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A Successful Self-Service Strategy Requires Looking at the Bigger Picture

By Mandy Reed, Global Head of Marketing

Businesses around the world are navigating through unchartered and very uncertain waters at the moment, making difficult decisions and trying to stay afloat. With physical offices and locations closed, many are struggling with the influx of customer questions to their contact centres – an issue that may be compounded by the sudden need to support agents working from home.

Self-service tools, such as conversational chatbots and virtual agents, are a great option to help alleviate some of the pressure from the contact centre and give customers a better option for finding quick answers to their questions. Organisations with an existing self-service solution have a definite advantage. Organisations without one – or with a solution that isn’t up to the challenge – know they must take action right away.

While companies needing to implement a new self-service solution or upgrade an existing one are feeling a sense of urgency, they still need to be thoughtful about the technology they select and how it is implemented. Having a successful self-service strategy requires looking at the bigger picture of your overall customer service and experience. By not doing that, organisations run the risk of making their current situation worse by frustrating customers even more with a disjointed and unhelpful self-service experience.

The good news is that even if organisations take the time to be thoughtful about how a new self-service solution will fit in with the bigger picture, it’s still possible to move the project forward quickly. Working with a vendor that has extensive experience and a deep understanding of how to implement the technology for both quick wins and long-term success is key.

Here are two recently published resources that will help any organisation jumpstart their quest for a successful self-service solution:

How to Select a Chatbot or Virtual Agent for Your Self-Service Project

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Part of destinationCRM’s Best Practice Series, this guide provides insider tips for selecting a chatbot or virtual agent to positively impact your customer care. There are recommendations both for companies deploying a chatbot or virtual agent for the first time as well as those struggling with an existing poor-performing chatbot. It breaks down selection criteria for these self-service solutions to help you select the best technology to meet your current needs and enable long-term success.

 

The Inner Circle Guide to AI-Enabled Self-Service

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This independent research report published by ContactBabel explores survey responses from consumers on their preferences and usage of self-service channels as well as use cases and results from organisations currently offering self-service options. It takes a deep dive into opportunities for using AI, machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to improve self-service channels. The report guides organisations on important questions to ask and pitfalls to avoid when implementing a new or updated self-service channel.

 

A large part of the world may be panic buying toilet paper, but organisations don’t need to panic about their self-service strategy. By taking a step back to look at their overall customer experience (CX) and working with experts in conversational AI, chatbots and virtual agents, they can make sound decisions while moving forward quickly.

Hindsight May Be 20/20 But CX Needs a 20/20 Vision

By Mandy Reed, Global Head of Marketing

They say hindsight is 20/20, but companies can’t afford to rely solely on hindsight when it comes to their customer experience (CX). They should, of course, learn from past successes and failures and pay attention to the feedback from both customers and employees. However, that’s not enough to attract new business and build a loyal customer base. Companies also need to have a 20/20 CX vision.

Recently customer service and experience expert Shep Hyken tweeted his thoughts on customer service, pointing out the fact that “customers are getting smarter and expecting more”:

That “expecting more” includes effective service across touchpoints. For organisations, that means offering end-to-end engagement that blends self-service and human assisted support options. Just as each company is unique, so should be their chatbot, virtual agent and live chat strategy – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that guarantees success.

Frost & Sullivan has identified 2020 as the year CX will overtake product and price as the number one way by which companies will differentiate themselves from the competition. There’s no avoiding the reality that it’s more important than ever to effectively serve and engage customers across touchpoints. It’s key that organisations work with a vendor that has the right tools and expertise to help them create and implement a chatbot, virtual agent and live chat vision that is unique to them and their customers.

To help get you started, the expert team at Creative Virtual has put together a new guide: Creating a 20/20 Vision for Your Chatbot, Virtual Agent & Live Chat Strategy. The guide includes:

  • Three steps for creating a successful chatbot, virtual agent and live chat strategy
  • A checklist for selecting and partnering with the right vendor
  • Tips for using existing chatbot projects and live chat transcripts to jumpstart your vision

The new year is all about looking forward, so learn from your 2019 CX hits and misses but also take the time to map out an updated vision for 2020. Make it your resolution to be one of those “great companies” Shep Hyken referenced in his tweet this year. Download this guide for creating a 20/20 vision to get the inspirational juices flowing with our actionable steps, tips and vendor checklist.

Top Tips for Implementing a Chatbot or Virtual Agent in 2019

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Chatbots and virtual agents have proven themselves to be quality self-service solutions, being increasingly implemented by smart organisations to provide support and being increasingly preferred by customers and employees for quick, easy access to information. Many more organisations around the world either have a virtual agent on their 2019 roadmap or are considering adding one. Yet, despite all the success stories, there are also stories of failed implementations and conflicting messages about artificial intelligence (AI) that are giving decisionmakers pause.

The explosion of interest in chatbots over the last several years helped bring attention to the technology but has left the market confused with media hype and a growing number of new, inexperienced vendors trying to break into the industry. It can be difficult to know how to select the best technology and implement it for long-term success, but organisations shouldn’t let this deter them from plans to offer a conversational self-service tool.

Top Tips for Implementing a Chatbot or Virtual Agent in 2019 addresses the most important items organisations should consider when evaluating and deploying this technology with eight actionable recommendations covering topics including:

  • Building your business case around the right key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Selecting a technology that fits with your roadmap and provides the necessary security and integration options
  • Collaborating with a vendor that can provide expertise beyond just the technology
  • Implementing your solution to create a seamless omnichannel experience
  • Keeping your solution accurate and up-to-date with the right combination of humans and AI

Chatbot and virtual agent technology continues to change quickly, and organisations need to keep in mind that the technology of 2019 is not the same as that of even a few years ago. Educating yourself – and others in your organisation – about the current capabilities and deployment options of these solutions needs to be the first step in your chatbot or virtual agent journey. Companies with failed chatbot implementations or tools that haven’t kept pace with more recent technology developments will also find these eight tips helpful to determine next steps for finding a replacement solution.

Download Top Tips for Implementing a Chatbot or Virtual Agent in 2019 for help with selecting, deploying and maintaining a successful self-service solution this year.