What Is a Support Bot?

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Support chatbots will not solve all problems magically, but they will increase your CS team's efficiency.

Today's support chatbots are intelligent, AI-powered game changers

In previous articles, we've written about virtual agents and chatbots, the conversational robots that harness the power of AI and natural language processing (NLP) to carry out text or audio-based conversations with human users. Chatbots are used in a variety of applications, including well-known personal assistants Siri or Alexa. But there is a field in which they are becoming clear growth-drivers: customer support. In fact, according to Gartner, soon

“Customers will manage 85% of their relationship with the enterprise without interacting with a human.”

That does not mean that 85% of the interactions will be handled by chatbots specifically, but they definitely have a major role to play in that shift.

What support bots can do

To understand what support bots can do, let’s first look at how they work. Typically, they provide value in two ways: NLP technology, automatic routing, and intelligent chat conversations maximize efficiency in understanding what your customers need: Unlike old-school chatbots, AI-powered virtual agents understand messages despite the use of synonyms and typos, mimicking the human mind when conversing with customers. 

The second part of the puzzle is all about quickly accessing that information and getting it to the customer ASAP. This is where CRM integrations and APIs come in: The former allow your virtual agent to access and update customer information; the latter lets your virtual agent fetch information from other apps (such as your order tracking system) and automatically update your customers based on that data.

Learn about NLP, APIs, CRM integrations and more in our Ultimate AI glossary.

The benefits to your support team are manifold: Upfront data collection by the bot reduces handle and resolution times even if queries end up being escalated to a human agent. For example, our healthtech customer Clue saved 1 to 3 minutes per ticket when they automated email ticket tagging.

Most repetitive and standard questions can even be fully automated, either by the bot answering simple requests with info from your FAQs or knowledge base, or using API integrations. For example, a question like "What's the US equivalent to an EU size 39" could easily be solved end-to-end with a clever, no-code chat dialogue set up by your team. And APIs can help fetch and send tracking info - it's how our ecommerce customer Papier kept their international customers up to date on order statuses. 

Identify your most common requests based on past support conversations with our AI-powered CS Automation Explorer

When virtual agents join forces with a dedicated support workforce, not only are your agents freed up to engage in more complex queries, you're also reducing stress and increasing efficiency within your support team at the same time.

Why would you need a support bot?

Support bots are no substitution for human agents, and your customer service will only ever be as good as your team’s ability to resolve complicated issues. But bots can prove extremely useful in some cases: for instance, when a company needs to provide 24/7 support but cannot afford it; when customers are getting in touch from around the globe, in multiple languages, across time zones and through multiple channels; when scaling up customer support is proving difficult; when support teams find themselves dealing with the same questions over and over again.

Learn how our ecommerce customer Victoria Plum provided 24/7 support for their customers with chat automation.

Support chatbots aren't a cure-all for every single problem support teams face. But if they are part of a concerted service strategy, they may just make your life a whole lot easier.

Automate your customer support