Moving from Chatbots to Automated Agents

by Joerg Habermeier

Chatbots are arguably one of the most talked about and polarizing advancements not just in customer support, but in all of tech. But what exactly are they? While there are many definitions out there, the word “chatbot” is a term for an application that can simulate a conversation with a live person. Essentially, it is software that can interact with a human.

In customer support, chatbots can easily access a broad range of information and help customers quickly resolve their issues on a 24/7 basis. Many companies see chatbot integration as the next technological advancement for customer support. Some people also see the automation of customer support with chatbots as a replacement for living and breathing support agents.

Who is right? Both actually. Chatbots are the next tool that will improve customer support. According to Gartner’s April 26, 2019 Forecast Analysis: Contact Centers, Worldwide report (available to Gartner subscribers), “in 2023, 40% of contact center interactions will be fully automated by using AI, machine learning and self-service, up from around 25% in 2018.”

A study from SUMO Heavy shows that nearly half (49 percent) are using their smartphone when interacting with virtual assistants.  These automated interactions will be completed with chatbots and will primarily occur within mobile apps.

Customers will experience better and faster support for well defined business processes like address changes, returns, and more. Chatbots will complete these actions without the input of live agents, improve resolution times, and increase customer satisfaction. Agents will benefit because they will be able to focus on complex and time-sensitive customer issues that require hands-on support.

Chatbots are not a copy-and-paste option

Chatbots are beneficial but many don’t consider the full application potential. Companies want a chatbot because it’s what everyone is moving towards. But the first implementation might be an after-hours message to email support or lead to a knowledge base look-up solution.

That’s not the expectation that most people have and will often lead to less than ideal user experience. Proper implementation requires more than just a  drag-and-drop integration.

Chatbots are built with machine-learned data and natural language processing (NLP) to understand context and respond with a solution. Answer quality depends on the amount of learned data.

Chatbots should be able to respond with finely tuned answers, but may not have the same quality as live conversations, at least not right now. As chatbots evolve, they will be able to understand more complex questions and provide an accurate solution.

Companies must intelligently add chatbots into their customer support strategy and platforms. It’s not possible to just add a chatbot to customer support and expect it to function without any problems. UJET understands that chatbots are a valued feature. But we also know that offering a simple call-and-response chatbot won’t increase customer satisfaction.

A sneak peak at the UJET Automated Agent

The UJET platform is designed to leverage smartphone capabilities to provide a great user experience for end users and agents. Customers are able to connect through multiple channels and support options. Agents are using a cloud-native platform that unifies communication channels, offers easy-to-use tools, and presents real-time metrics.

We took the same approach towards the development of our own chatbot solution. With smartphone users more likely to use and more comfortable interacting with chatbots, it made sense that our mobile-focused mentality play a key role in how we are rethinking the role of a chatbot.

It had to improve the customer experience from both sides. Rather than think of chatbots as our own exclusive feature, we saw it as a customer support standard and a strategic component of the modern contact center.

Typically, when customers contact support, they are directed towards preset queues for different issues. Customers manually select the option that matches their problem and are connected to an agent or sent to a self-service option.

Chatbots are usually deployed as the defacto first line of defense for all incoming sessions, often leading to unsatisfactory initial support experiences. This will change with UJET’s Automated Agent.

When a user contacts a UJET support center, UJET’s advanced, automated routing engine assesses the user’s current context by evaluating any number of parameters from their user profile. The user is then automatically routed to the most appropriate queue.

UJET’s Automated Agent can be assigned to any of the queues with a seamless transition into the appropriate knowledge area of the agent. This approach allows for a uniquely flexible blend of sensible and controlled session assignment to either conversational AI or live agent support based on the context of each session.

Once directed to the Automated Agent, it can begin the conversation with the customer’s context in hand, and provide a quick and effective support experience. If it’s a simple issue, the Automated Agent can complete the entire support conversation without a live agent’s involvement.

If the Automated Agent is unable to resolve the issue, it can intelligently route customers to the appropriate live agent, passing any new data along, eliminating the need for customers to repeat the issue.

For issues that can be solved quickly and easily, agents have the option to transfer customers to an Automated Agent to find the solution, like updating customer information. This will minimize the time agents have to spend on repetitive tasks before moving to the next customer. The Automated Agent can take over the conversation and with NLP or chat, update the relevant information and close the issue.

These are just two examples of how UJET’s Automated Agent will function on the platform. With more data or additional automated business process flows enabled, the Automated Agent will be able to complete more issues with greater accuracy.

Bring Your Own Bot

Our Automated Agent development isn’t only focusing on the end user experience. We are aware that developing an Automated Agent can be a large development cost. This is why we will offer the Automated Agent as a part of the UJET platform.

Companies who already have a chatbot, can integrate it into the UJET platform out of the box. The UJET platform is bot agnostic and we don’t want to impose limitations for customer support. The goal is to have a common standard on the platform and offer easy integration.

More to Come

UJET’s Automated Agent is currently in a closed beta and we will be announcing more information as we get closer to launch. We see a large benefit for companies exploring automated solutions.

Agents have limited time to address all customer support issues and fast resolution is important. Routing simple issues to the Automated Agent will give agents more time to resolve complex problems and lead to higher satisfaction from all customers.

Request a DEMO