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Let’s talk to a robot – using chatbots as part of the support team


Radoslaw Cichocki - 1 October 2019 - 0 comments

Organizations do what they can to make their support teams available and productive. That’s true for support directed at both internal and external clients who generally like to communicate their needs using their preferred methods. It’s best not to limit their freedom in doing so and offer a broad range of customer support options.

Many organizations use service desk platforms like Jira Service Desk to provide accessible and seamless support to customers, internal departments, or even other companies. It’s a comprehensive solution, but some companies still choose to offer other contact options for reporting problems such as email, phone, or in-person reports.

Why traditional forms of support fail

Now, email might seem like a good option. But it presents a one-sided vision of the problem and comes in a non-standardized, imprecise form. It might take the support officer a lot of time to get all the problem details and start working on a solution.

What about the phone? Call centers are usually costly to maintain. Just consider this: you’ll have to hire a specialized support team that will be available on the phone during specific hours.

Reporting problems personally takes a lot of time and impacts the support agent’s ability to focus on a given task. Moreover, in-person meetings may negatively affect the standards of work in the ITIL methodology.

So, how should companies organize support?

There exists one solution that enables organizations to identify problems and offer solutions almost immediately. It’s called self-service, and modern technologies support it in many different ways.

For example, one way to offer that option by building a knowledge base available online, from anywhere and at any time. You can create such a wiki in platforms like Atlassian’s Confluence. A knowledge base can contain step-by-step guides that help customers solve problems on their own, without having to wait in the phone queue or for a reply to their email. 

But organizations looking for something more interactive have another option to choose from: intelligent chatbots. 

What if you allowed customers to have a conversation with the support team, but without having to get in touch with any of its members directly? That would mean substantial time savings for the team. And this is just one of the many benefits intelligent chatbots bring to customer service.

Intelligent chatbots

Organizations that want to make the most of this technology usually implement the intelligent chatbot directly within a company messenger.

What does a chatbot do? It carries out a conversation with the person reporting a problem to learn as much about it as possible. On the basis of these details, it can suggest a how-to article on the company wiki that contains a solution or guidelines for the self-diagnosis of the problem.

And what happens if the chatbot isn’t able to solve the problem this way? The chatbot can automatically create a request in Jira Service Desk, categorize the problem reported by that person, and assign the request to a support officer.

The idea here is that the chatbot is enriched with artificial intelligence so that its capabilities increase over time. For example, its questions will be more precise and solutions more relevant. Software developers can take advantage of tools such as the Microsoft Bot Framework to develop such bots faster. If you’re looking for a chatbot which is already prepared to be integrated with Jira, you may be interested in this one from Kore.ai.

Many chatbot solutions are still quite simplistic and make submitting issues ineffective since they frequently force customers to choose an alternative form of contact. However, several companies have managed to choose the right solution and make chatbots work for them, thanks to artificial intelligence and other innovative approaches.

Companies using chatbots

Here are 5 examples of companies that benefit from chatbot integrations in many different ways. Read to find out how they use chatbots, what type of assistance bots provide to customers and lessons learned about chatbot implementation.

1. ShapeBot

Shape Integrated Software implemented a conversational chatbot called ShapeBot to their marketing website and blog. The bot welcomes every visitor with a personalized response based on whether they’ve visited the site before or which pages they looked at. The bot also answers all the common queries about product details and pricing. If a visitor is reading the company blog, the bot will offer other informative resources to guide them down the sales funnel. ShapeBot also answers customer questions in real time and connects visitors to a human team member where necessary. The company reported that two out of their largest sales in 2018 came from customers who first interacted with the brand using ShapeBot.

2. Nexitva chatbot

Nextiva’s bot was designed to be multifunctional, supporting the company in areas ranging from customer service to sales. Moreover, the bot can connect customers to a human rep in a few moments. The company has an extensive support team that counts over 400 team members, and the bot serves as a forwarding service that helps to categorize queries and gain initial information from customers.

3. Paychex Flex Assistant

Paychex introduced a chatbot to boost the experience for their clients and their employees who use the company’s application Paychex Flex(r). The company initially built the bot to answer the most frequently asked questions of their front-line service providers who interact with thousands of customers every day. Flex Assistant can answer over 100 questions that cover topics such as account maintenance, payroll, time and attendance, retirement, benefits, and more. If the bot fails to answer a question in two attempts, it connects the user to a live agent in real time.

4. KLR International Realty

Chatbots can come in handy in the real estate sector too. KLR International Realty is using a bot that creates questionnaires and offers live event announcements or reminders. The chatbot questionnaire gathers basic information about the needs of a new client. The customers answer a series of questions that require simple answers to give the company’s sales reps an idea about what they’re looking for. The company also organizes live events for educating their customer base. Thanks to their chatbot, they can send our a mass broadcast to their followers by announcing the event and then sending reminders about it, allowing customers to RSVP in advance.

5. Vacation planning bot at ScienceSoft

ScienceSoft has developed a chatbot for vacation planning in the company’s SharePoint intranet. The bot was trained to support conversations in natural language. Employees can ask the bot to show or delete their planned vacations, book a new vacation, or show the number of available vacation days. The chatbot is integrated with two messengers employees use, Skype and Telegram. That’s how they can reach the bot from outside the intranet.

Conclusion

Chatbots are becoming a new standard in customer service as an increasing number of organizations turn to this innovative technology. Chatbots help companies to build relationships with customers and help employees get things done faster.

Would you like to integrate a chatbot to service desk platform? Get in touch with us; we help companies use the latest technologies to their benefit in customer service and other areas.

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