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Your customers and clients are the reason why you are in business. Even if you are doing business for the fun of it or you simply graduated it from being a hobby to a profession, you won’t continue if you are your own sole customer.
Customers are treasures and no matter how successful your business has become at the moment, you’ll still always desire to have a progressive growing customer base. One major turn off for customers is poor customer service.
Sometimes, poor customer service isn’t entirely because you don’t care about them but because you just can’t be everywhere at the same time. Even if you have to hire so many customer care agents, there would still be limitations because they are human.
As a growing business, no business has overgrown anyway; you need a strong customer care service that is available round the clock to answer basic questions via Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or your website’s live chat.
You have two options.
- Employ a customer care service
- Use Artificial Intelligence – AI
Employ Customer Care Agent
If you are going for the first option, do you have enough funds to hire customer care agents who will be available round the clock? They would obviously be working shift hours so that they can always respond to customers even at midnight.
Perhaps, you are just a startup who also double as your own customer care agent. Would you put yourself under such stress? Customers are not patient people, never assume they will understand; they won’t and they don’t even want to.
Chances are that responding to customer’s basic questions will always take a large chunk of time that you are supposed to invest in other areas of your business. Hiring agents that will fill this gap round the clock will eat deep into your pocket or you may not even afford it.
The solution is Artificial Intelligence (AI)
These days, it is becoming increasingly common and even big organisations are beginning to make use of AI in the form of bots to meet certain customer needs. These bots are personified, given names and even trained to become very conversational and adopt a bit of your personality by speaking your own words.
They can help perform transactions using webhooks and API calls, they troubleshoot and open a support ticket for clients, they can help give more information about certain business and they are trained with these three basic things: intent, entities and dialogue.
- Intent gives the bot clues of the kind of information or service a customer is seeking. For example, in defining greeting intents, a bot will automatically figure out when a customer is greeting and the bot responds accordingly. Same applies when a customer is seeking specific information.
- Entities are knowledge repositories (you may call it knowledge bank) from where the bot gets information like time, location, product catalogue, problem solutions and so on.
- Dialogue is how the bot is managed to engage in interactions.
Just as you train your new customer care recruits, bots are trained too. Bots are not designed to replace humans, they are designed to help, complement the efforts of humans and fill the gaps humans can not fill. While bots may not offer very emotional conversations, they provide basic solutions.
In most cases, bots are not designed to solve highly complex issues, it is usually designed using frequent problems and information that customers and clients usually seek. For example, if you realise that customers are always calling to know certain information, that information can be included in the entity so that when customers call or chat, bots would easily give them the information without you.
We will find it stressful if we have to reply to customers every day for simple basic questions like:
“Do you open on weekends?”
“What time do your office in Abuja open?”
“Do you have a branch is Ikeja?”
“When next is your digital skill class?”
“My payment failed but I was debited, what do I do?”
Bots, however, do not get tired. Just like an ebook that can serve millions of people at the same time, bots are everywhere at the same time. It can be responding to a customer in Russia and also be interacting with another customer in Nigeria at the same time.
This way, questions that are very likely to come often will be handled intelligently by bots while tougher and more complex issues can be handled by humans. Let’s see what I mean in this conversation between Ifeoma (our brand bot) of Funtrick Technology and a customer.
Customer: (Opens messenger or live chat)
Ifeoma: Hi, I am Ifeoma. Welcome to Funtrick customer care, I am here to help you. What may I call you?
Ifeoma: Alright John. Anything for us?
Customer: I need a website for my business.
Ifeoma: We have various websites packages. You may need to check this (provides a hyperlinked text) to know which of the packages meets your need.
Customer: I already went through it. I want a website for my store.
Ifeoma: That’s great! Our premium package will work great for your store. We are currently running a promo, so you’d get 5% off when you sign up with us.
Customer: Will the website have a custom email?
Ifeoma: Yes, all our websites come with custom emails. You can also check here (hyperlinked) for comparison of our various plans.
Customer: How fast do you deliver?
Ifeoma: We deliver in five working days but depending on the complexity of your website and contents, it may take as much as more days. We will always let you know ahead of time.
Customer: I need the website to be working within 24hours time.
Ifeoma: I didn’t quite get that but you can contact our human agent via this hotline or by filling this form so that your case can be looked into and sorted immediately.
Customer: Thanks a lot.
Ifeoma: Welcome. Will that be all for now?
Ifeoma: Have a great day! It was nice interacting with you. If you need anything else, I am always here.
As you can see through the above conversation, both human and bots are needed. While bots deal with specific goals, humans take up from the limits of bots.
The customer will eventually get a follow-up email from human agents and the customer’s conversation with the customer can be used to improve it even further so that it can provide answers for the same question to the next customer.
Now you see?
You can have a customer care agent who works for you round the clock while making it easier for you to focus on improving your business.
To get started with this, you can hire a developer to help you set it up or you learn how to set up your own bots. If you are technically savvy, it would take some time but you’d definitely learn it.
If you already have a website or you want a chatbot integrated with your business Facebook messenger, you can contact us here.
Onyedikachukwu George Nnadozie is the creative director of Funtrick Technology, an author and a public speaker. Aside from his creative job at Funtrick Technology, he takes time to write on his personal blog, George’s Diary.