Linsey Jepma of OBI4wan discusses the value of chatbots in times of overwhelming contact volumes.
These are uncertain times. The coronavirus crisis is turning our lives and the functioning of our organizations upside down. It is therefore understandable that many customers have questions, such as: “Can I return a package?” Or: “Is your store open during this challenging time?”
These are all justified questions to which standard answers can often be given. Therefore, this is the perfect task to outsource to a chatbot, because this way an employee can focus on the more complex customer questions.
“The corona crisis really emphasizes the importance and benefits of chatbots,” says Alexander de Ruiter, CEO of OBI4wan.
“They help even more customers with their questions and they lighten the work of the customer service employees.”
It’s so Easy, Everyone Can Do It
A chatbot with AI components sounds very complex, yet this is not the case with many modern systems.
To use these new technologies, simply log on to the platform, pick out a name for your chatbot, decide which questions it needs to answer and create integrations with other innovative systems.
“You actually link little pieces together. You enter a possible question from a customer and connect this with the response the chatbot has to give to that question,” explains de Ruiter.
And yes, everyone can do it. “That’s the essence of our platform: everyone within a company can build a chatbot,” the CEO says.
This doesn’t even have to take up much time. Of course it does depend on how complex you want the chatbot to be, but in an hour you can create a simple tool for your website or social media.
While you’re going through the steps to build your chatbot, you receive useful tips to make your chatbot better and more efficient.
“We launched our first chatbot platform 2.5 years ago. Thanks to the experience we’ve gained and the feedback from our customers, we’ve been able to build our new platform in such a way that it’s even more user-friendly,” says De Ruiter.
A Chatbot Is Not a Replacement for Employees
Yes, these chatbots can be a way for businesses to hold off on hiring an extra employee. And no, customer service employees don’t have to worry that their job will be taken over by robots.
“We always advise organizations to make sure that the chatbot can refer customers to an employee. Either because the customer asks for it , or because the chatbot indicates that it cannot answer the question,” says de Ruiter.
That’s because a big mistake that can be made is to set up a so-called “dead-end bot”. This is a chatbot that says it can’t answer the question but then fails to forward the customer and all the information this person has given to an employee.
“It’s not okay to have a bot tell a customer to ‘mail or call that person’, because then that customer has to tell their story again, which is anything but efficient,” says de Ruiter.
de Ruiter also emphasizes that it is important that the chatbot keeps track of the customer’s information and passes it on to customer service.
According to the CEO, this way a chatbot helps to make the work of customer service employees a little bit more interesting.
“They don’t have to worry about answering standard questions anymore. This means they have more time to focus on the bigger problems, so that they can assist a customer more extensively if they have a complex question,” concludes de Ruiter.
This helps to increase customer satisfaction. Customers receive a quick response via the chatbot, or get help more personally thanks to an employee. Either way, they receive help in an efficient way.
De Ruiter says that companies should see a chatbot as an extra resource within the team.
“It’s an employee like any other, but with the advantage that it never goes on holiday, never gets ill and is always ready for work,” says the CEO.
“People shouldn’t assume that once the chatbot is built, they don’t have to worry about it anymore. Just as you check with an employee to see if everything is okay, give feedback or new responsibilities, you also have to maintain the chatbot.”
Good chatbot platforms indicate when the chatbot needs an update. This can range from a technical adjustment to adding extra information so it can answer more questions.
For those who can’t wait to build their own automated employee, OBI4wan offers a free 14-day trial period.
“We want to keep the threshold low,” explains de Ruiter. “Automation processes can be a big step, but this way we want to show that it really doesn’t have to be difficult.”
“People within an organization can gain experience during the trial period, see whether the chatbot suits them and whether it adds value to their business.”
“We strongly believe in our product, so we are convinced that the chatbot is a true asset for most companies.”