Traditional support has certain limitations and it somehow fails to keep pace with the aspirations of modern times.
In fact, the typical support ticket flow is not in tune with the kind of seamless support required today as it involves a considerable waiting time and lacks the human touch.
In contrast, customers not only want real-time engagement and resolution of problems but 82% of them say getting an immediate response is very important when they have a question.
With the changing customer expectation, it becomes essential for businesses to quickly adapt to bring more conversation-driven service and some form of automation to support.
Hence, conversational support is driving the way to deliver greater customer service and it’s going to be the way engagement is offered.
What is Conversational Support?
Conversational support is a modern strategy of helping customers via personal, one-on-one conversations and building long-term relationships. Unlike the traditional online customer service approach, it focuses on using context and personalized touch to resolve customer queries in a seamless and prompt way.
Rather than having a ticketing funnel to resolve a series of issues, conversational support is more of a holistic approach to deliver great customer experiences by combining elements of automation and human handovers. This kind of support aims to create broader and enriching relationships on both sides.
Conversational Support Benefits for Your Business
Open conversations can encourage human interaction and build trusting relationships. And when you add modern artificial intelligence to the mix, it can help get valuable insights into customers. Your business can leverage all this to improve customer experience and redefine support in the true sense.
You can benefit from conversational support features in many different ways.
- Richer customer experience – When conversations are at the center of customer engagement, it always creates a richer experience and helps build a long-lasting relationship.
- Lower support costs – Adopting an integrated approach to customer service frees up the workload of the support agent and also makes redundant any additional investment in stepping up the infrastructure.
- Faster resolution time – The nature of conversational support makes it unique as all the data is available in a centralized software system and agents can have easy access to the full customer history and thus resolve queries faster.
- Higher customer retention – Customers are less frustrated and less disgruntled when the response time is low and when they are not passed from one team to another.
- Better conversions – By streamlining the support process, your business is always able to handle customers efficiently, manage lower churn rates, and create loyal customers, and all this contributes a lot to boosting conversions.
How to Implement Conversational Support?
You need to switch from the traditional support flow when your customers are not getting the seamless experience they deserve. The focus should be on replacing the transactional approach with integrated conversations so that long-term relationships are forged.
There are many ways to implement conversational support to strengthen your customer experience strategy and build relationships with meaningful interactions.
- Think Omni channel
- Map Your Customer Journey
- Adopt Proactive Approach
- Automate Your Support with Chatbots
- Build More Customer Self-service Options
- Use the Right Mix of Bots and Human Support
- Leverage Chatbot Sentiment Analysis Feature
- Track Customer Conversation KPIs
- Personalize Conversations Using Customer Data
Let’s discuss each of the ways in detail;
1. Think Omni Channel
Customers expect a seamless experience when they contact businesses.
They also want the freedom to choose the channel and exercise preference in reaching out to brands.
Despite that, many businesses make the mistake of having a presence on many different channels yet not giving the choices customers crave for.
To avoid that kind of situation, you need to implement an omnichannel strategy and let customers decide what fits them the best.
And when you do that, it means you’re able to keep pace with the evolving customer experience trends of modern times.
How to adopt an omnichannel strategy?
- Use the right tools – The success of an omnichannel outreach will depend on the efficiency of the tools such as live chat, video chat, and co-browsing.
- Offer in-app support – Your business needs to think of offering in-app support so that all the customer data stays in one place and each agent has easy access to them for faster responses.
- Plan hybrid support – By combining AI-powered chatbot automation with a human touch, you can easily enhance customer’s experience with your business and answer queries 24×7.
2. Map Your Customer Journey
Understanding your customer’s journey is the key to delivering great experiences to them.
If you want to step up the service, the only way is by being aware of what customers look for and how to meet their expectations.
To achieve that goal, you first need to know the places where customer interactions happen and then optimize them to enable a seamless experience.
By mapping customer journeys across channels, you will better understand their needs and make sure that each touchpoint contributes to better service.
Best practices in mapping the customer journey
- Survey your customers – You need to ask the customers directly about their experiences with your company and how they feel doing business with you to get a clear idea of their journey.
- Take inputs from customer service reps – Agents are always at the forefront of customer conversations and they often have a good idea of the most common questions that customers ask and these inputs can be used in mapping the customer journey.
- Create a buyer persona – It’s important to create a journey map of each customer even if each of them is unique and their behavior is driven by different parameters such as demographics, geography, and psychographics.
3. Adopt Proactive Approach
Having a proactive approach to support is always a great strategy as then you have the mindset to reach out to customers rather than wait for them and listen to their problems.
When you plan to offer conversational support, you need to be proactive to start the conversations and try to assess the customer’s pain points.
This method will help you not only anticipate but also resolve the problems in the preliminary stage itself.
This puts less pressure on the support team and keeps them free for more energizing conversations.
Tips to adopt a proactive approach
- Offer faster assistance with live chat – Businesses that want to make every customer interaction an opportunity and build a rewarding relationship use live chat and provide quick responses.
- Provide real-time help with co-browsing – Customers can quickly leave your website and move on if they don’t quickly get what they want and to avoid that situation, you need to provide a co-browsing feature to them using their web browser.
- Visual engagement – The use of video chat for customer service can make conversations interactive and personalized therefore greatly boosting their experiences with your business.
