October 6, 2021
Covid-19 and customer service: How it has changed chatbot ROI
Covid-19 has changed the ROI of chatbots for customer support. Customer support teams are now managing more calls and interactions that require more time and effort to resolve than pre-pandemic times. This complexity has blown out first time resolution rates and times, increased call hold times, and reduced customer satisfaction.
There is no doubt Covid-19 has had a huge impact on customer support functions, in the immediate term and into the future.
Customer support teams are now managing more calls and interactions that require more time and effort to resolve than pre-pandemic times. This complexity has blown out first time resolution rates and times, increased call hold times, and reduced customer satisfaction.
In Australia and New Zealand, employers are facing additional pressures on their customer support teams as a result of the pandemic. Both economies are almost at full employment due to border closures, salaries are increasing and there is a high degree of staff churn making it even harder to meet the extra call demand. And when experts estimate it costs upwards of twice an employee’s salary to find and train a replacement, it isn’t hard to see that a creative solution is needed.
ROI of chatbots today
Traditionally the ROI of chatbots has focused on their ability to divert demand from expensive one-to-one interactions, freeing up capacity to manage more complex queries that need a human touch. This move to shift channels is obviously an important one.
With Covid-19, other factors have come to the fore that influence the ROI in addition to the amplification of some of the existing influences.
The ROI of chatbots improves even more when chatbots:
- Are used in periods of full employment. Chatbots remove pressure on existing customer support staff and therefore reduce the likelihood of churn. And if borders are shut and being able to find staff is an issue, then chatbots can easily fulfil part of the responsibilities of customer support agents.
- Take a genuine ‘’no-code” approach to implementation. When you’re not relying on developers to implement, it’s more likely you can be easily up and running in hours. Be wary of different implementation approaches as some still require extensive developer input even when promoted as no-code.
- Are straightforward for customer support or communications teams to maintain. Typically, these chatbots are content-driven and flexible, rather than relying on complex conversation trees that need specialist management support. And when you’re in control, updates can be made quickly and easily. This is particularly relevant in Covid-19 times as messaging is often updated frequently as alert levels change etc.
- Are smart and easy to train. Chatbot capability varies widely. Some bots need 20 or more versions of the same question before AI kicks in. Other bots can work with much smaller datasets to drive results faster. So be sure to check and validate how much work is required to set-up and train any bot solution.
- Work across multiple channels like websites, Facebook etc. Being available 24/7 isn’t enough to build loyalty. Chatbots need to be available on the channels your customers frequent. Have seamless handover to live chat. Being able to escalate as required to a customer support agent improves customer satisfaction.
Chatbots allow businesses to manage customer support demand through intelligent automation and self-service. When capacity is constrained it’s more critical than ever that your expert customer support agents aren’t the ones picking up the simpler enquiries. And when you consider the improvements in AI and bots and the pressures that Covid-19 is placing on businesses, chatbots can make a massive difference to your ability to handle customer support demand (at an acceptable speed and cost).
If you'd like to see for yourself how easy it is to set up and maintain FAQ Bot, please get in touch.