What is a customer service chatbot?

A customer service chatbot is a computer program designed to interact with customers and automatically provide them with information, assistance, or support through text-based or voice-based conversations.

These chatbots are typically integrated into websites, mobile apps, messaging platforms, or other communication channels to facilitate interactions between businesses and customers.

Service chatbots are used in various industries, including retail, travel, housing and more, to streamline customer support processes, enhance user experiences, and reduce response times. These chatbots can answer inquiries or FAQs such as ‘What are your store opening times?’ or ‘Where is my order?’ in a retail environment. Help consumers find flight or accommodation information in the travel industry. Or assist customers to update a contact address and review rent payments in a housing setting.

How does a customer service chatbot work?

Chatbots for customer service can work on a scripted chatbot basis, responding to repetitive queries based on pre-defined answers, or AI chatbots, using Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) to understand and respond to customer inquiries.

AI chatbots, as opposed to scripted ones, employ these technologies to provide accurate responses to open-ended questions by leveraging past conversations, documentation from customer support representatives, and relevant data to discern language, context, and intent, allowing them to deliver helpful responses to customer inquiries, even when these queries don't neatly align with pre-established rules used by simpler bots.

While service chatbots are efficient for handling customer inquiries, human agents are often still needed for complex or emotionally charged customer issues requiring empathy and human judgment. In this situation, chatbots can hand conversations to a live agent, providing agents with a roundup of the chatbot interaction for the agent to pick up seamlessly. CM.com’s Generative AI features enable chatbots to provide an overview of the conversation to an agent when receiving a handover; this includes customer information, the original question and the handover reason.

What are the benefits of a customer service chatbot?

Chatbots for customer support offer several benefits to businesses and their customers. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • 24/7 Availability: Chatbots can provide round-the-clock support, ensuring customers can get assistance anytime, including outside regular business hours.

  • Instant Responses: Chatbots provide immediate responses, eliminating the need for customers to wait in long queues or for email replies.

  • Personalisation: Chatbots can use data to personalise customer interactions, offering tailored recommendations and solutions based on customer preferences and past interactions.

  • Consistency: Chatbots provide consistent and uniform information and support to customers, ensuring that everyone receives the same level of service and accurate information.

  • Integrations: Chatbots can be integrated with other business systems, such as CRM software, to access customer data and provide more context-aware support.

  • Data Collection and Analysis: Chatbots can gather valuable data about customer inquiries and behaviour, which can be used to improve products, services, and customer experiences.

  • Scalability: Businesses can quickly scale their customer support operations by deploying additional chatbots to handle increased demand.

  • Cost-Effective: Chatbots are more cost-effective than hiring and training human agents for routine and repetitive tasks. They can handle a high volume of inquiries simultaneously, reducing operational costs.

Read how DFS improved customer satisfaction rates by 29% after launching a customer service chatbot.

Customer service chatbots offer businesses a way to provide efficient, cost-effective, and scalable customer support while improving the overall customer experience. However, balancing automation and human interaction is essential to ensure customers receive the best possible service.

To start with customer service chatbots, you can build them with CM.com’s Conversational AI Cloud. Our team can provide the support you need to streamline customer service.

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