Chatbot Integration: Enhancing Self-Service Options & Efficiency In Contact Centers

Today, people expect instant gratification. For almost a decade now, chatbot integration in contact centers helped meet those expectations. In fact, 90% of businesses saw faster complaint resolution, thanks to chatbots.

So if you haven’t integrated chatbots into your contact center yet, then it is high time you do. To help you with it, we prepared this guide. We will discuss different ways you can put chatbots to use. We will also break down the step-by-step process of implementing them and look at the 3 best tools for the job.

What Is Chatbot Integration

Chatbot integration refers to connecting your chatbot with other platforms and applications to improve how it functions. This lets the chatbot access and exchange information with other tools you use, making it more powerful and versatile.

A diagram of different types of chat bots

Before we discuss chatbot integration in detail, let’s take a quick look at different chatbot types. Knowing this will make integrating them into your system a whole lot smoother.

  • Menu-Based or Button-Based Chatbots: You give users buttons for common questions and they click their way to the answer. Simple but good for FAQs.
  • Keyword Recognition-Based Chatbots: This chatbot recognizes specific words and phrases. Works well for basic, to-the-point questions.
  • Rule-Based Chatbots: This one follows a script. You set up rules for what questions it can answer and what information it can give. Great for handling predictable requests.
  • Contextual Chatbots (Intelligent Chatbots): This chatbot uses machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) for advanced understanding. It can handle more complex questions and learn as it interacts with people.
  • Hybrid Chatbots: This hybrid chatbot combines elements of different chatbot types. It can answer simple questions with menus or keywords and use AI chatbot for complex ones.
  • Voice-Enabled Chatbots: This chatbot uses voice recognition to respond to spoken questions. Perfect for hands-free interaction, like using a smart speaker.

10 Chatbot Integration Use Cases: Optimizing Contact Center Operations

Read and take note of how you can use chatbots to perform different functions.

1. Basic Inquiries

Customers often have basic questions about your company, products, or services. Chatbots can be programmed to answer these questions instantly, 24/7. They understand the customer queries and search a knowledge base for the answer.

This frees up your customer service team to handle more complex issues and provide personalized support. Happy customers get the answers they need quickly, and your agents can focus on what they do best.

However, even with chatbots, there will still be situations that require a human touch. Here’s where you should partner with a talent-sourcing firm like Genius. They can connect you with elite and highly trained agents to handle complex inquiries and overflow calls. This ensures your customers always receive the best possible service.

For instance, an eCommerce store can use a chatbot to answer customer queries like:

  • What are your delivery timings?
  • Do you offer a return policy?
  • How can I contact customer support?

These basic inquiries are common among online shoppers, and having a chatbot handle them efficiently can enhance the customer experience.

2. Order Status & Tracking

“Where’s my order?” It is a common question that can tie up your agents’ time. Chatbots can be integrated with your order management system. So when a customer inquires, the chatbot can access order details and provide real-time updates. It lets customers to:

  • Track their order status in real-time
  • Get estimated delivery dates
  • Access return and exchange information

This way, customers stay informed without having to contact your team. It reduces call volume and frees up agents for other pressing matters. Plus, customers get the convenience of having this information readily available.

Let’s see how a sports nutrition supplements company can use a chatbot. These supplements are part of a fitness routine and the customers are always eager to track their delivery so they can use them at the right time in their regimen.

Plus, for a company that primarily sells directly through its website, a chatbot is a natural fit for customer support within its online ecosystem.

Customers can initiate a chat with their chatbot and be prompted to enter their order number or email address. The chatbot can then securely access the company’s order database and retrieve the current status.

Based on the order status, the chatbot can provide information like “shipped,” “out for delivery,” or “estimated arrival date.” The company can integrate the chatbot with the carrier’s API to provide a real-time tracking link.

3. Appointment Scheduling

Chatbot integrations can end countless phone calls and back-and-forth emails for appointments. You can integrate the chatbot with your scheduling system which lets customers:

  • Book appointments 24/7, at their convenience
  • View available slots with specific team members
  • Reschedule or cancel appointments easily

Here’s how it works: A customer wants to book an appointment. They chat with the chatbot, which gives them available time slots based on their needs and your team’s schedule. With a few clicks, the appointment is confirmed.

This benefits everyone. Customers get the appointments they need quickly and easily, even outside of business hours. Your team avoids phone tag and scheduling headaches.

For instance, consider a in-home medical spa services provider. Compared to a simple product order, scheduling a medical spa appointment includes several factors like treatment type, practitioner availability, and client suitability. A chatbot can efficiently handle these complexities.

