatbot services.

Together with Sinch – leading provider in mobile experiences – iFood also saw great success in using their WhatsApp solution. In this channel, with the same marketing campaign, ifood achieved a whopping 38-times more sales conversions compared to other channels. 

Download our Conversational AI Playbook for more details and KPIs on these Success Stories 

How future chatbot trends might affect customer services

Personalization

Personalized conversations will get more and more frequent in the future, as they are already implementable to some degree. Customers personal data and recent interactions with the brand can be accessed through databases and integrated into the conversation with the chatbot.

Taking it a step further, the AI can change the way it talks based on demographic data on the customer, e. g. using different vocabulary for different age groups. This is calles Segmentation.

100% Individualization – not to be expected within the next few years – is the goal, meaning that even customer specific sentiments will influence the way chatbots respond

AI support for agents

Sometimes, not only the customer needs help but the customer service agent does too. AI will function more and more as a guide for agents to quickly find responses and solutions based on the AIs knowledge of past experiences. The Messenger Communication Platform from MessengerPeople by Sinch for example offers Chatblocks that help users with faster answers and human agents can already make use of response suggestions provided by the platforms AI.

Omnichannel connectivity

As customers move through countless channels throughout the day, their support needs also are not limited to only a single channel. So why do companies only offer help through one? Omnichannel support is possible with platforms like the Messenger Communication Platform by MessengerPeople, that integrates multiple channels in one place.

🎤 Listen to Chatlayer CPO Joachim Jonkers and MessengerPeople’s Katha Kremming talk about the future of chatbots

OR

Head over to MessengerPeople’s site and read more about their take on the future of chatbots.

We recommend you take a look at the Messenger Playbook – free download! It includes information about the business solution from WhatsApp and over 25 success stories from different industries like, e-commerce, retail, B2B, insurance, HR, tourism etc.