By Ryan Falkenberg, co-CEO of CLEVVA
Digital customer service channels have evolved rapidly over the past two years, prompted by work from home and lockdown requirements. Part of this evolution has been the much stronger emergence of WhatsApp as a customer service channel.
The advantage of WhatsApp over other channels is that you and the customer have a record of the conversation, and you can also pick up and go back to it asynchronously. Your customer chat in your online banking app, for example, will time out. So, if you get called away for any reason you need to start again, and there is no record for you to refer back to.
The real win for unassisted customer service will come when a bot can handle the entire query from end to end. I can ask the bot for information, to perform actions and to give me assistance and advice.
At present, if I want a query resolved via the WhatsApp channel, I will most likely be transferred to a live agent. And given that most service interactions are not simple requests for information or action, this means most WhatsApp engagements still need to be completed by a live person. This undermines the whole concept of ‘digital self-service’ and creates deep customer frustration.
Fortunately, there are now bots that are capable of handling queries via multiple digital channels without relying on live agents. These service bots are far more capable than the early generation information and transactional chatbots. Their logic can handle the complex advisory-level logic required to clarify, analyse, resolve and action customer service queries in one touch.
They can also engage with customers via multiple digital self-service channels, like the web, mobile apps, e-mail and WhatsApp. To do this, they offer responsive hybrid interfaces that offer the rich canvas of a web app, the free text inputs of chat and the structured conversation logic required for rule-driven query resolution.
As a result, service bots are making it possible to offer customers access to a digital expert at their fingertips. They don’t need to wait for a live agent to get a query resolved via the digital self-service channels. Instead, they can engage with a service specialist that never sleeps, and is capable of handling all known queries in context, and without having to put them on hold.