In an increasingly distributed world made possible by ever-advancing digital capabilities, the need for robust customer service is only growing. However, human customer service agents are expensive, and many organizations’ agents are simply overwhelmed by the level of demand for customer service.
The good news is that a natural partnership between chatbots and humans can be highly effective. Structured correctly, this collaboration can help reduce costs while improving service levels.
How Human Customer Service Agents Can Help Train Their Chatbot Colleagues
An AI interface that can solve comprehensive customer problems without human intervention does not yet exist in any business domain.
Therefore, the key to continually reducing customer service costs is ongoing training of the AI-driven chatbot to ultimately make it smarter and more capable. Upon its launch, an AI-driven chatbot will be fairly intelligent, having been thoughtfully trained and given access to large data sets. However, despite the best training and application of natural language processing (NLP), the AI-driven chatbot will still have much to learn.
Just like a human apprentice, an AI-driven chatbot learns with the help of its more experienced human coworkers.
Understand the Landscape of Your Customer Service Needs
The first step in creating the best partnership between human and chatbot members of your customer service team is to fully understand your organization’s customer service needs.
Which customer service needs are straightforward and change infrequently?
- Password resets
- Product return policies and procedures
- Hours of operation
- Shipping policies
- Product or service selection for decisions lacking complex inputs
Which customer service needs are more complicated and dynamic?
- Information about a new product or program
- Assistance with selection decisions for products or services with complicated and dynamic inputs
- Information about rapidly changing situations
- Problems that cannot be resolved with simple policy information
- Frustrated or angry customers—particularly high-value customers
With a solid understanding of your customer service needs, you can strategically allocate tasks to your chatbots and human agents based on their capabilities.
To Be Good Partners, Bots Need Ongoing Training
For straightforward and relatively unchanging customer service needs, the chatbot’s engineers can do most of the training.
However, for customer service responsibilities that involve changing information, business users will need to introduce new information to their chatbots’ knowledge base. Because business users are typically not engineers, adding information to bots’ knowledge base should only involve simple information pushes.
New information to train bots will come from a variety of sources. However, human customer service agents will play a vital role in the training process.
In many applications, a crucial aspect of both outstanding customer service and bot training is determining effective handoffs to the humans on the team. These handoffs ensure that customers’ problems are solved. After human agents address issues the bot could not solve, call transcripts are funnelled into the bot’s knowledge base, further training the bot, and making the bot more intelligent and capable of serving the next customer.
By digesting the transcripts of the service calls, they learn from their human colleagues and become increasingly valuable partners.
How Chatbots Benefit Their Human Colleagues
The obvious benefit bots provide their human colleagues is effectively addressing routine and often tedious tasks, allowing humans to focus their energies on more complicated challenges or issues that require human empathy and understanding.
Additionally, human agents can learn from their chatbot teammates. By reviewing customer–bot interactions when customers are transferred to agents, human agents can learn more about where customers are getting stuck, confused, or challenged.
These insights are invaluable for driving the overall improvement of customer service organizations.
Human–Bot Partnerships Advance Customer Service Organizations
Humans are capable of empathy, understanding nuance, and rapid problem-solving. But humans are expensive. Once developed, AI-driven chatbots can be applied to resolve vast numbers of inquiries around the clock without needing time off to rest. Additionally, chatbots can work across channels, seamlessly recording activity wherever it occurs.
Properly trained bots can mitigate the costs of providing excellent customer service. They do this by performing as many tasks as possible, allowing expensive human agents to dedicate their efforts to what they do best—innovating solutions, anticipating needs, and improving how they serve customers.
It is only through this escalating effectiveness that customer service organizations can rise to meet increasingly demanding and complex customer service needs.