Previously we’d sat in a circle, introduced ourselves to the group, and admitted that we know everyone hates our chatbots and yeah we kinda do, too. Now let’s look at what happens when chatbots and other conversational apps hit the mark, it can be transformative.

Let’s examine how these technologies can cast their spell both inside and outside your organization:

Across the Customer Journey

Conversational applications can guide your customer’s journey from browse to search to sale to service.

Before the sale, a well-tuned app can answer a customer’s questions as they browse your site or shop online. This helps them hack through the usual thicket of long product descriptions and documentation. They can ask questions and get instant answers right inside the browser or your app and even ask follow-up questions. Easier product discovery encourages shoppers to add more items to their cart. Chat experiences can also be used as part of marketing campaigns and interactions before the customer even gets to your site:

Customer: What type of warranty comes with the AcmePhone XS refurb?

Bot: The AcmePhone XS refurb comes with a full 1-year warranty covering a new battery and outer shell.

Customer: What about a brand new one?

Bot: The brand new AcmePhone refurb comes with a full Full 1-year warranty with a new battery and outer shell and any replacement of internal hardware.

At the point of sale, the app can answer questions and ease any worry the customer may have about completing the purchase.This confidence boosts conversion rates. And the system is smart enough to interpret a particular customer’s question within the context of this order or past purchases:

Customer: What are my return options if I don’t like the coat?

Bot: The Peak Summit women’s fleece jacket in black can be returned within 90 days after purchase. Would you like to hear return policies for the rest of the items in your shopping cart?

Customer: No. That’s the only one I had a question about.

Bot: Also: You just added those shoes in a size 14. In the past you’ve purchased PowerTrek brand shoes in a size 12. Should I change the size?

Customer: Yes. Thank you.

Bot: Your cart has been updated to reflect these changes. You’re welcome.

Post-sale customer service and support is the final (and usually longest) stage in the customer journey. A conversational app can really shine here. Customers are able to resolve issues faster using self-service methods, reducing the need for intervention from a human agent. Call deflection goes up and call volume goes down. Agent effectiveness measures start to improve as the system helps customers self-resolve. Chat apps can also be used to triage issues and collect necessary information before passing them to a live agent’s queue:

Customer: What stores in Dallas have curbside pickup?

Bot: Our Timber Creek location is the closest to you and is open until 8pm tonight and tomorrow from 8am to 10pm.

Customer: I’m closer to the other store.

Bot: Our Bachman Lake location is also open tonight until 8pm and tomorrow from 8am to 10pm.

As customer interactions run from site to store to app and back, the experience needs to feel seamless and you need to meet the customer where they are, in the channel of their choice.

Anchoring conversational apps throughout the customer journey can yield huge returns, including: increased conversions, increased call deflection, optimized contact center costs, as well as increased customer engagement metrics and customer satisfaction scores.

Inside the Organization

In addition to customer-facing conversational apps these same technologies and approaches can be brought inside an organization and put to work helping employees.

A company’s IT helpdesk function can see the same improvements and efficiencies that customers see, just from the inside. Applications can help employees navigate internal tech support portals to self-serve and answer questions about their hardware and software without having to open a new ticket with IT. Routine end user issues get solved faster, IT works on higher value tickets, and agent queues don’t get so clogged.

As customized applications for different roles and use cases start to blossom from these initial efforts and more parts of the business put conversational apps to work, the platform ROI increases. as. An HR hotline and portal can be streamlined with chatbots to answer questions about PTO policies or travel expenses. Or customer-facing advisors can use a sales support agent to quickly search repositories of FAQs and to help customers better understand products and services.

Inside and Outside and All Around

No matter where you start with bringing conversational apps into your organization, early success will get attention. At some point, how you set up the conversational flow will influence how well employees can use it to serve customers. For example, when a contact center automates the way it responds to calls from field service representatives who are researching the best options for customer problems, it can provide that same knowledge asset to employees in the back office to repair defects or design new products.

We’ve all heard the old platitude that the goal of service should be to minimize the distance between your company’s employees and the customers they are here to help. When those two parties use the same conversational app, they can quite literally “speak the same language.” Winning organizations treat their employees like customers and their customers like employees, so give them the same framework to solve problems together.

About Andy Wibbels

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