"The customer is king". This old adage has not changed and is more relevant than ever in the digital age. Whereas stores used to compete for customers' attention within a limited radius, today's Internet offers unlimited access to suppliers worldwide. And even one dissatisfied customer experience can cause them to switch to another company with the click of a mouse.

"Around half of customers say they would switch to a competitor after just one bad experience. With more than one bad experience, the number increases rapidly to 80%." - Zendesk Report: Customer Experience Trends 2020

Long waiting times, limited availability or constant repetition: This is all very frustrating for customers. Especially when it comes to simple inquiries, understanding quickly fades. Even if the information is not available immediately or is passed on from one person to the next.

But what do customers expect and how can you respond?

"I want a quick solution to my problem."

For more than 60% of customers, the rapid handling of an inquiry is an important aspect of customer service. They expect their problem to be solved immediately and are annoyed if they have to spend a long time on hold.

The challenge is that companies have to process the numerous customer:inquiries with limited human resources in the shortest possible time. Therefore, automated response to standard queries can be a suitable solution. The bot understands the user input and uses the relevant keywords to filter out the customer's intent. It then assigns them to a suitable answer and plays it out in the chat within a few seconds. This guarantees the speed desired by the customer.

"I want to get an answer to my question at all times."

More than 40% of customers want a service that is permanently available, as the company's opening hours are not always compatible with their own daily lives. But they also want to be well looked after and expect a competent answer in real time.

It is therefore necessary that automation tools are used in the company to be able to offer customer advice around the clock. A chatbot is permanently in use and can take over the consultation when the employees are off duty.

"I want to communicate with the company on the channel of my choice."

The nature of communication has changed dramatically. For the younger generation in particular, communication via messaging services has already become the norm. Every third person would therefore like to be able to make contact flexibly and via their preferred contact method. Switching between different channels can be perceived as annoying.

The company should therefore be accessible on several channels to enable customers to contact it flexibly. If a bot is used for this purpose, the data formats must be adapted for each channel. This is both a technical challenge and very time-consuming. With a channel connector or a suitable platform such as BOTfriends X, the formats are automatically standardized and formatted. This facilitates deployment and use enormously.

"I would like to look for a solution myself before approaching a staff member."

76% of customers tend to look for a suitable solution themselves first, rather than seeking advice from the customer service. Independent searches are particularly useful for simple and frequently asked questions. If the question is trivial, they are more reluctant to ask a customer service employee. Bots remove this inhibition. An automated solution allows customers to be active themselves and at the same time relieves employees.

For example, we developed a self-service solution for the energy supply and service company Süwag. Within just a few entries, users can report their own meter readings or take their electricity and gas contracts with them when they move. The chatbot "Karl" is well received by customers and inspires them with its simple and uncomplicated way of use.

Chatbots as supportive customer advisors

Customers' expectations of service are rising. Companies must therefore adapt the experiences they offer them accordingly. New technologies in particular offer new and versatile opportunities that transform pure communication into interaction. The more customers feel comfortable with the service and the experiences, the more likely they are to commit to the company and recommend it to others.

"More and more companies are recognizing the value of investing in and prioritizing the customer:inside experience." - Zendesk Report: Customer Experience Trends 2020

To strengthen customer loyalty, the customer experience must be improved. A chat or voicebot is ideal for this purpose. It is particularly useful for routine inquiries, because automated processing means that customer inquiries can be handled much more quickly. This reduces the workload of employees and allows them to concentrate on specific problems. With the help of Deep Learning, it can categorize questions, assign them to the appropriate answers and respond in real time. It also recognizes when the user would prefer to speak to a real employee.

The quality of services can be improved efficiently and quickly with a chatbot. By responding directly to the needs of customers, it also increases customer satisfaction. But of course, the bot cannot completely replace personal consultation - and it should not. Loyalty is not expressed by answering standard inquiries, which could be eliminated by the bot. Above all, customers appreciate help with complex problems, which should be personal, authentic and honest.

A balanced mix is therefore ideal: a Conversational AI solution combined with authentic and enthusiastic employees.

Is a chatbot still missing from your team? And you're ready to take your business to a whole new level and want to tackle your first voice or chatbot project?

In our white paper "No more POC Chatbots", we show how you can avoid the three most common mistakes when implementing a Conversational AI project.

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