Human / Machine collaboration for omni-digital customer care
This is a summary of my speech at the Client Strategy/E-marketing 2018 Paris Conference with Dimelo and Pierre-Edouard Lieb from Recast.ai (SAP) discussing “how can humans and machines collaborate for better customer relations”.
Our customers’ expectations have changed
Companies such as Amazon, BlaBlaCar, Airbnb, or Uber are game changers and have set the bar high. Your customers now want reactive answers to their inquiries, more flexibility, and mobility to contact your company.
More and more, younger generations are turning to exclusively digital channels to communicate, and are neglecting email and phone calls. The future of customer relations lies on these specific channels: you must therefore be available on them.
Your customers yearn for omni digital interactions: they wish for an equal level of customer experience whatever the chosen channel.
To reach these goals of swift answers and equal quality of service on all channels, some obstacles need to be obliterated.
When your teams are organized in silos (an email team, a social media team, a messaging team, etc), communication is broken and customer experience is uneven and varies depending on the channel.
Using multiple tools
En utilisant une plateforme unique telle que celle proposée par Dimelo pour regrouper tous les canaux, vous permettez une plus grande souplesse dans la gestion de vos flux. Les besoins de votre entreprise en formations diminuent (un seul outil, une seule formation), la satisfaction client augmente (du fait d’une expérience identique sur les différents points de contact), le temps moyen de première réponse diminue (meilleure répartition des flux) et la charge de travail par agent baisse.
By using only a single platform to regroup all your channels, it will give you much more flexibility in managing your influx. The needs of your company for training will decrease (one tool, one training course), customer satisfaction will increase (since they will have the same experience on every channel), the average time of first response will decrease (better distribution of requests influx), and the workload for each agent will decrease.
However, an increase in inflow of messages will still require expanding teams and will complicate handling messages.
The three advantages of chatbots
Every company seems to speak of chatbots and wants to resort to AI (Artificial Intelligence). If some have a tangible project in mind, many companies only wish to use chatbots “because their competition has one” or “because their shareholders approached them about it”.
In 2017, this technology was still at its early days, torn between surreal expectations and irrational fears.
Today, the market is much more mature and informed concerning the real opportunities of the chatbot tachnology.
Reducing the workload
A well integrated chatbot will decrease the workload by managing on its own first level messages (simple problems or questions), the chatbot can absorb up to 30% of the requests volume.
When the chatbot is overwhelmed and does not know how to answer, it will hand over the request to a human agent (this is why we speak of “human/machine collaboration”). During the handover, the agent recovers the entirety of the conversation between the chatbot and the customer as well as a certain amount of information that will simplify the interaction and save precious time for the agent.
Appreciating your agent’s work
This topic is not widely considered but chatbots may promote the human agent’s role instead of cutting jobs by removing recurring tasks with low added value (redundant questions, simple problems, etc) to free up extra time to process correctly more complex questions.
Recast.ai and microbots
Recast.ai’s vision is straightforward: a chatbot CANNOT do everything. A FAQ chatbot, for example, will always be a deception. The extent of the task is too wide since a FAQ has too many possible topics.
On the other hand, a microbot (understand “chatbot with a clearly defined task”) can very much succeed in meeting customers’ expectations since he is tasked with answering only a specific topic and therefore is not overwhelmed by requests it cannot handle.
Once the main scope of action is defined, the bot will be able to handle wider cases, then recurring questions, and finally manage the simplest conversations. The goal is not to be able to answer every request, but to at least understand the question to handover the conversation to the appropriate human agent.
What to do when a chatbot is overworked/overloaded?
Sooner or later, a chatbot will reach its limit. Some questions either too complicated or leaving its scope of action, will need to be handled by a human agent.
In this precise case, the handover is essential. The interaction with the customer should not suffer from the change of counterpart and the goal is to maintain a seamless conversation.
The chatbot/agent collaboration that transpires from associating Recast.ai and Dimelo maintains this seamless experience. The human agent handles all the digital channels on the platform and the chatbot intervenes on predefined channels. Once the conversation has left its skills scope, the chatbot handovers the interaction in its entirety to a human agent who retrieves the information and can then take over with no delays or difficulty.
Seamless omni-digital customer relations requires to offer identical quality experience on all digital channels. In order to achieve this, it is essential to use a single tool to handle incoming messages which will also erase technological silos.
Installing a chatbot with a very specific scope of action will reduce the workload for human agents and will make time for more engaging work.
The handover machine/ human is then vital to provide a seamless experience to the customer. The agent needs to be able to recover the entire conversation and answer quickly without asking the customer to repeat itself and explain again their request.
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Last update: 2023-12-08 Tags: customer care conference customer service recast