How Mid-Market Businesses can use Chatbots to Cost-effectively Scale Up Call Centres

7 min read

It’s exciting when your mid-size business is growing fast, but scaling up your call centre can be a costly challenge. Read on to discover how an AI Chatbot can help you beat the problems associated with scaling, in a cost-effective way that provides an awesome customer experience.

The Challenges of Scaling Up a Call Centre

Key things mid-market businesses need to consider when seeking to scale up their customer service team are customer expectations and the costs of expansion. When comparing brands, 90% of American customers use customer service as part of their selection criteria. A poor customer experience has seen 78% of customers abandon a purchase and 48% have switched brands for better support. Customer expectations are higher than ever and include speedy, efficient, and seamless 24/7 support across all devices, channels and touchpoints.

How Mid-Market Businesses can use Chatbots to Cost-effectively Scale Up Call Centres

Money Talks

In the UK the average salary for a customer service call centre agent is £19,275. Workstations cost between £2487 and £15,984 depending on location and type of business, while hardware and software is an average of £2,115 per agent. You may also need to expand your office space to accommodate new employees. Hiring and training personnel can also be time consuming and expensive. Call centre agents need to be trained to understand company policies and procedures, product and services, customer requirements, legalities and customer service best practices.

One approach businesses can take to optimising their call centre costs is adopting an AI chatbot instead of increasing the number of human customer service reps. Chatbots are a great scalability solution as they can handle a high volume of inquiries at a much lower cost than human agents. They’re available 24/7 and they reduce customer wait times even at peak hours. Overall, chatbots can reduce customer service costs by up to 30% by handling up to 80% of routine inquiries.

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Time is of the Essence

The average call centre hold time is about 13 minutes. To most consumers, this is unacceptable. Research shows that 32.3% of callers believe they should never have to wait on hold, while 27.6% say they’ll wait on hold for one minute. 30.2% said they’ll wait for one to five minutes. A long wait time can lead to customer frustration and dissatisfaction, which can ultimately cause damage to your reputation and bottom line.

Flying High with Chatbot AI

As a result of these significant challenges 80% of medium-size businesses are planning to deploy AI chatbots. To handle routine queries like FAQs, your chatbot can automatically respond to user inquiries with pre-written responses. Such an ability helps businesses save time and resources and improves customer response times. This is critical as 82% of consumers expect an immediate response on sales or marketing questions.

An airline company can use AI chatbots to handle flight inquiries, such as flight status, baggage allowance, and booking changes. Chatbots can also recommend travel destinations and book travel-related services such as hotels and rental cars. Then, when a customer requires an answer to a question that’s personal to their particular journey and outside of its scope, the chatbot knows to pass the customer to a human rep. This could, for example, be a query about round-the-world tickets with multiple route and stop-off options, and different baggage allowances from country to country combined with special dietary requirements. Equally, the chatbot could track sentiment analysis and realise that the customer’s tone has become agitated. In these ways, chatbots increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the CX.  According to Juniper research, businesses across all sectors are expected to save over $8 billion per year by implementing chatbots in their call centres.

How Mid-Market Businesses can use Chatbots to Cost-effectively Scale Up Call Centres

Personality & Personalisation

Your brand personality may be a key differentiator for your business. The great news is that you can give your AI chatbot a great personality that truly reflects your brand voice and persona. A good chatbot will have a customisable interface, so you can match the look and feel of your brand. This ensures a consistent user experience and reinforces the brand image.

Chatbots can also be trained to recognise specific keywords or phrases and respond with tailored messages. They can utilise rich text and allow the integration of images, videos and interactive menus. This creates a personalised experience for the customer, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

If a telecommunications company customer complains of slow internet speeds or poor call quality, the chatbot can provide tailored solutions based on the customer’s account information. This might be a free upgrade from their current plan or sending a technician to the customer’s address within a couple of hours. This personalised approach greatly increases customer satisfaction. 75% of customers are more likely to buy from a company that recognises them by name, recommends products based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history.

