7 things you should know about voice and chatbots

Pro­fes­sional Arti­cle

Bots are cur­rently the big thing in cus­tomer com­mu­ni­ca­tion. We find them in all chan­nels of cus­tomer ser­vice and they never seem to be out of answers. Even more so, because the arti­fi­cially intel­li­gent helpers are about to com­pletely rev­o­lu­tion the dia­logue between com­pa­nies and cus­tomers. But what exactly can bots actu­ally do and what oppor­tu­ni­ties arise from automat­ing cus­tomer com­mu­ni­ca­tion? We have sum­ma­rized seven things you should def­i­nitely know about voice and chat bots.

1. Bots are harm­less

Many peo­ple are dif­fusely afraid of tech­ni­cal progress. One rea­son is that there are often uncer­tain­ties about how the new tech­nol­ogy will work and how it can be used. In view of today’s almost omnipresent voice and chat bots, cus­tomer ser­vice employ­ees fear for their jobs, for exam­ple. In fact, the tech­nol­ogy behind the bots is miles away from mak­ing peo­ple redun­dant. And apart from that, it is not even aimed at replac­ing them com­pletely. Instead, bots are intended to relieve the bur­den on human col­leagues so that they can work more effi­ciently. This relief is achieved by an intel­li­gent divi­sion and relo­ca­tion of the tasks at hand. For exam­ple, lan­guage bots are usu­ally not used to avoid per­sonal com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but rather to pre­pare it in the best pos­si­ble way. As soon as the bot trans­fers a con­tact to a per­son, it deliv­ers the pre­vi­ously requested infor­ma­tion directly to the per­son via inter­face. In prac­tice, it has been shown that chat bots only develop their full effect in cus­tomer dia­logues in inter­ac­tion with human agents. In the ideal case, man and machine go hand in hand thanks to sen­si­ble task shar­ing.

2. Bots are pop­u­lar col­leagues

Once the ini­tial fears and prej­u­dices have been over­come, voice and chat bots are very pop­u­lar among their human col­leagues. No won­der, after all, the mechan­i­cal helpers in the ser­vice cen­ter take over a large part of the tedious and monot­o­nous rou­tine tasks. For exam­ple, they can be assigned time-​consuming work steps such as request recog­ni­tion or caller authen­ti­ca­tion. Bots also sup­port their human col­leagues by pro­vid­ing them with valu­able infor­ma­tion or doc­u­ments before the cus­tomer call. And they even answer some of the fre­quently recur­ring inquiries com­pletely inde­pen­dently. For exam­ple, by refer­ring to suit­able self-​service offers. This allows the employ­ees to gain time in which they can con­cen­trate on consultation-​intensive dis­cus­sions and valu­able tasks. In addi­tion, auto­mated request recog­ni­tion opti­mizes the rout­ing of incom­ing requests. Cus­tomers are referred directly to a suit­able con­tact per­son. This reduces the in-​house for­ward­ing rate and with it the stress level of all col­leagues in the ser­vice cen­ter.

3. Bots increase cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion

Bots are always in a good mood, greet­ing all cus­tomers equally friendly and patiently accept­ing their requests. They are flu­ent in sev­eral lan­guages, are able to deal con­fi­dently with dialects on the phone and are able to read over typos in chat. With the help of cour­te­ous bots, con­tact­ing the ser­vice cen­ter becomes a pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence for cus­tomers. Since cus­tomers are also imme­di­ately directed to the right con­tact per­son, they do not have to repeat their request. This increases over­all sat­is­fac­tion, as does the sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion in wait­ing times that is achieved by inte­grat­ing voice and chat bots. The most direct access to infor­ma­tion is of high­est impor­tance, espe­cially for the young tar­get group with an online affin­ity. Ques­tions should be asked at any time and answered as quickly as pos­si­ble. Bots react to these expec­ta­tions, they are ready to talk around the clock and pro­vide easy access to stan­dard­ized infor­ma­tion.

