Smart answer blocks, a way to use automation in customer service 

-without using annoying chatbots

Everybody loves getting great and personalised service. A great customer service is therefore a real differentiator for a business. It sets the business apart from its competitors, whether it’s pre-purchase inquiries all the way to post-purchase support.

In an attempt to make customer service better, faster and more efficient, many companies make use of chatbots. The idea is simple, instead of a human agent, a chatbot takes up a conversation with a customer. The chatbot understands the question and replies accordingly. Where human agents are only available during certain working hours, a chatbot is there 24/7. By answering faster to customers, it all should lead to better customer service experiences and higher satisfaction rates.. 

The harsh reality however, is a bit different. Many chatbots are insufficient in helping a customer. They often don’t understand what you’re talking about and can’t help you with the question you have. Who hasn’t got frustrated by a poorly designed chatbot? 

Why chatbots suck at having conversations

Bad experiences from chatbots are partly caused by what we call flow bots. These chatbots are chatbots that follow a particular flow, or a decision tree. The chatbot starts with giving you a preset of options to choose from. Based on the option you select, it provides you with a new set of options.

A flow bot works well if you stay within the flow, but it breaks straight away if you have a question outside of that flow. You often end up in a loop or, if you’re lucky, at a human agent. So to conclude, these flow bots provide a very rigid, structured experience.

To make chatbots more flexible there is something called Conversational AI. With artificial intelligence and NLP, which stands for Natural Language Processing, chatbots are getting smarter. With the help of this technology, these types of chatbots are able to recognize written or spoken text. So, they work without the rigid, decision tree type of flow. They are capable of handling conversations in a more flexible way. Pretty much how humans communicate with each other as well.

Although Conversational AI technology is progressing very fast, these types of chatbots require a lot of work to build. The chatbot needs to be teached and trained in order to understand human language. Next to that, well trained Conversational AI chatbots are also still not as good as a human being in providing customer service. Things like context, sarcasm, or a little joke are easy to understand for a human, but really hard to understand for a chatbot.

Hybrid automation is the key

Although automation is great for saving time, providing bad experiences to customers isn’t a great idea either. But how to make use of automation without ruining the experiences your customers have? The answer lies in smart answer blocks. These are automatically generated answer blocks based on what the customer says. A human agent can use these answer blocks with just a click of a button to reply to a customer. 

Smart answer blocks work with Conversational AI technology as well to understand what a customer is talking about. Based on that input it makes a suggestion on what to answer. This significantly helps a human agent to reply faster and better, but still keeps the human agent in control over the customer service experience.

Smart automation blocks can also be proactively used as a suggestion to customers. In this case it gives one or multiple suggestions while the customer is typing. Similar to what Google does with it’s search engine. When typing a question for Google, the search engine already comes up with some suggestions. 

Google example for smart answer blocks

Keep calm and stay in control

By using smart answer blocks,a human agent keeps control over the customer experience. Before hitting the send button and reply to a customer, you can add some personalization based on the customer profile, or add additional content to the answer if needed. Handling customer conversations at scale is made easier with smart answer blocks, without losing grip on the customer service experience.  

How to start with smart answer blocks?

At Table Duck, we provide an omnichannel communication platform to manage and automate all your customer conversations in one place. This includes smart answer blocks and chatbots based on Conversational AI. Get yourself a free 14-day trial and see how it can help your business with providing great customer service. 

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