As the world of work changes, so does the way we communicate with businesses. In an increasingly digital world, it’s important to find a balance between human interaction and automated communication, like AI chatbots for the most impressive results. If you are looking for the best strategy to balance your employees’ work and your new AI chatbot, stop searching! Here we will share with you some insights on how to enhance your employees’ productivity with an AI chatbot and make them work in harmony.
Many people still don’t believe this could work for their business, but good practices prove them wrong. If you are one of those who believe in the power of AI chatbots and how they help businesses save time and resources by allowing employees to focus on more complex tasks, then you are going to the next level of knowledge. Never settle for less and just keep reading.
The Importance of a Balanced Employee & AI Chatbot Strategy
As AI chatbots are becoming more and more sophisticated, they are also becoming more and more useful for companies. It is essential to have a balanced employee and AI chatbot strategy in order to reap the benefits of both human interaction and chatbot technology.
A successful strategy should include a diverse team of employees who can provide customer service and support. In addition to this team of employees, it is important to also have an AI chatbot that can handle routine tasks like products and services information sharing, FAQ, or customer service inquiries. The two can work together in harmony to provide the best results. According to Salesforce, 64% of agents working with AI chatbots are able to spend most of their time solving more complex problems and the numbers are growing due to the need for automation of customer service. It will result in a growth of the chatbot market with $41.39 billion by 2030 for better customer experience and support. When it comes to deploying a chatbot for your business, it’s important to create a balanced strategy that considers both the needs of your employees and the capabilities of conversational AI to meet all business goals and needs. By doing so, you can ensure that your strategy will be more efficient. If you are not sure yet, we will share with you how for sure AI chatbots and human workers can work better together.
As your business grows, you’ll inevitably face the question of how to best allocate your resources between your employees and the implementation of an AI chatbot. There’s no one single answer as it all depends on your business needs, who are your customers, what are your company channels of communication and many other things to consider when making a decision. In every case, the key is to create a balanced strategy that is developed based on the unique strengths and the awareness of the weaknesses of both the employees in your team and your chatbot.
On the employee side, you’ll need to consider how the chatbot will fit into their workflow. Will it be used primarily for customer support, and what tasks it will cover? Or will it be used for internal communication and collaboration? On the AI side, you’ll need to consider what type of chatbot you want to deploy – a rule-based or an AI-powered. Rule-based chatbots are typically easier and much to set up and require less maintenance, but they are not as effective as the AI-powered chatbots at understanding natural language and responding accordingly. AI-powered chatbots take more time and effort to set up but can provide a more natural and humanlike experience for users.
Employees require training and supervision. They are more expensive to the business. However, they’re also more flexible and adaptable and provide a human touch to the customer service and support. Therefore, they are best for tasks and situations when customers truly need to talk to other person as it is complicated, emotional or demands another human-only quality or skill.
AI chatbots are cheaper but also require continuous training and maintenance. Fortunately, they’re more scalable and can handle more tasks simultaneously while answering many customers at once. They perfectly take care of routine questions and inquiries, by the way, you think about it, most likely those are about 75% of all questions and inquiries coming to your team from customers and partners.
The right choice to decide how to have them work together for your business will depend on your specific needs. But in general, assign to the employees complicated tasks and supplement them with AI chatbot as needed. By doing it, you can get the best of both worlds.
When it comes to deploying chatbot, many companies focus exclusively on the technology itself. But if you want to keep a customer-centric approach in your communication and still automate more with an AI chatbot, it’s important to think about how the two will work together. Here are a few tips to help you create a balanced employee and AI chatbot strategy:
1. Make sure your employees know about the AI chatbot and how to use it
When your company used only human agents for customer service and support, the communication channels for staying in touch and assisting customers were mostly the same your employees would use in their personal life – live chat, messengers, e-mails, phone, videoconferencing, and more, so your employees stay in their comfort zone technologically. However, they may not have experience with AI chatbots. When implementing an AI chatbot to help, it is a good practice for all employees to be familiarized with the technology, its capabilities, and how to use it. If you want your employees to use the AI chatbot when they do not know an answer to a question a customer asked, they must be trained on how to use the AI chatbot and what are its areas of competence. Employees also can assist with the chatbot testing and further training. This means having proper planning for an AI chatbot project that includes employees’ education and training in chatbot functionalities, the topics of the conversational AI, and knowing how to find the searched information. Also, it is important for the AI chatbot and employees to collaborate for customer service and support along with their parallel workflow. It is a good practice for employees to direct customers to the chatbot when it can handle the topic of the conversation or the task so they could deal with more complicated tasks. The AI chatbot should also lead customers to employees when the issue requires a more personal attitude.
