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Updated on October 25, 2023
Published on October 25, 2023
In the digital age, people want autonomy and the ability to self-serve, making AI chatbots a popular tool in customer experience strategies. In fact, a Morning Consult study found that 67 percent of consumers have used chatbots at least once in the past year and 42% are comfortable using them. The relative ease of use and widespread adoption of virtual assistants and agents make a customer support AI chatbot platform for websites beneficial and cost-effective to meet today’s customers’ expectations.
What is a customer support chatbot?
A customer support chatbot uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to answer customers’ questions. AI chatbots are valuable customer service tools, adding a self-service option that allows customers to skip the wait and find the information they need without assistance from an agent.
From a customer’s perspective, a customer support AI chatbot platform for websites is similar to a live chat tool. However, AI chatbots feature advanced automation so human agents don’t have to take time to respond—the AI chatbot software does.
In an era of labor shortages, rising costs, and more customers opting to engage digitally, businesses of all sizes are looking for new solutions for customer support. Call centers that require customers to wait on hold for an agent won’t meet expectations for speed, convenience, and self-service options.
In fact, a Mindful study determined that a customer’s patience wears thin after five minutes on hold, making it no surprise that Morning Consult reported 85% of consumers say short wait times should be provided as part of a support experience.
Also, adding an AI chatbot to your website allows customers to type their questions in natural language and get an immediate response. Furthermore, because a customer support AI chatbot platform for websites uses information from your knowledge base or help center documentation, all information the chatbot provides is up-to-date, accurate, and on-brand.
A customer support AI chatbot platform for websites also allows small businesses to level up their service, helping them compete more effectively with bigger companies with more customer support resources.
When you add a chatbot to your website to support your customer service team, the next decision you need to make is how to do it. One option is to leverage internal resources with coding skills and user interface/user experience (UI/UX) expertise to create a chatbot for your business. Conversely, you can choose to use chatbot software from a vendor.
Each option has its advantages. For example, in-house development allows you to design a unique chatbot. However, development takes time and investment, so using a platform from a solution provider can help you implement a chatbot more quickly.
If you decide to use software from an AI chatbot provider, remember that some building will still be involved to tailor the chatbot to your specific needs. Fortunately, you won’t need developers on your team to use it, however. A platform that includes a visual chatbot builder will make it easier for you to create chatbots to add to your WordPress site or other website platform.
Once you create and test your chatbot, you need to take it live on your website. If you choose a platform from a software provider, you’ll have information on native integrations or using a widget to add the chatbot to your website.
Many companies planning to deploy a customer support chatbot use one from a provider. But it can be a challenge to find the best AI chatbot platform from among dozens on the market.
These tips can help you evaluate options for your business.
Not all chatbots are AI-powered with natural language processing capabilities. You may be able to add live chat or a search function to your website, but it won’t deliver the same customer experiences that an AI chatbot can offer. AI enables a chatbot to understand a customer’s intent and sentiment to provide more human-like responses.
When selecting a chatbot for customer service, research the technology behind it and request a demo to experience the types of experiences it provides firsthand.
A customer support AI chatbot platform for websites with a visual builder allows you to create chatbots by dragging and dropping elements of a customer interaction into a digital workspace to create a conversation flow. For example, the exchange may start with the question, “What’s my loyalty rewards balance?” You can drag a field in which you enter a response that takes the customer to a page where they can check the status of their loyalty account. You can also create interactions that clarify exactly what the customer is looking for or that request customer feedback.
The software provider typically trains the AI chatbot platform to understand variations in language and ways a customer can ask a question, enabling interactions in different wording.
While searching for the perfect chatbot platform for your business, you’ll likely find free trials or free account versions. While this may enable you to deploy a chatbot, these deals may not give you all the features you need, like chat history, automated messages, and unlimited bots.
Focus on the capabilities included in the packages and choose the one that will provide the greatest value to your support team and your business. Also, keep in mind that 57% of businesses find that chatbots deliver significant ROI.
(Read how our Zoom chatbot helps us reinvent the customer experience and achieve a cost savings of $13 million every month.)
Once you have selected the platform, remember these tips to optimize user experiences with the customer support AI chatbot platform for websites.
The best customer experiences with AI chatbot platforms come from interactions that incorporate elements of human conversation. Build friendly greetings, thank them for using your website, and use a conversational tone that puts customers at ease. Giving your chatbot a “personality” that complements your brand can improve customer satisfaction.
A chatbot integrated with your knowledge base or help center is valuable. But one that’s integrated with your customer service management, customer relationships management, or ticketing software can deliver even more value to your customers and customer service team. Plan conversation flows and connect customers with the resources they need to create the best experiences possible.
The last thing you want is to trap a customer in a loop that doesn’t give them the information they need. The best AI chatbots include fallbacks that give customers an out, whether directing them to another resource or connecting them with customer service agents.
When researching AI chatbot platform options, ask, “What if…?” and see how the chatbot responds.
A customer support AI chatbot platform for websites will only provide responses based on the information you give it. Involve your customer service team to determine the best way to respond to customer queries and how to orchestrate customer engagements.
Your customer service team is also probably best qualified to test the chatbot and help keep it updated, enabling it to provide the best possible responses.
Even if your evaluation of your chatbot is positive and it appears to work during tests, monitoring its performance in the real world is still necessary. Keep track of the most common customer queries and whether your chatbot gives answers that lead to customer satisfaction.
Also, establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you gauge chatbot performance, such as how often it responds correctly the first time and how often it needs to escalate requests to agents. If the chatbot isn’t achieving its objectives or performance declines, it’s time for an update or adjustment.
A quick way to gauge chatbot performance is to ask your customers. Ask customers to provide a quick rating or a brief comment at the end of each interaction to gather information that can help you measure customer satisfaction and identify potential areas of improvement.
Customer preferences continue to shift from requesting help from a human agent when they need straightforward answers to questions about products and services. The right customer support AI chatbot platform for websites enables you to offer a self-service tool that can enhance your customer service and allow your support team to work more efficiently.
Zoom Virtual Agent includes the features you need, such as a visual chatbot builder and conversation flow builder, that make creating a chatbot simple. It also uses natural language processing to give your customers an improved experience. It also provides options to escalate issues to human agents on your team with smooth hand-offs.
Talk to an expert today to learn how easy it can be to add an AI chatbot to your website.