• August 5, 2021
  • By Michael Vickers, executive director, Rainmaker Digital Solutions and Summit Learning Systems

Chatbots Can Turbo-Charge Your CRM

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No doubt about it, AI-powered chatbots will take virtual agents to a new level of customer engagement. The technology isn’t perfect, but whether you take a crawl, walk, or run approach to it, you can significantly improve productivity, customer engagement, and responsiveness.

As companies try to figure out the right approach to implementing a CRM-integrated chatbot, artificial intelligence is advancing exponentially and will ultimately be a part of any strategy you adopt.  

Chatbots Are Not Just the Latest Thing

With customer service and sales leaders looking to improve the customer experience continuously, the chatbot race is on, and there are many things to consider before implementing your chatbot strategy.

Major brands are removing sales and service email channels and replacing them with chatbots across multiple platforms. According to Forrester Research, companies rely less on email and opt for real-time, two-way conversations to engage customers, lower costs, and expedite resolutions.

Currently, customers realize that chatbots have limitations. Still, with more customer interactions, developers will smooth out the kinks by augmenting automated conversations with human ones at critical moments in the sales and service journeys.

Benefits of a Well-Designed and Integrated CRM Chatbot

Below is a partial list of how chatbots can add value to you organization—and as you’ll see, it’s a lot.

Automate your FAQs. You don’t need to make your customers wait for an answer. You can reply instantly 24/7 to all frequently asked questions from your customers.

Provide real-time replies. Chatbots can respond instantly to customer inquiries and save them time browsing FAQ pages, which can often be cumbersome. Maybe your customers will eventually stumble on the answers they are looking for, but why rely on chance when you can provide correct answers faster and more accurately with bots?

Offer round-the-clock support. Because chatbots never sleep, you can provide support globally without the expense of shift workers and other employee issues.

Collect feedback, reviews, and surveys. Chatbots are quick and effective at collecting relevant feedback for your product or service, which can be used to improve the customer experience.

Improve accuracy and lower wait time. Your chatbot doesn’t make mistakes when recording customer input. Providing zero wait time improves your conversion rate by reducing the likelihood that your customer changes their mind.

Chat with customers where they are. Conversations can link directly to your company’s Facebook page and allow you to field incoming messages using the unified inbox. Now you can support all customers from one place, whether their inquiry came from email, webchat, or Facebook Messenger.

Make your support team more effective. Give customers the support they want—when and where they need it. When your team can update fields and tags so that every contact’s entire history is at their fingertips, it’s easy to provide a fantastic support experience to every customer.

Automate data collection and management. An integrated CRM chatbot can welcome your customers and identify the issues before your rep engages with the customer. Insights and details from the customer are automatically entered into your CRM, and important customer data can be delivered to the rep and customer in real-time.

Improve accuracy and efficiency. A well-deployed chatbot can improve speed, accuracy, and your responses’ relevancy. These AI-powered tools can also reduce the rep’s time and errors and help build a healthier relationship with the customer.

Reduce employee costs by leveraging technology. Implementing an intelligent chatbot strategy for your sales and service teams can dramatically reduce your custom CRM development. With a myriad of chatbot solutions to choose from, you don’t have to develop one yourself, and most can be integrated with just a small-time commitment. 

Optimize the customer relationship. A major advantage of a chatbot is that it can provide clarity and a sense of direction for the customer experience. Implementing it successfully means understanding the customer journey.

With all these benefits, companies looking to level up their customer service and sales experiences should consider adding CRM chatbots to the mix. The key to employing this technology is to adopt a slow and methodical approach to it and pick simple processes to start with.

Chatbot technology isn’t going to replace your existing sales and service support anytime soon and probably never will. After all, leaving the entire process and experience up to the customer might not be a good idea. The future of AI and natural language processing systems will entail these solutions working with your contact center agents and not replacing them.

Michael Vickers is the executive director of Summit Learning Systems and the author of Becoming Preferred: How to Outsell Your Competition.

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