Chatbots: the most interesting applications for your organisation

Linsey • 7 minute read • 20/02/2019
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Chatbots are becoming more and more widely used. The times in which only larger companies started to optimize their service processes with smart virtual employees are over. Chatbot technology is now within reach even for small and medium-sized companies. The use of chatbots is becoming more and more accessible and there are numerous application possibilities. We have summarized the most interesting applications for chatbots for you.

The most famous chatbot is the conversational chatbot, the bot that has conversations with your customers. The potential of chatbots, however, is much greater than that. Chatbots can also be used effectively to ease processes in the background or provide people with information proactively. The first successful applications are now a fact. In this article I will highlight a number of them.

Second industrial revolution: chatbots in addition to humans

The hype surrounding chatbots raises the question of whether human labor is still needed in customer service. Are humans gradually being replaced by robots? On the contrary. According to Frank Smit, Chief Innovation Officer at Spotler Engage, the strength lies in the combination of people and technology. Frank talks about a second industrial revolution in connection with chatbots:

‘‘As people back then thought that everyone would lose their job to machines, that’s how it is now with chatbots. Bots actually ensure that employees are of greater added value. Because of bots, employees can help their customers better due to more time to spend. A successful deployment of chatbots ensures increased customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and increased efficiency.’’

As a virtual employee, bots take over simple tasks from service employees or the online customer service team. Bots intercept first-line customer contact and can easily answer simple questions. Unambiguous tasks, such as updating CRM systems or tagging messages, can also be performed in the background by a chatbot.

By having chatbots answer simple questions, employees have more time to deal with complex customer queries. Their work becomes more meaningful, resulting in greater job satisfaction. Customer service employees remain of great importance in the digital age. In the following we will walk you through a number of successful applications of chatbots that we have seen in practice.

Chatbots for work preparation

A common application of chatbots is the work preparation. A chatbot can handle the first-line customer contact. One of the most important requirements is that the chatbot can recognize the customer’s intent in the message. In addition, the chatbot is able to identify customer reference numbers and e-mail addresses within the message. In the event of missing information, the chatbot can request the necessary information from the customer, so that an employee can get started immediately.

Chatbots that prepare answers

By being hooked to many different customer questions, a chatbot is also able to prepare the right answer for a service employee. An example of an organization that has been working on this for quite some time is KLM. When service employees have to answer questions, the chatbot offers an answer based on experience with similar customer questions.

For KLM, this resulted in a suggested answer for 50% of the questions asked. After an employee’s assessment, the answer could be sent to the customer.

This first step in the use of chatbots has meanwhile caused KLM to switch with complete confidence to a conversational chatbot that actually enters into the conversation with the customer. This is a recurring trend for larger organizations.

Proactively sending information

Another application of virtual assistants is the proactive sending of information to customers or employees. This kind of chatbots is for example used by the following companies: Jinek, Eneco, Treintje, KLM and NOS Update. After logging in the user receives proactive information. For example, KLM sends updates about your booked flight and the NOS sends an update of the daily news every day.

Examples of platforms that are suitable for this are Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. We are past the era in which we made our own app for our organization. Instead, we see a shift to the channels that our customer uses already. These channels are utilized with new technologies in a different way than we are used to. Please note: these are very different bots than the conversational bots that converse with customers.

A chatbot that provides proactive information can also be relevant behind the scenes. Think of a chatbot that monitors malfunctions and proactively sends a message to malfunctions mechanics, so that they can act quickly.

Chatbots that work behind the scenes within a customer service team

Another application is to let chatbots perform routine work. The chatbot is less visible to the customer, but can take over a lot of unambiguous work in the background, which can make the service process considerably more efficient.

A few examples of less visible chatbots …

1. Automatically handling messages that do not require a response

Monitoring messages via social media and messaging channels by service employees produces loads of messages that do not require a response. Think of reactions on Facebook where people tag each other. These messages also enter a social media management and monitoring tool, but will have to be handled manually by the service employee.

This would be a good job to be performed by a bot. The chatbot recognizes messages in which people are merely tagged and can handle these messages independently. This means employees have more time to help customers who need to receive an answer. This too can have an effect on the response time and customer satisfaction.

2. Assign to the right employee

By recognizing the customer’s intent, a chatbot can also automatically route messages. Because the chatbot knows which employee is logged in and which employee is the right person to answer the question, the chatbot can prepare the work well in advance by assigning the messages to the right person.

3. Automatic tagging of messages

Many customer service teams add a tag to messages, in order to be able to measure the effect of messages on certain topics within the report. A chatbot is able to recognize these messages and automatically provide a tag. This saves service staff an extra action. This also leaves more time for better service.

Measuring the chatbot’s effect

But what result does the use of a chatbot actually yield? When using a chatbot within Spotler Engage, for whichever task, it is implemented in the environment as a full-fledged employee. Service staff can see in real time which messages have been claimed by the chatbot and which messages have been processed.

This also means that you can report on the activity of your chatbot as an organization. How much time does a chatbot save? And how much time do the employees therefore save in order to provide good service for more complex questions? Have the response time and customer satisfaction improved since the deployment of your chatbot?

The possibilities are endless

The above examples are just a few applications of the endless possibilities to use bots. For every question or problem there is a solution to be found where a bot could be of added value. How are you going to get started now? Read this earlier article about bots in which I describe that the purpose of the application must be clear before you think about applications.

Think carefully about the application of a chatbot for your organization beforehand. The possibilities of chatbots are not only great for service, but also for marketing and sales. Keep the task package of a chatbot limited to one task and ensure that this task is performed excellently. Do you have another application of chatbots for your organization? Let us know!

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Linsey Jepma
As Content & PR Coordinator, I am involved in the wonderful world of webcare, chatbots, reputation management and data insights on a daily basis. Writing really is my thing and I have an inexplicable passion for neuromarketing and behaviour. Do you want to exchange thoughts? Connect with me at LinkedIn.

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