Over the past few years the customer experience has been turned on its head. Firstly, to the dismay of marketeers, customers are increasingly difficult to contact. Secondly, customers access information, especially from websites, and make up their own mind as to what they want, without a salesperson harassing them.
Websites have become the shop window for most companies. The task is how to make the website experience enjoyable and productive, whilst containing costs. Bring on chatbots and AI!
There is no doubt that chatbots have come to stay and will transform customer experiences. But agents in call centers will not disappear. Consider the following;
Dad wants to take his children to the theatre. He is a little deaf so wants to sit close to the stage with an unimpeded view. He also has a limited budget. There are a few productions that might be suitable but he can't make a decision based on the information on the websites. A chatbot offers to help but can't grasp the complexity of the questions and Dad gets impatient. The chatbot senses this and transfers him to a live text chat session. Dad finds this more helpful but needs more surety so asks if he can actually speak to the agent.
The agent says "sure" and suggests he presses the phone icon in his chat window. A couple of seconds later Dad and the live agent are talking. The live agent can also co-browse with Dad to show him productions of interest and how to handle the booking procedure. All this is possible using WebRTC technology which has come of age this year. No phones, IP or telephony circuits to worry about. Just browsers talking to browsers, on smartphones and/or PCs.
This technology puts customers back in the driving seat. It gives them back their self-respect and allows them to develop a good relationship with an organization, on their terms. WebRTC is not complex to deploy and early adopters can expect to extend their market share. Of course, there will be challenges, such as how to deal with time-consuming low value enquiries. But these are management issues that organizations should take in their stride. Allowing customers to engage with you when they want and answer their questions using whatever digital or video technique they prefer, is just a great way to do business and have happy customers!
This blog is based on a longer article we wrote recently. To access this article visit Sytel's white papers.