Loveable in Every Language

Robust AI chatbots like the one from GMS can provide support in multiple languages, which can be particularly helpful for businesses that want to expand their customer base globally and reach new markets. A tourism company is a great example as the nature of their business is global and their chatbot can cater to tourists from different countries flying to a huge variety of global destinations.

Data Driven

A mid-market e-commerce company can use AI chatbots to analyse patterns and trends in customer feedback, identifying areas for improvement in their products and services. They can also reduce eCommerce call centre volume by providing customers with real-time updates on their order status, track deliveries, and answer product-related inquiries.

The Dr Will See You Now

Chatbots can be integrated with various APIs to automate tasks like booking appointments based on business availability and customer preferences, processing payments, and retrieving information. They can send reminders and notifications to customers before their scheduled appointments, which saves call centre time and reduces missed appointments, as well as customer churn.  By integrating chatbots into their website or messaging apps, businesses like private dentists or doctor’s practices, hairdressers, and physiotherapists can allow customers to enjoy self-service while easily scheduling appointments at high volume and speed.

Public Service Announcement

Your AI chatbot can send broadcast messages to users who have opted-in to receive updates from your business. This feature can be used to notify users of new products, promotions, and events, saving sales and customer support call centre staff time and effort, boosting productivity, reducing wait times and improving customer satisfaction. It can even take on some of the roles of a sales contact centre rep by selling, cross-selling and upselling. For example, the Coca-Cola bot offers personalised product recommendations, provides access to promotional offers, and even allows customers to order Coke products directly through the chatbot.

How Mid-Market Businesses can use Chatbots to Cost-effectively Scale Up Call Centres
How Mid-Market Businesses can use Chatbots to Cost-effectively Scale Up Call Centres
How Mid-Market Businesses can use Chatbots to Cost-effectively Scale Up Call Centres
How Mid-Market Businesses can use Chatbots to Cost-effectively Scale Up Call Centres
Customer experience
How Mid-Market Businesses can use Chatbots to Cost-effectively Scale Up Call Centres
Brand loyalty

5 Key Chatbot Implementation Tips

  1. Identify your chatbot’s main purpose and goals. In the cases outlined above our medium-sized business requires a customer service and sales support chatbot. Its purpose is to enable it to scale up its call centre as the business grows. It’s aiming to reduce call waiting and improve the CX. It also wants to minimise the burden on call centre staff and free them for complex queries, increase the number of customer service calls solved and provide 24/7 support. The chatbot investment should also reduce OPEX and CAPEX for a greater ROI. Created strategically in this way, chatbots can handle around 68.9% of customer queries from start to finish.
  2. Create workflows and rules. Ask your team which tasks would be easy for customers to complete via the chatbot and ask them for a step by step walkthrough of each task. Note any gaps or areas for improvement. Prioritise the problems and tasks that get the highest volume of calls. Create workflows and rules that show the chatbot when to escalate a call to a human customer service representative or sales agent.  Ensure the chatbot passes on all the details and data from the customer chat to a human agent and CRM.
  3. Ensure access to critical platform features. When considering chatbot features for customer service purposes, you want an Artificial Intelligence chatbot with Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning so it can learn and improve with every call. Sentiment tracking capabilities would also be useful. If your business is international, multi-lingual options should also be one of your criteria. Make sure you choose a chatbot that integrates with your CRM and other systems.
  4. Train your bot to handle multi-part queries that comprise more than one workflow. This might be returning an item and getting a refund. The bot should be able to walk the customer through the return form and label creation, then ask if they want a refund or account credit and take them through the required process.
  5. Think omnichannel. Businesses can retain 89% of customers through an omnichannel strategy, so choose a chatbot that you can deploy, for example, on WhatsApp, messenger, your website and your app.

Following the tips we’ve outlined in this post, you should be able to create a chatbot that’s fit for purpose, on-brand, human in its interactions and loved by your customers.

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