Improving Customer Service with Intelligent Support BotsImproving Customer Service with Intelligent Support Bots
While bots have been around for a while, artificial intelligence is allowing them to become “smarter” so they can answer questions and provide valuable help.
November 29, 2016
Back in the 1970s, some companies came up with the idea of making customer support difficult to access. They put systems in place that were designed to make customer support hard to reach, with an optimistic goal of lowering their total number of support interactions.
With the advent of social media, those days are gone. Today, if a company puts up barriers to customer support, they can quickly get slammed on social media. Most companies have taken this to heart and now make an effort to improve their customer service, many using social media and other channels to do so.
One traditional problem with customer support is that often the same, mundane questions get asked over and over. Some examples include: When are you open? How do I return my item? How do I get a refund?
For IT service providers and MSPs, customer support is critical and putting the best foot forward in customer interaction is of utmost importance.
Today, most of this interaction happens in the form of trouble tickets, which are quickly becoming obsolete. Many end-customers now utilize various social and IM tools such as Slack, Facebook for Work, Hipchat, and will likely be using Microsoft Teams or similar applications.
They prefer to be able to communicate with their support (aka MSP) quickly and efficiently, get answers they want, fast, and – if needed – get connected to a live person to speak with.
For these types of situations, support chatbots can be a great alternative. These support bots can exist on a variety of platforms, or on your website directly. While bots have been around for a while, artificial intelligence has recently allowed them to become “smarter” so they can answer questions and provide valuable help.
Some examples of support bots and machine learning include:
Many companies don’t have the resources to design support bots on their own so they rely on companies like Salesforce to create a bot framework. These bots use machine learning, natural language processing, and predictive analytics to be able to interpret a customer’s questions and give an appropriate answer.
To do this, Salesforce created their Einstein artificial intelligence. It removes the complexity around building bots and makes it easier to use AI capabilities for customer service. This software is customized for every Salesforce customer and it will learn with each interaction.
Microsoft Bot Framework
Microsoft Bot Framework is designed to work on a variety of platforms including Skype, Facebook Messenger, email, text, and more. These cross-platform bots can even be tied to an application or website and provide support directly from that page using web chat.
Another option is SupportBots.io, which was made specifically for IT service providers and MSPs, to help improve customer-facing interactions. One advantage to SupportBots.io is that it can be tied directly to PSA support tools, allowing them to create, append and update tickets; schedule appointments and ask for a customer service rep call back, if needed.
Social media channels such as Facebook, Slack and Twitter have made customer support more transparent and accessible for customers. Using these platforms, businesses can give customers faster, cost-effective support, while at the same time allowing escalation to customer support reps when needed.
Is your business ready for a customer support bot?
For additional tips – like how MSPs can increase revenue with IaaS clouds, download Kirill Bensonoff’s new ebook.
Kirill Bensonoff is a seasoned entrepreneur and the founder of Unigma, a unified cloud management platform. Kirill blogs regularly about cloud, tech and growing your managed services business. He can be reached at [email protected].
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