Make sure you provide also a feedback loop so that employees can get the most out of the AI chatbot, give any suggestions for improvement and report an issue they had using it.
2. Define the roles of each
Before you deploy a chatbot, it’s important to define the roles of the employees and the AI chatbot. What will the chatbot be responsible for? What tasks will it be able to handle? And what will be the role of your employees? Plan customer service and support accordingly so the tasks between each of them are clearly defined and there will be no misunderstandings. Design the customer touch points and path to know when the employees are the ones active in service and when the AI chatbot will deal with customers’ inquiries. As we said previously, usually employees are involved in more complex tasks and the AI chatbot takes care 24/7 of the routine ones.
There are many opportunities for employees and AI chatbot to work together to provide better customer service and support, meet marketing and sales goals and help with business growth.
One option is to use the AI chatbot for 24/7 automation of the online customer communication for better customer experience – use it for frequently asked questions and routine tasks, as part of the marketing and sales funnel creation and implementation. In this scenario, employees will handle tasks like following up on received through the chatbot inquiries, reported issues, direct sales, and more personal consultations. Employees also could have a list of – like directly to form to fill, or to information section with details on products and services, and a button to proceed with an inquiry. They can share such links when communicating with customers to speed up the service or provide customers with Call-to-action for later. This is what the manager of the small family hotel “Izgreva”, one of the Umni customers, does to help both hotel guests and herself: she keeps a list of links to various forms and chatbot sections on her phone, and whenever hotel customers contact her by messenger, she makes sure the customer has all information available under that person’s fingertips by sharing the appropriate link.
The AI chatbot can be used for online and offline customer communication with customers accessing it by direct link or a QR code from social media, e-mails, messengers, offline and more. When it comes to the need for human interaction, customers can be directed to fill out a form to contact employees. When they hit the send button, the form data is sent to the assigned department email/employee and an SMS notification is also sent to a team member to notify about the customer inquiry. This is one of the many opportunities for automating both chatbot and employee service and support. The other is to use both AI chatbot and live chat on your website to perform together to be always available – but keep in mind that the AI chatbot never sleeps or never takes breaks, unlike human agents. So, when you want the perfect customer service and support, and decide to integrate both AI chatbot and live chat to satisfy all your customers, ask yourself if there will be always an employee on duty to back up the chatbot and take that live chat conversation as fast as possible. The AI chatbot serves customers instantly and even a few minutes of delay feel too long for waiting for a response after such an experience.
3. Define the processes between each
It is very important to plan, write down and implement properly the processes and procedures involving the AI chatbot. Which tasks are assigned to the chatbot and which to the employees? Where customers are directed – to fill out a form in the chatbot to contact an employee, make an inquiry, book a reservation, give feedback, or something else. Who will handle the filled and send through the chatbot forms – which department, what shall the staff do with it? The communication between the different departments must go smoothly so everyone receives information as soon as possible and know where to find it. Who will be the person in charge to watch what happens in the chatbot, monitoring customer inquiries, and developing the chatbot further? To whom that person will report his / her findings, suggestions for improvement, or ideas for products or services coming from analyzing the conversations between the AI chatbot and the customers? If customers share their experience and suggestions using the AI chatbot with an employee, to whom shall the employee report the received information to make sure the customer feedback is considered in further AI chatbot development?
All relations between the AI chatbot, the employees, and the customers shall be planned, procedures written, and tasks assigned so customers receive information and service quickly and will be satisfied, the employees know what to do in any situation and the AI chatbot is further developed according to the received feedback.
Here is an example of how our clients optimized the relations between their AI chatbot and employees. Beauty Point studio created automation for customers when they book an appointment through the studio chatbot to receive an email with the booking confirmation. There is a direct link to the chatbot in the e-mail to be used if the customer wants to change or cancel her booking. The beauty studio owner reported to Umni that this automation had decreased the no-show rate down to ZERO: for months the studio had not experienced any no-shows, as whenever a customer needs to make a change or cancel an appointment, there are just a few simple steps to go through in the chatbot and they start with the link in the e-mail in their Inbox. This not only affects positively the studio business but releases the studio Receptionist from cancellation and revision calls and allows the employee to take better care of the customers in the studio.
