What Is a Support Bot?

Support chatbots will not solve all problems magically, but they may make your life a lot easier.

Support chatbots are a sweeping trend


In a previous article, we wrote about chatbots, the conversational robots that harness the power of AI and Natural Language Processing 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 particularly quickly developing: customer support. In fact, according to Gartner, by this year,

“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 will combine two things: on one hand, AI and pre-programmed chat patterns; on the other, access to their company’s knowledge base, such as FAQs and self-help platforms. This allows them, at the very least, to answer repetitive and standard questions, as well as carry out basic support tasks, without any human intervention. As the first point of contact, bots can also gather the essential information from customers, and pass it on to the right support person. Used in combination with a skilled and well-trained support workforce, these chatbots can thus weed out the menial tasks and free up time for agents to engage in more complex queries.

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, 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. Support chatbots will not solve all problems magically, but if they are part of a concerted service strategy, they may just make your life a whole lot easier.

 

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