4. Bots save money

While the sat­is­fac­tion of employ­ees and cus­tomers increases, expenses decrease on the com­pany side. Once bots have been imple­mented, they per­form reli­ably and do not cause high costs dur­ing oper­a­tion. Even more: They save their oper­a­tors money every day. On the insur­ance side, for exam­ple, a bot can take over the record­ing of dam­age reports. If you assume that such an inter­ac­tion costs an agent in tele­phone ser­vice an aver­age of ten min­utes of work­ing time and the price per minute for inquiries of this qual­ity is around € 1.50, the costs amount to around € 15 per con­tact. This does not include the oppor­tu­nity costs for the customer’s poten­tially frus­trat­ing wait­ing time in the queue. With the help of a bot, the cost of the work­ing time alone, which in this exam­ple would be needed to record the dam­age in the sys­tem, can be reduced sig­nif­i­cantly.

5. Bots are flex­i­ble

Voice and chat­bots carry out what they have been taught. Thus, they can be con­fig­ured exactly accord­ing to the spe­cial require­ments of a com­pany. For this pur­pose, typ­i­cal ques­tions, con­cerns and con­ver­sa­tions are ana­lyzed and trans­ferred into the gram­mar of the voice or chat bot. It is impor­tant to note that the entire range of for­mu­la­tions used by cus­tomers to describe their con­cerns is cov­ered. Ide­ally, the machine assis­tants are thus enabled to under­stand the customer’s vocab­u­lary and trans­fer it into the com­mon ter­mi­nol­ogy of the par­tic­u­lar com­pany. If the operator’s require­ments change – for exam­ple, by open­ing up a new busi­ness area – bots can be adapted dynam­i­cally. Their gram­mar can be adjusted and extended dur­ing oper­a­tion at will and with lit­tle effort. Bots based on self-​learning AI are inher­ently flex­i­ble. They do not fol­low pre­de­fined dia­logue paths, but play out suit­able answers by intel­li­gently link­ing incom­ing requests with the data­base avail­able to them. The para­me­ters accord­ing to which such bots oper­ate can also be adapted quickly and eas­ily if nec­es­sary.

6. Bots are get­ting bet­ter and bet­ter

The longer voice or chat bots are in use, the more reli­able they work. The gram­mars of lin­early work­ing bots, i.e. bots that fol­low pre-​defined dia­logue paths, are con­tin­u­ously opti­mized on the basis of spe­cific empir­i­cal val­ues. Admin­is­tra­tors spec­ify ques­tions, add appli­ca­tion sce­nar­ios and define new key terms. In this way, such bots are man­u­ally trained to react appro­pri­ately to an increas­ing range of cus­tomer queries. Bots based on self-​learning AI even take over a part of this train­ing them­selves. They use a grow­ing data base, which results from all requests received so far, to improve and refine future edi­tions. In the ideal case, such a “learn­ing effect” leads to con­tin­u­ous self-​optimization. Thus, self-​learning bots become bet­ter and bet­ter the more mean­ing­ful data they process. In the future, AI-​based machines should even be able to learn how to learn and inde­pen­dently acquire new knowl­edge.

7. Bots are set up quickly

Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence in cus­tomer dia­logue – that sounds ter­ri­bly com­pli­cated, incred­i­bly expen­sive and like a lot of work. And in fact, a voice or chat bot is best set up with the help of expe­ri­enced experts, because build­ing gram­mars in par­tic­u­lar is asso­ci­ated with a num­ber of chal­lenges. A wealth of expe­ri­ence from com­pa­ra­ble projects helps to avoid pos­si­ble stum­bling blocks. Thus, the inte­gra­tion of a bot can be real­ized within a rea­son­able period of time with the help of a qual­i­fied part­ner. Depend­ing on the operator’s require­ments, a pre­cisely con­fig­ured bot can be put into oper­a­tion after only three to six months. In addi­tion, bots can be scaled as required. They grow with the require­ments of your com­pany, for exam­ple by being eas­ily trans­ferred to other use cases and com­pany divi­sions.