Another example is how hotel complex Izgreva automated its customer service and support. They placed a and in other hotel areas to make sure hotel guests have quick access to the hotel AI chatbot when it comes to assisting customers 24/7. They also connected their Facebook Messenger to their AI chatbot on their website for all customers to be directed to one place, the chatbot – see how they did it here. This way the hotel manager can focus on the in-house guests, follow up on the inquiries received through the chatbot and take care of the hotel operations. Over 40% of the saved time by implementing the chatbot in the hotel communication fall in the evening hours.
4. Use both to complement each other
The AI chatbot should complement, not replace, human interaction and employees’ jobs. It shall be not considered as a threat, an overall staff alternative but as a digital employee that is part of the business family with its own role to play. There always will be employees that will be afraid of such technology, but when a company decides to use one, it must enlighten all its employees about the benefits of the chatbot with conversational AI, its specifics, and how it will help all as becoming part of the team. All employees shall be familiar with the technology implementation, usage, and training in order to use it as a business compendium in their pocket when needed and to know how it will help them free more time for more complex tasks. By doing this, employees will feel more motivated to grow and learn new things to bring more value to the business and its customers. The AI chatbot can be also used as a training tool and assistant for new employees when its functionalities and content are related to the business products and services, so the newbies could learn or remind themselves everything about the company from the chatbot. There are also companies that use chatbots for HR services to help with administrative tasks, training, and internal needs for the company. HR bots can provide information and answer questions about company policies, incentives, forthcoming holidays, vacation policies, training, and others to help the processes go more smoothly.
AI chatbots and employees can work together but keep in mind to assign those tasks to them that each is the best handling. That also means designing the customer path to go through these strengths of the bot and the employees so as to optimize the customer journey and experience with minimal effort for the staff and the business, but with maximum results for all sides.
5. Monitor both performances of the AI chatbot and the employees
It’s important to monitor the performance of the AI chatbot and the employees to ensure that they actually provide value working together. The employees’ satisfaction with the AI chatbot and the business satisfaction of both is a must-have goal for a successful and balanced strategy. Make sure both follow their roles and perform their tasks and make corrections, adjustments, and optimization when necessary.
All business strategies must be measured for their results if they are successful or not, so this one is not an exception. Always make sure that the AI chatbot answers correctly, analyzes its live statistics of customer data for trends notice and further improvement, and also for feedback about employee performance, product, and service quality. Employees also need monitoring of their performance and efficiency and how they use and cooperate with the AI chatbot to assist other employees and customers.
The importance of the 2-way feedback – Businesses should consider the need for feedback, but not only from customers. Employees are valuable sources of information about the AI chatbot and the business strategies at all. Employees shall give recommendations for the improvement of the AI chatbot as part of the strategy and participate actively in the process of its creation, training, and testing for a better understanding of the AI chatbot’s logic and capabilities. The customer behavior data, questions, and statistics gathered by both the AI chatbot, and employees shall also be considered by the business to meet the most desired customer expectations and needs.
6. Make clear adjustments as needed
As you monitor the performance of the chatbot and the employees, you may need to adjust how they handle different tasks. If you find that the chatbot is not providing value, make changes to the way it is used or the tasks it is responsible for – train more topics that are not included but customers search for them, retrain wrong answers, and improve the connection between the chatbot elements and its functionalities, as well as the content. Are customers provided with all possible access points to the AI chatbot? Employees also may need to go through new courses, learn new skills to align themselves with the required level of digital literacy, and give more value to the company.
Following these tips will help you create a balanced employee and AI chatbot strategy that can help your business improve its overall customer service and support, its marketing and sales, products, and services.
AI Chatbots and Employees for Sure Can Work Together
AI chatbots and employees for sure can work together to help companies establish themselves as leaders in their markets. Chatbots are already expected to save businesses 2.5 billion hours and $8 billion by the end of 2023, according to Juniper Research (in retail, banking & healthcare sectors but this is a global trend for other industries – see this topic). This will save employees hundreds of hours and to companies – resources, for the staff to learn new skills to help the business grow further. AI chatbots increase employees’ efficiency and performance and boost staff performance by handling 80% of standard questions, saving the more unique, engaging inquiries for the employees. What you need to achieve such results and to stay steps ahead of the competition is a balanced strategy for your employees and your chatbot to work in symbiosis.
If you are not convinced yet of the benefits of using AI chatbot to support your employees and customers, you can feel free to contact us for additional consultation on the topic for your business. You are also can continue reading more about Why Your Business Need an AI Chatbot for Customer Service to be aware of all of the benefits. Stay informed to make the best decision!