Jake is a owner of a small business and has recently bought an eCommerce software. He realizes that he has a few questions about the service he has purchased and decides to write a message to the customer support department. He receives the following answer:

Hi Jake! Thank you for sending us your inquiries. Here are the steps you need to follow in order to proceed with your actions. […] Did these help you?

Can  you identify whether this message was sent by a customer support representative or a customer support bot? Nowadays, bots are designed to understand what customers are asking and to provide answers that are similar to what people would say. In other words, they are starting to become an essential element in the customer support field because of their advanced features and the benefits they offer:

  • 24-hour full service
  • able to handle multiple conversations at the same time
  • provide information in different languages   
  • offer complex answers

Bots are great for companies, as they do not need to go on vacation, they rarely need a medical leave or have personal issues. They are also very helpful for people like Jake, who may need information about his software at late hours.

How customer support bots work

In order to understand better how customer support bots work, we can look at one type of bot: chatbots.  When speaking about them, we can refer to two types of chatbots:

  • the ones that function on a specific set of rules
  • the ones that use machine learning

The difference between the two types of chatbots is that the first one has a limited number of commands, including questions and answers. To put it more simple, it can answer to certain questions, with certain answers and it cannot understand something that is out of its area of expertise. If Jake asks a question that the bot does not understand, it will tell Jake that something is wrong with his question and he may receive the message “Please repeat your question”.

Machinery learning is a subfield of computer science that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.

The second type of chatbot is a more advanced due to the fact that it uses machine learning. It means that it is capable of understanding language and not just specific commands. Also, the bot gathers data from the interactions it has with customers and learns from them. In this way, it learns how to adapt its answers, it can detect which topics were very discussed and the most frequently asked questions.

Customer support bots and customers

Customer support bots are a relatively new element in the field. People are mostly used to interacting with other people who are part of the customer support department or may have the impression that a bot has limited options of solving their problem. However, these assumptions are not sustained.

Different studies have shown that people prefer other options instead of contacting a customer support representative. For example, 40% of customers would choose self-service and a study done by Zendesk has shown that 50% of people prefer to find solutions to their problems without contacting customer support.

The channel of communication customers prefer is messaging. A study done by OneReach has illustrated that 64% of customers would use texting instead of calling a customer support representative.

These numbers show that people tend to feel more comfortable when they have an indirect interaction with customer support. This can be a good and solid reason why they may be open to the idea of customer support bots. All they have to do is send the bot a message with their inquiry and they receive the information they need. In addition, the bot can provide explanations through images, videos or useful links.

Bots manage to fulfill the work of customer support representatives at a really high level. Not only can they handle different types of issues, but they are also able to offer a great experience to customers by providing complex answers to them.

What tasks would you want your customer support bot to fulfill?

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