Plus, chatbots provide a non-judgmental and anonymous initial touchpoint for booking consultations. This can help overcome any stigma associated with seeking medical spa treatments.

The company can embed the chatbot on its website. Users can choose their desired service through a selection process – e.g., Botox, fillers, IV therapy. It can integrate with the calendar system to display available appointment slots for different practitioners.

The chatbot can then walk users through the scheduling process, capturing their information and confirming the appointment. It can send automated appointment reminders via SMS or email to improve attendance and reduce no-shows. The chatbot can also ask pre-screening questions for the chosen service to ensure a smoother in-person experience.

4. Troubleshooting & Technical Support

Technical problems can be frustrating for customers. Chatbots can be your first line of defense as they can handle basic troubleshooting steps and solutions. First, the chatbot asks the customer a series of questions to understand the issue. Based on the answers, it can:

  • Guide users through step-by-step solutions
  • Offer relevant knowledge base articles and FAQs
  • Direct complex issues to human agents

Chatbot software can also collect data during these user interactions. This helps identify common issues and improve your products or services for increased customer satisfaction.

Let’s see how a company selling playhouses and DIY kits can use chatbots for troubleshooting. Playhouses, especially DIY kits, have complex assembly instructions. You need technical support for troubleshooting during the building process.

The company can also benefit from chatbots during holidays when the demand for playhouses spikes. It can provide consistent support during these peak seasons when human customer service might not be available.

Now the company can integrate a chatbot into its website to answer FAQs related to playhouse assembly. Customers can get quick answers to common questions about missing parts, unclear instructions, or specific assembly steps.

The chatbot can also offer step-by-step assembly guides or video tutorials directly within the chat window. Plus, the chatbot can add images or short video clips into its responses to visually show assembly processes or troubleshooting steps.

5. Billing & Payments

The chatbot app can be your customer’s one-stop shop for billing and payments. It can be integrated with your billing system, letting customers:

  • Update payment methods
  • Understand charges easily
  • Access current bills and payment history
  • Make secure payments using saved methods

This streamlines the billing process for everyone. Customers get instant answers and can manage their bills on their own time. Your customer support team is freed from repetitive billing inquiries.

Take a custom meal plan generator app, for example, that operates on a subscription model where billing and payments are recurring. This can increase the load on the customer support team heavily. If the company also offers a free trial, users can have many questions about charges or cancellations before committing to a paid subscription.

The chatbot can be programmed to identify users nearing the end of their subscription period. It can inform them about renewal options or even introduce them to higher-tier plans with additional features.

The company can integrate the chatbot with its billing system. It will access and share a user’s recent payment history (amount, date) upon verification (e.g., last 4 digits of credit card used).

Chatbots can also provide a secure link within the chat window. This link will take users directly to a payment portal where they can update their billing information or make overdue payments.

Users can also upgrade or downgrade their subscription plans through the chatbot. It can also be used to promote special offers or discounts on subscriptions and guide them on applying those at checkout.

6. Product Information & Recommendations

Customers bombarded with generic information often struggle to find the right product. Chatbots can be trained to understand customer needs and preferences based on user inputs. This means:

  • Chatbots can answer specific product questions in real-time.
  • Customers can access product information sheets and reviews directly in the chat app.
  • They can offer personalized product recommendations based on past purchases and browsing history.

This personalized approach helps customers make informed decisions and improves their overall shopping experience. Chatbots can also upsell and cross-sell relevant products which increases your sales potential.

Let’s consider the example of an independent review site for medical alert systems. These systems are complex products. Effectively managing and delivering this information to customers can be difficult. With so many options to choose from, the review and recommendation process for medical alert systems can be overwhelming.

The chatbot can act as a virtual shopping assistant. It would first collect user input – like budget, specific needs like fall detection, or medication reminders. The chatbot can then recommend relevant medical alert systems with key feature comparisons.

The chatbot can learn about a user’s situation to suggest specific medical alert systems. It can also show medical alert systems with voice activation or waterproof pendants, which can be useful for people with specific needs.

7. Feedback & Surveys

Traditional methods of getting customer feedback can be a hassle. Chatbots ease this process and encourage more participation. After an interaction, the chatbot can connect with the customer and ask for feedback through a quick survey. It can use simple questions and multiple-choice options, making it easy for customers to share their thoughts.

