You must be wondering, “Why chatbots for telecom?”
But studies have shown that chatbots are working great for the customer support side of the telecom industry.
In this blog, we will take a look at various problems that a chatbot solves for the telecom industry. We will also review the nature of inquiries that customer support agents handle and how chatbots are better and more suitable to handle these scenarios.
Customer inquiries can be highly repetitive in nature.
In fact, they ‘are’ repetitive in nature. The inquiries that agents address generally follow a specific workflow. These workflows indicate that most of the calls that these agents receive and are related to routine tasks.
Moreover without any doubt, repetitive jobs are a common cause of employee boredom and these tasks under-utilize human resources. Bots are highly trained to manage such routine work so that employees can focus on decision-making tasks that actually require human supervision.
The volume of incoming customer inquiries is HUGE.
Unfortunately, most companies have no choice but to put their customers on long waiting lines for their turn to speak to an agent. By employing chatbots to deal with this volume, companies can save the huge cost of appointing customer support agents and training them to solve customer queries.
Many inquiries call for agents to connect to a different department.
From a customer’s point of view, they believe that they are making an investment in a company through payments. Therefore, they do not understand why they have to wait while the call gets transferred between departments. Call it an unreal expectation but they want the first agent they speak with to resolve the issue that they are facing.
However, telecom companies face a big challenge today in having a single view of the customer because their departments are typically siloed. There is no smooth flow of information from one department to another. Different employees look after different processes and there is usually a lag during the call transfer. A chatbot, on the other hand, is directly connected to all the processes internally and can resolve issues spanning different departments with ease. For the customer, the experience is much smoother.
Customers look for 24×7 availability from support agents.
Customers usually navigate through a maze of IVR options before they reach an agent who can resolve their issue. Such a long experience can turn out to be frustrating for the customer. This is especially if they are in a hurry or if the issue is fairly low key.
A chatbot, armed with natural language processing (NLP), can easily process human speech and get to the issue directly. This experience is quite comfortable for the customer too. Also, customers today prefer texting over calling because it is less intrusive and allows the customer to multitask.
Moreover, it is pretty much already known that several aspects of incoming queries to the customer support center are more suited for bots to handle. The Customer Support Bot can be omnipresent on all the channels of the brand – website, SMS, social media channels and as an app too.
The bot continuously listens on social media and responds to users who share their issues in public domain.
In addition to customer support, chatbots can be useful for several other functions as well.
Here are some of them.
Chatbot as a recharge assistant
In most developing countries, recharge generally happens offline or through the company’s official website. The user is asked to enter their details, browse through a list of plans and make a selection.
Instead of this long unnecessary process, a recharge assistant chatbot can help the customer zero in on the best suitable plan. It will make suggestions based on the customer’s location and usage history and past purchases. Once the customer decides which plan to buy, the bot sends them a payment link. The bot remains the single point of contact for the customer during the entire transaction.
Chatbot as a reminder bot
The Reminder bot reminds customers when their plan is about to expire. Or when their bill payment is due. This bot can boost the top-line for the brand with very low investment.
A feedback collection bot
Chatbots are better at eliciting feedback from customers than agents calling or emailing them. The Feedback Collection Bot springs into action every time the customer interacts with customer support and initiates the feedback collection process. This bot can detect the sentiment of the customer based on the incoming feedback and can adapt the survey questionnaire accordingly. If it realises that a customer is thoroughly disappointed with the service, it immediately passes control to an agent or a manager to salvage the situation.
Further, following are the unique ways in which chatbots are humanizing the telecommunication industry.
1. Increase in revenue — Chatbots can assist and analyze customer behavior. They can also communicate customized offers, which will in turn, increase the revenue.
2. Reduce costs — Chatbots in telecommunication are the perfect way to provide low cost, robust support to the customers.
3. Increased customer retention — Chatbots provide personalized customer support and omni-channel experience, and thereby improve customer satisfaction.
The goal for telecom operators is to create a situation where customers feel like they are communicating with another human in order to lessen the need for human intervention and reduce operational costs.
