06/08/2018 |

A Lesson About Chatbot to Live Agent Handoff from My Teenage Son

When it comes to using chatbots, you must plan for a
seamless handoff between automated solutions and live agents.

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At our house, we have a rule: when you use a dish, you are responsible for putting it in the dishwasher. We’ve had that rule since the kids were old enough to carry a plate. They are teenagers now.

The other day, I came downstairs, entered the living room and there was my son. On the table next to him sat two empty cups, a plate, a bowl with something sticky in it (ice cream?) and an empty chip bag. I was irritated. The following ensued:

Me: Dirty dishes go in the dishwasher.
Him: No response.
Me: Hey … can you get your dirty dishes in the dishwasher?
Him: Yeah. In a minute.
Me: Dishwasher is empty. Get your dishes in there now!
Him: Fine. Whatever!

By the end of the conversation, I was well past irritated and had moved on to angry. You don’t have to have teenagers to understand how frustrating situations like that are. After all, no one likes to repeat themselves.

No one likes to repeat themselves.

As someone who is concerned with the customer experience, you know that preventing irritation from becoming anger is crucial to customer satisfaction and retention. That’s why, when it comes to using chatbots, you must plan for a seamless handoff between automated solutions and live agents. Customers start working with your chatbot because they already have an issue. So, you certainly don’t want to leave them seething because they’ve had to repeat themselves multiple times throughout an already stressful situation.

You can help the handoff process by:

Capturing chat details.

This is probably the most obvious. Your customer has already committed valuable time trying to solving the issue on their own. Instead of having your agent start at the beginning with the customer, be sure to capture the chatbot conversation in its entirety via your help desk software or customer service management system so that the agent can review what has already taken place before making contact.

Acknowledging the customer’s chat.

Make sure your agents don’t jump so quickly to solutions that they forget to recognize the effort that the customer has already put in. Train them on the importance of summarizing the situation so that customers gain confidence in the fact that they are talking with someone who truly knows and understands what’s happening with their specific situation.

So, be careful about directing them to templated replies and FAQs at this point.

Integrating data sources.

Often, chatbots can’t successfully resolve an issue with the customer because the customer has a specialized use case. Give your agents as much information as possible about their customer by integrating multiple data sources into customer profiles. That way, agents can start thinking about possible resolutions even before speaking with the customer.

Using FAQs and templates with purpose.

Self-service tools are great time and money savers. However, keep in mind that when a customer is handed off to an agent from a chatbot, they have already tried the self-service approach: it didn’t work for them. So, be careful about directing them to templated replies and FAQs at this point. Certainly, there may be cases where it’s necessary, but if there is something the agent can assist with in that moment, now is the time to bring the case to resolution without redirecting them.

Whether your chatbot is built on a rule-based system or advanced AI, the same things are required when it comes time to handoff to a live agent. You must be able to provide your agents with clear background information, the ability to quickly research the customer before connecting and a few basic customer service reminders. Pulling these together will ensure that customers don’t have to repeat themselves again and again, thereby feeling more satisfied with the entire experience.

(As for my son? Well, I guess we’re just going to have to keep working at it!)

Photos: Cody Hiscox on Unsplash

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