This has many benefits:

  • You can reach customers who wouldn’t normally fill out a traditional survey.
  • Customers can provide feedback in real-time while the experience is still fresh in their minds.
  • Chatbot surveys increase your response rate and collect valuable data on customer satisfaction.
  • You can connect the chatbot with popular platforms like Facebook Messenger so you can collect feedback directly where your customers interact with you.

Let’s see how a flight deals platform with a large user base can use chatbots for feedback and surveys. The frequent interactions can overwhelm its customer service team. Also, flight deal algorithms rely heavily on data and user preferences. Chatbot feedback improves the company’s deals and gives personalized trip recommendations.

After a user completes a trip booked through the platform, the chatbot can initiate a brief post-trip survey. This can gather feedback on the flight experience, deal quality, and overall satisfaction with the service. For premium members, the chatbot can conduct periodic surveys to gauge satisfaction.

The company can add an option for open-ended feedback within the chat window. This lets users express their experiences in more detail.

8. Language Support

One of the challenges contact centers face is providing support in multiple languages. The chatbot translates all communication for a clear understanding for both the customer and your team.

For instance, consider an online platform for auto spare parts. The chatbot can automatically detect the user’s preferred language based on their browser settings or IP address. For languages the chatbot doesn’t support, the company can integrate a translation service. While not perfect, it can help with basic communication.

9. Account Management

Customers shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to manage their accounts. Chatbots can be a self-service hub that puts account information and options at your customers’ fingertips. You can integrate them with your account management system so the customers can:

  • View account details like profile information and purchase history
  • Update basic information like passwords and contact preferences
  • Access self-service options for tasks like downloading invoices or managing subscriptions

10. Escalation To Human Agents

Chatbots are great for handling routine inquiries and simple transactions. But there are times when customers need to speak with a human agent for more complex issues or personalized help.

With escalation capabilities, the chatbot can decide when a customer’s query is too hard or when they just want to talk to a human. The chatbot can then transfer the conversation to a live agent, along with relevant context and information so they don’t have to repeat themselves or start over from scratch.

Let’s consider a digital products marketplace. Now these digital products can be difficult to understand. They can require technical aspects or troubleshooting steps that a basic chatbot might not be equipped to handle.

Especially if it operates as a marketplace. Digital products’ quality and legitimacy depend on the seller. Human agents can provide trust and handle customer concerns more easily.

The chatbot can be programmed to identify keywords or phrases in user queries. It can also analyze user sentiment through word choice and tone. If the user expresses frustration or dissatisfaction, it could be a good time to escalate the issue to a human agent.

Implementing Chatbot Integration In Contact Centers: An 8-Step Process

Let’s look at how chatbots can be integrated into your contact center operations. We will break down the integration process into 8 steps that are easy to follow.

I. Assess Current Systems & Processes

You need to understand how your contact center functions before adding a chatbot. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Make a list of all the software and systems your contact center uses. This includes your CRM system, ticketing platform, and any self-service tools you have.
  • Trace the typical path a customer takes when contacting your center. Identify common pain points and areas where interactions get delayed.
  • Look at your call logs to see what questions and requests agents handle most frequently. This will help identify tasks the chatbot can automate.
  • Once you have a clear picture of your current setup, look for areas where a chatbot can add value. Are there repetitive tasks that free up agents for more complex issues?
  • Add chatbots on sidebars to provide easy access to customers browsing your site. You can refer to this guide on sidebars to know more about them.

II. Define Chatbot Objectives & Scope

Now define what you want your chatbot to do.

  • Make your goals SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Do you want to reduce call volume by 20% in 3 months? Increase customer satisfaction with faster issue resolution?
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  • Don’t try to turn your chatbot into a jack-of-all-trades. Identify a defined set of tasks it will handle. It could be answering FAQs, resetting passwords, or scheduling appointments.
  • Outline escalation strategy. What happens when the chatbot reaches its limits? Will it transfer complex issues to live agents or offer clear instructions on how to reach them?

III. Select A Chatbot Platform

Your chatbot platform determines how well your bot understands customer inquiries and responds to them. Here’s what to consider when choosing one:

  • The platform shouldn’t require complex coding knowledge. Look for user-friendly interfaces that let you build and manage bot responses easily.
  • Does the platform offer the features you need? This includes building conversation flows and integrating with your existing systems.
  • Can the platform handle your current and future needs? Consider factors like chatbot user volume and the potential for adding more functionalities later.
  • Make sure the platform has advanced security measures in place to protect customer data.

IV. Design Chatbot Conversation Flows

This is where you map out the conversation your chatbot will have with customers. Think of it like a script but with multiple branches depending on user choices.