For this, an enterprise should first identify the areas where chatbots innovate customer experience and execute it accordingly. The following are a few use cases for chatbots in the telecom domain.
Customers expect call centres to be available to customers around the clock. Although all telecoms train and equip their centre agents with the best skills to interact with customers, chatbots can answer thousands of service requests at a time, and customer service can appear to be available late into the night.
Chatbots are capable of answering simple queries at a quick pace, and in a much more efficient manner than humans.
Replying to frequently asked questions (FAQ) or providing simple and timely information are perfect scenarios for a chatbot. A major burden for customer support is responding to the same requests over and over.
A chatbot could provide correct answers, directly reply, or even escalate the request to a person freeing up agents’ time to work on more complex issues. The value in terms of driving not only efficiency in the call centre but also significantly reducing costs is immense.
Chatbots use a combination of machine learning and NLP to predict with great accuracy what a customer needs.
For instance, when the chatbot receives a call, it can check what the customer was doing five minutes before s/he called and predict the possible issues.
Operators thereby will be able to learn faster and provide customised solutions based on behavioural and predictive analytics.
Chatbots can convert views into sales. When a customer checks out products on a website or an app, chatbots are valuable interactive tools in converting window shoppers into buyers in a short span of time.
It can recommend products based on the customers’ social data, chat history and information they put out in public forums like Twitter.
Sales teams can take advantage of chatbots because they are ideal for cross selling. For example, a mobile operator could initiate a conversation between an existing customer to offer a data package, subscriptions to partner offerings, or other products that fit their profile.
Alternatively, a chatbot could participate in the sales process by generating leads for the sales team. Chatbots can provide initial information to a potential customer and, as soon as a certain level of interest is detected, the bot can either direct the lead to a salesperson or to a dedicated landing page freeing up agents’ time to work on more complex issues.
Gathering customer data
Chatbots can trigger conversations to gather data. With regulations changing all the time, chatbots can reach out to customers to ask for the data necessary for telecom operators to remain compliant.
They can verify data such as a customer’s address. Outbound chat conversations are particularly powerful because they allow companies to reach customers on their existing channels. Chats or messages are also less invasive than a phone call, and require only a few seconds to complete.
Telecom companies traditionally struggle with delivering satisfying customer service.
When it comes to technical support, customers are already frustrated enough, so it makes sense to ensure their issues are resolved quickly and easily.
And given that the majority of customer inquiries will likely require the same, repetitive answers from a support agent, there are significant inefficiencies in the current model.
Chatbots effectively eliminate the need for people to call customer support for the vast majority of issues. By programming chatbots to handle the repetitive inquiries, live agents can be reserved for the issues that demand a more personalized walk-through. This combination speeds up the process for the customer while improving operational efficiencies for the business.
Chatbots as a part of telecom service
Chatbots can become a valuable addition to any business handling multiple customer inquiries. Telecom companies with their huge user bases will definitely see the effect of a chatbot implementation, and rather soon.
Depending on the specific requirements, chatbots can be of various complexity, functionality scope or format. Some may be rather simple Facebook or Telegram chatbots handling simple matters, while others may be native chatbots with sophisticated NLP and AI algorithms allowing the bot to recognize free speech and learn in the process.
The range of matters assigned to the chatbot may be different, too. Some companies may prefer to use chatbots only for technical support matters, while in other use cases chatbots can be the customers’ friends in the telecom industry.
One thing is certain – the implementation of chatbots for telecommunication companies is a recommended step in a complex strategy of improving the service.
Greater user engagement, higher customer satisfaction, cost-saving – all these benefits can really help the company to raise the service level.
Here’s how Engati will help you operate a fully-functional chatbot for your telecommunication industry.
We take pride in our association with global telecom companies. We discuss chatbot implementation for their business and see how our services can help them solve business problems in no time. We also invite other telecom industries to try out our services and share their experience.
Interested in enhancing your customer service with a chatbot? We will be happy to help you design and implement a custom solution that suits your requirements.
If you would like to know more, please visit our Telcom page!
For further information, visit the Engati website.