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May 20, 2021 7:45:00 AM

5 Reasons to Automate Your Customer Service With Chatbots Right Now


Have you ever struggled to find the right time to automate your customer service? In day-to-day-work while being flooded with incoming customer requests, it can be a tough endeavor to implement new tools and processes while keeping the business up and running. 

What often happens is that these kinds of projects get postponed. Again and again. 


But is there really a right time to automate your customer service? Yes, and the answer is simple: Now is the right time to automate. And why? Because you won’t be able to overcome your daily struggles like more incoming requests than your team can handle, long waiting times on the phone and live chat unless you automate these things. The right place to start is implementing a chatbot.


A chatbot can serve as an entry point for every customer conversation when you’re building a strong self-service funnel. Put it as a first line of defense on your website, your app, your social channels like Facebook and WhatsApp. This will enable your customers to get reliable support 24/7, but it will also relieve your service agents from all the unfiltered input that otherwise floods them. 


We know that it can be quite challenging to start a chatbot project and prioritize it over others, but it’s time to take some actions. You might not know how to narrow down your search for the right chatbot. Or you have been talking to one or more vendors, but it resulted in taking no action at all and not really making the case for a chatbot internally.


Let’s discuss some objections why the timing might not seem to be right, but it actually is. It’s just a matter of understanding the value of customer service chatbots will bring when being prioritized and getting into the right mindset.


1. You don’t have the time to set up a chatbot and maintain it


Quick question: How do you know you don’t have the time for it? If you already had a chatbot or were close to implementing one which would take you weeks to set it up, train it and, it was probably not the right choice. And if you just think it’s a high effort project which is time consuming, let’s look at some numbers. 


With an efficient and effective chatbot it takes about:

        1. 8 hours to onboard your team
        2. 2 to 14 days to set it up and go live
        3. 2 to 3 hours to train and maintain it every week


That’s not much compared to similar projects, right? Plus, ideally a chatbot doesn’t require much involvement of internal IT resources. It’s usually just a few lines of code and then depending on the desired functionality of the bot, it might at some point require a few hours from IT, but nothing regular and exhaustive.


2. You need to have a CRM before implementing a chatbot


The simple answer is no. You don’t need a CRM before implementing a chatbot to bring instant value, but you should have some form of ticketing system in place to ensure a smooth agent handover and to capture all relevant information. However, a chatbot will become more powerful in its actions when being connected to a CRM as more personal requests can be automated. Implementing a CRM is a bigger project than deploying a chatbot and having the latter already in place will support you during that phase. So relieve your service department first with a chatbot and then continue to build strong relationships with your customers by implementing a CRM.


3. You want to offer live chat before having a chatbot


Thinking of an ideal customer service funnel, a chatbot is a dynamic self-service layer which is added before all human interactions, including live chat. Imagine the chatbot being a digital concierge, functioning as a first point of contact for your customers, solving most of the requests automatically within seconds and handing those over which need a human touch with all the relevant information at a glance. 


While an agent can only handle a few live chats at once while really focussing on every individual customer and their problem, a chatbot can serve thousands of customers at the same time while delivering the same high quality and level of personal care. Having a chatbot first, makes your live chat experience so much better - both for your customers and your agents. Adding a chatbot when you already have a live chat in place will reduce waiting times and make those conversations more meaningful.


4. You first want to understand your customers and their needs better


A chatbot is no obstacle to this objective, it’s rather the opposite and will help you achieve these goals more quickly. One of the greatest benefits of a chatbot is their ability to help you understand your customers better. They deliver strong customer analytics and actionable insights. The gathered data range from conversations, including requests and solutions, to feedback through interactions with the chatbot. It helps you to continuously improve your CX, your customer journey and ultimately your bottom line. Measure your CSAT inside the bot, but also go beyond numbers and collect written feedback which helps you understand your customers’ needs more in-depth. With this knowledge, your bot will also get better and better over time.


5. You had bad chatbot experiences before and don’t want to frustrate your customers 


Everyone probably had one or more disappointing chatbot experiences before, personally or professionally. The internet is full of chatbot fails and it breaks our hearts to see all of these frustrated customers getting not the right support. But the good news is that not all chatbots are created equal and some of them are able to deliver a better service experience than others. 


Most often the problem is that the chatbot doesn’t understand the customer and their intent, resulting in giving error messages, wrong answers and ultimately not solving the request. Especially NLP-first chatbots fail in that area, but also chatbots based on static decision trees are limited in their ability to solve customer problems. Dynamic decision trees offer a better service experience by being adaptive over the course of the conversation.


Yet, the next wave of customer service chatbots is here. It’s time to forget all those bad chatbot experiences and create frustration-free self-service zones for your customers. Are you ready to make a chatbot your first priority and transform your customer service? Let's go.


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Karen takes care of Solvemate's content universe as Marketing Communications Manager. When not writing about chatbots, you will find her watching Danish tv series (Dear Netflix, please talk to DR and add some new ones!), doing (aerial) yoga or trying out every recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi.