Human Touch in the Digital Age – Blending Chatbots and Live Agents for Seamless Customer Experiences
After the pandemic, the demand for self-service options and seamless customer experiences has grown across business segments. Even a single instance of inconsistent or slow customer service may encourage customers to take their business elsewhere.
Seamless digital experiences and frictionless customer service are non-negotiable for growth-oriented businesses. Companies that fail to deliver them are bound to fall behind.
Hence, more businesses have turned to digitization of contact centers to deliver better customer experiences.
Digitization allows organizations to offer automated, personalized, and prompt services. It improves customer experiences and hence revenue predictability for the business.
But blending digital services with human-led services is not easy. The challenge lies in unifying both to provide a seamless experience.
So, how do you effectively transfer customer conversations from a chatbot to an agent and back again? Read on to find out.
Combining Chatbots with Live agents
Most people prefer contacting businesses through chat channels like Whatsapp, direct messaging, telegram, and messenger. According to this report, 60% of customers initiate contact with a business through messages, rather than emails or phone calls. This is where chatbots become an integral part of the customer experience.
Chatbots are powered by an extensive database of common customer queries. They use NLP technology (Natural Language Processing) to understand and respond to inbound queries. Thus, they mimic human interactions to deliver faster but more accurate responses.
Depending on business needs, these virtual assistants can be programmed to respond to messages as intended. Chatbots also evolve and adapt to answer more and more queries. Advanced versions can also be programmed to handle complex inquiries without the intervention of human agents.
There are several benefits to using chatbots in the frontline of a contact center. These include:
- Prompt responses – there is no waiting time to reach a human agent.
- 24/7 availability – Chatbots continue to work outside office hours, ensuring customers get round-the-clock support
- Scalability – As the business expands, it is easy to scale chatbot functionalities to meet growing requirements with minimum cost investment
- Consistent response quality – Chatbots do not get tired and deliver the same quality throughout their operation
- Response at scale – Chatbots can handle high volumes of customer queries promptly
However, at the end of the day, chatbots are programmed entities. Regardless of how intelligent a bot is, there will be instances where they lack human touch. In such situations, human agents must intervene to resolve the issue.
For example, let us suppose a customer contacts your business for a complex or recurring issue. In this situation, it becomes necessary for a human agent to take over. However, this handoff must be seamless or it can adversely affect the customer experience. So, it becomes imperative to merge chatbots with live agent support to streamline contact center operations.
The Future of Contact Center Experiences: Chatbot and Live Agent Hybrid Models
Despite the various benefits, a chatbot has disadvantages. For instance, imagine that a customer who is not tech-savvy contacts a business. He may become confused when the chatbot asks him to choose from a menu by activating the keyboard function.
If this process becomes complex, it undermines the customer experience. Only a live agent can help them overcome this situation.
So, chatbots can simplify contact center operations but they cannot entirely thrive without a live-agent feature. Handing off to a live agent should be a direct transition from the previous step. Any disconnect between the stages can confuse the customer and impact their experience.
A hybrid or co-existence model where chatbots work in line with human agents will foster better customer experiences. In such setups, chatbots form the first line of customer contact.
They can fulfill basic tasks like compiling user data, answering repetitive questions, and sending relevant information to customers. However, if the query is complex or an escalation, the chatbot can hand over the conversation to a live agent. This process is termed agent handoff. For this to happen seamlessly, the bot should be intelligent enough to identify when a customer would prefer to chat with a human agent.
Some situations where agent handoff is indispensable are critical and time-sensitive queries. Conversations that are not by the book and direct customer requests to talk to an agent are also examples.
For such situations, an advanced customer engagement platform like IRIS Engage is an asset. It enables seamless agent handoffs, apart from having a host of other attractive functionalities.
How IRIS Engage enhances customer experiences
As we discussed earlier, the integration of chatbots and live agents is important for forward-thinking businesses. However, it is critical to execute this integration flawlessly.
IRIS Engage by Voxtron is a contact center solution with capabilities that ensure a harmonious transition between these two customer service elements.
It supports personalized interactions, allowing for human intervention when necessary. Whether it is a complex question or a sensitive issue, the platform empowers agents to step in and provide the human touch.
Using this interface, inquiries can be transferred between bots and human agents as needed. Furthermore, all the interaction details are captured and stored in the database for future reference.
Additionally, IRIS Engage has another attractive feature called the Supervisor Barge-In. Senior agents can use this option to join ongoing conversations between an agent and a customer. Thus, they can support the agents in providing better resolutions to customer inquiries. This not only speeds up time-to-resolutions but also enhances the overall service quality, leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction.
The future of contact center excellence involves the fusion of chatbots and live agents along with the option for supervisors to barge in when necessary.
This dynamic combination delivers the essence of what businesses need today: accessibility, efficiency, and a human touch when it matters most.
As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of customer service in the digital age, this synergy is a strategic imperative. It allows companies to exceed customer expectations by making every interaction seamless, personalized, and memorable.
By embracing this integrated approach, contact center-based businesses can forge stronger connections with their customers, foster loyalty, and ultimately thrive in an increasingly competitive market.