Chatbots a Key Part of Omnichannel Contact Center
Until recently, chatbots were considered a great idea that hadn’t actually reached fruition. The concept of the chatbot offered a good deal of promise from a technology standpoint, but would customers really want to interact with a glorified chat program? The truth is, chatbots are already entrenched in customer service, handling routine tasks like texting passwords for account verification and changes and confirming doctors’ appointments via text, email or even automated phone messages.
And now they’re being lauded as a game changer for the contact center, and rightly so. There is no danger of chatbots replacing human call center agents any time soon, but they can offer a great deal of value to both agents and managers when working alongside humans. And chatbots are an ideal fit for today’s omnichannel customer service model in which customers control how and when they communicate as agents try to keep up with a growing number of channels and platforms.
According to Venture Beat, the phone is still the preferred communication mechanism, comprising around 68 percent of all inbound call center queries. The rest come from a variety of channels including SMS/text, live chat, social media and email. And contact center technology platforms have evolved to bring all of these channels together and create a simple interface for call center agents. The contact center platform is also the best place to incorporate chatbots, building them into the interface so they can access all appropriate data and grow and mature to become an important component of the omnichannel contact center platform.
Far from replacing agents and managers, chatbots can instead handle the routine tasks of scheduling agents based on algorithms to match staff with anticipated demand, routing calls and queries to the appropriate agent, and handling basic queries using an extensive knowledgebase and deep learning. Chatbots should enhance the contact center platform, boosting efficiency and productivity and generating more first-call resolutions and a higher rate of customer satisfaction.
The last point is key, as customer service is shaping up to be the biggest competitive differentiator for businesses. And with so many customers maintaining a bias against call centers due to past negative experiences, chatbots can help change that general opinion and create the positive interactions both businesses and their customers strive for.
Edited by Alicia Young