4. Automate Your Support with Chatbots
68% of consumers like interacting with chatbots because of the quick answers they get.
When you automate your support with bots, it helps reduce wait time and lets you respond to queries in a prompt manner.
Automation also proves of great value in situations where once the presence of human touch was important.
In fact, AI-powered chatbots are intelligent and can do smart routing by directing chats to the right team and ensure great value with conversational support.
By using bots to propel your support, you’re always able to drive conversations, boost engagement levels and ultimately ensure amazing customer experiences.
Best practices in automating support with chatbots
- Create a contextual knowledge base – Make bots a key element of your support strategy with the view to deliver customers with the right information, articles, or other support materials easily through a contextual knowledge base.
- Do attribute mapping – You can also leverage chatbot benefits in gathering context or information from other integrated sources such as CRM and enhance the value of conversational support.
5. Build More Customer Self-service Options
Customers are not always keen to engage with service agents.
Sometimes they want self-service and search for options by themselves to know a business or understand products/services better.
For such situations, you need to build more self-service options so that the flow of conversations is never stopped.
When there are more self-service options, it ensures fewer questions for your service team that can then dedicate the time to handling questions that are complex and not solvable by bots.
Tips to build more self-service options
- FAQs – You need to prepare a list of the most commonly asked questions and then prepare answers for them so that customers find it easy to resolve their queries and have a seamless experience.
- Support articles – Customers may have a variety of questions and then often look for step-by-step guidance on these all, so make sure you have support articles dedicated for each process/system to ensure value to conversations.
- Videos – Visual communication plays a key role in driving user engagement and having interactive and information-rich videos of your products or services can always help customers get quick answers to their problems.
6. Use the Right Mix of Bots and Human Support
Chatbots have transformed the way customer service is delivered.
They’re 24×7 and can provide quick responses as and when needed. Plus, they are smart and may do sentiment analysis to decide the emotions from messages as well.
And if need be, bots can quickly route the chat to the right agents and ensure the flow of interactions is maintained.
However, there will be scenarios of complex conversations where human support is needed. Bots are not 100% accurate despite innumerable chatbot use cases they can’t be relied upon for complex matters.
So, you need to have a blended approach where both bots and humans are part of the customer service strategy to ensure fast resolutions and great experiences.
Tips to combine the bots and humans together for support
- Chatbot integration with live chat – Integrating AI bots into live chat can help you deliver hybrid support where the routine queries are automated and complex questions are handed to live chat agents.
- Have an escalation process – Customer service chatbots can answer mundane and repetitive questions with amazing consistency but they may not be able to deliver great responses to complex matters. So, having an escalation process where bots hand over queries to the agents can ensure a seamless experience for customers.
7. Leverage Chatbot Sentiment Analysis Feature
Chatbots are quite advanced today and can adapt to new AI features with ease.
They can recognize user intent, decode the mood of users, and also drive the flow of conversations based on customer emotions.
All this becomes possible due to the chatbot sentiment analysis feature which makes bots even more powerful in terms of understanding the emotion in the customer messages.
Your business too can benefit from this feature to know if customers are having a good experience with your chatbots and based on that, can add value to conversations.
How will chatbot sentiment analysis help in conversational support?
- Conversations based on customer’s intent – Chatbots that are powered with the sentiment analysis feature can efficiently recognize customer intent, quickly understand the mood, and then guide the chats in the right direction.
- Insights from social media posts – The use of sentiment analysis-driven bots can help your business successfully analyze any piece of text or voice such as posts, comments, status updates for understanding the mood of customers and then framing the response accordingly.
- Filter non-value customers – Your business can drive the value of conversational support by filtering non-value customers based on the texts or responses delivered by them and artificial intelligence can help do that easily.
8. Track Customer Conversation KPIs
You need to constantly keep a track of key interaction-related KPIs to get an idea of whether you’re heading on the right track with your conversational support strategy.
There will always be useful data to measure and get a better insight into your customer service strategy.
Once you’re aware of the success or lack of it, you can easily tweak your support strategy and ensure value to customers at every step of the way.
Some common customer conversation KPIs
- Response Time – Measuring the average response time is a great way to understand how your customer service team is performing in the delivery of conversational support.
- Average conversation length – Apart from quick delivery of support, you also need to track how much time an average interaction takes between your service team and customers so that you can understand whether customers are made to wait for support.
- Customer satisfaction – It’s quite important to know whether the customer was happy with the conversational support provided by the team and having a feedback mechanism can help achieve that goal easily.
9. Personalize Conversations Using Customer Data
Customers love personalized experiences.
To deliver that, you have to know them inside out, like their preferences, search history, etc.
This is where customer data can help, particularly the ones related to demographic, geographic, and psychographics.
You can trust conversational AI chatbots to collect customer data across touchpoints and then use the same for delivering personalized experiences.
And when a touch of personalization is added to customer service, you always stand to offer a great level of conversational support.
Deliver Great Customer Experiences with Conversational Support
The future of customer experience is conversational support. If you’re able to engage users with enriching conversations, you will provide great customer experiences at every step of the way. So, you need to focus on automating the support and adding more self-service options to ensure value to customers.
Similarly, an omnichannel outreach combined with customer journey mapping and the use of AI bots can go a long way in meeting customers where they want and ensuring value to their interactions. All this can lay a foundation of great conversational support resulting in loyal customers for life.