For small to medium businesses (SMBs), AI represents a new frontier—one that can transform their level of customer experience and employee engagement if charted correctly. And with the prediction that AI could add $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, many companies, including Aircall, have already begun their AI journey.
The arrival of ChatGPT and other AI technologies has opened a can of robotic worms when it comes to the daily role of AI in the work of customer-facing teams. Yet there is one form of AI that has long been a part of modern sales operations, and is set to stick around even with the arrival of new technologies—and that’s chatbots.
What Are Chatbots and Why Are They So Important?
Chances are you won’t be a stranger to chatbots. Even if your business isn’t using them, you might have experienced them in your personal life—whether seeking customer support, checking the status of an order, booking a table for dinner, or any other number of scenarios.
That’s because chatbots are an essential part of customer service for any business, particularly SMBs. In a world where employees are spending an average of 20.8 hours a week on busywork, admin, and training, chatbots can play their part in alleviating the strain with their ability to:
Quickly direct customers to the right place
Answer frequently asked questions
Accommodate customer queries 24/7
Provide a scalable and cost-efficient alternative to human conversation
The stock of human conversation in customer sales and support isn’t about to fall, with 79% of SMBs saying phone calls help their business build better connections with customers, clients, and/or partners. But there will always be times when people want an answer—fast—and don’t mind bypassing the human touch to get it.
The important thing to ask yourself now though is: Are chatbots right for you?
Are chatbots right for your business?
Chatbots are a great asset for businesses to save time and remove easily answerable queries from your reps’ day. Car rental company Avis Budget, for instance, managed to identify and automate 68% of their service calls through bots.
But this doesn’t mean chatbots are right for everyone. Below, we outline some questions to ask before you decide to take the plunge:
Is your team spending too much time on the basics?
Customer-facing teams’ time is increasingly valuable given that 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive experience. Your team therefore shouldn’t be spending time having phone conversations that provide basic details like order info, delivery estimates, or opening times. Instead, they should be building relationships that have customers coming back for more. Chatbots can be employed instead to answer these low-level customer queries.
Have you built a knowledge center?
A knowledge center is an online system that’s designed for customers to easily find information that answers common queries. If you already have one, then you should be using it. Rarely is it worth your time to pick up the phone only to direct a customer to a webpage for answers. Instead, chatbots can quickly identify a query and point customers to a page where an often-asked question is answered in detail.
Are you experiencing long wait times or a high volume of after-hours calls?
While they’re not a silver bullet solution, chatbots can help bring down long wait times by answering basic customer questions, leaving your team to focus on more meaningful interactions. And because they don’t need to clock off—thank you hard-working robot friends!—they can answer queries when you can’t.
Of course, despite their time-saving capabilities, chatbots still demand your input and attention. You need to shape their tone of voice and ensure they direct customers to the right place the first time. To this end, you should ensure you’re personalizing the chatbot arm of your business as much as you would any other.
Personalizing Your Chatbot Setup
Like any customer-facing element of your business, chatbot scripts and workflows require personalization. The aim isn’t to hoodwink customers, but rather the more a chatbot script sounds like you, the smoother the customer experience will be.
A large part of this comes down to the chatbot tool you use. Below, we list a few things that are worth keeping in mind when choosing yours:
Is it easy to use or does it require coding experience?
Can you easily personalize the tone of voice so it matches your brand?
Are you limited in the number of chatbot scripts you can run?
Will it sync with your CRM?
This last point is particularly important if you’re considering diving into the world of conversational CRM. Bypassing the need for manual data entry, conversational CRM helps your customer records stay up to date as they interact with chatbots and other AI software. This means the communications you have with customers stay relevant and go beyond the basics, with CRM chatbot insights collected in real-time.
When to use chatbots
Chatbots have the potential to make an impact across multiple areas of your business. If an initial trial proves a success, you should consider rolling out more workflows that include:
Placing, tracking, and returning orders
Service and product feedback
The list goes on! Whatever the opportunity, you should (with moderation) ensure there’s a chatbot to help accommodate all those potential customer queries that haven’t yet reached your reps.
So now that you’re on board with chatbots, how do you write a script for one? Below, we give you some handy guidance on creating your templates and scripts, plus a script to get you started.
Writing Your Chatbot Script
Remember that novel you’ve always had in you? Well, a chatbot script isn’t that. Yes, you want it to connect with customers and provide value, but you should also keep it short and to the point.
A handy starting point can be sitting down with your sales and support teams. If this includes you—then still make time to get input from your wider team. You want it to sound like them and ensure a smooth hand-off between chatbot and human in the event a customer asks to be connected to one of your reps.
Here are some more useful tips on how to ensure your chatbot script works as well for customers as it does for you:
Keep it informal. If your reps love a casual chat, keep it light with your chatbots too—and drop the formalities where possible. Keep things brief and even use emojis if they set the right tone.
Be up-front about when chatbots are used. You don’t want to trick your customers and risk their frustration later on. This doesn’t have to be a weighty disclaimer and can take the shape of a casual introduction.
Give the option of human connection. As great as chatbots are, some customers want a human conversation, so cater to their preference with an option like “Speak to someone” built into your workflow.
Don’t send people in circles. Make sure your workflows have an endpoint. If someone has jumped from option to option, then build in an automated response that asks if they’d like to connect with someone.
Your Chatbot Welcome Script
To get you started, below we’ve put together a basic chatbot workflow that can welcome your customers to your website. As with all chatbot scripts, this will benefit from personalization, but it gives you a good idea of the tone you can set and the journeys worth creating.
Chatbots should be a help—not a hindrance! So make sure yours are pulling their weight and not adding to the sheer amount of admin you and your team already have on their plate!
If you want to talk more about how Aircall can support your chatbot plans, and ensure they weave nicely into your SaaS ecosystem, book a demo with us today.
Published on September 4, 2023.