  • Start with basic greetings, understanding customer intent, and offering solutions to FAQs.
  • Create different conversation paths based on what users might ask or need.
  • Create clear bot responses. Write natural-sounding messages that are easy to understand.
  • Train your bot to recognize positive, negative, or neutral customer sentiment in their messages.
  • Build in options for situations where the bot doesn’t understand the customer’s request.

V. Integrate Chatbot With CRM & Other Systems

The chatbot needs access to the same information your agents use.

  • CRM is where your customer data lives – names, contact information, past interactions. Integrate your chatbot with your CRM so it can personalize responses and offer relevant solutions.
  • Your chatbot won’t know everything but it can point customers in the right direction. Integrate it with your knowledge base – a library of self-service articles and FAQs – so customers can find answers on their own.
  • Integrate the chatbot with the ticketing system so it can create and manage tickets. This ensures all customer interactions are documented and tracked centrally.
  • Sometimes chatbot conversations need human intervention. Integrate a smooth handover process where live agents can pick up the conversation with full context.

VI. Test Chatbot Functionality

Just like training a new employee, you need to put your chatbot through its paces before using it on real customers.

  • Gather a team from different departments to test the chatbot. Simulate real-world customer interactions and see how the chatbot handles them.
  • During testing, pay close attention to areas where the chatbot struggles. It might misunderstand user intent or provide inaccurate information. Refine conversation flows and bot responses to address these weaknesses.
  • Once you have addressed internal feedback, run a pilot program with a small group of real customers before full deployment. Their insights will help you identify and fix any issues before the full launch.

VII. Train Contact Center Staff On Chatbot Use

Your chatbot is a valuable tool but it won’t work miracles. Here’s how to ensure your agents make the most of it:

  • Educate agents on what the chatbot can and can’t do.
  • Let agents interact with the chatbot themselves.
  • Run simulations where agents take over conversations from the chatbot.
  • Show agents how to access chatbot performance data and identify areas for improvement.
  • Be clear with your agents about how the chatbot impacts their role.

VIII. Launch Chatbot & Monitor Performance

Launch your chatbot and keep a close eye on how it performs. Here’s what to watch:

  • Actively collect feedback from customers who interact with the chatbot through surveys or quick prompts after a chat session.
  • Monitor customer satisfaction scores, chat resolution rates, call deflection rates, and the number of escalations to live agents.
  • Continue to refine your chatbot conversations and functionalities. A/B test different approaches to see what works best for your customers.

3 Best Chatbot Platforms For Maximizing Contact Center Efficiency

Now comes the question: which platform is the best fit? Here’s a look at 3 chatbot platforms known for maximizing contact center efficiency.

Netomi

Netomi is an AI-powered chatbot that reduces customer wait times and improves satisfaction. Here’s what makes Netomi stand out:

  • Build conversation flows visually with a simple drag-and-drop interface. No coding knowledge is required.
  • Use Netomi’s library of pre-built conversation templates for common customer service scenarios.
  • Netomi’s chatbot learns and improves over time. It analyzes interactions to identify patterns and suggest improvements to responses.
  • Netomi integrates with different communication channels like live chat, SMS, and social media. Customers can interact with your chatbot wherever they are most comfortable.

Pricing

Available on demand.

Intercom

Intercom started as a customer messaging platform and has now added AI chatbot capabilities. Here’s what makes it stand out:

  • Intercom lets you build relationships with customers through targeted messaging and proactive outreach.
  • Intercom’s chatbot can qualify leads by asking questions and routing them to the sales representative.
  • Intercom integrates live chat, email, and social media messaging into a single platform. Your agents can manage all customer interactions from one place.
  • Intercom uses customer data to personalize chatbot interactions. The chatbot can greet customers by name and reference past interactions for a more natural experience.

Pricing

$0.99/resolution.

Chatfuel

Chatfuel lets you design chatbots for Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and your website using a visual interface. The key features are:

  • Broadcast messages to specific customer segments to promote new products or share updates.
  • With Chatfuel, you can build chatbots to converse in multiple languages with your global customer base.
  • Chatfuel’s user-friendly interface lets you design conversation flows visually. Just drag and drop elements to build your chatbot’s responses.

Pricing

Starts at $14.99.

Conclusion

Chatbot integration offers a powerful one-two punch. Remember, they are here to augment human interaction; not to replace them. The future of contact centers is a future where chatbots and human agents work together. You simply can’t afford not to use this powerful tool.

Picture of Burkhard Berger

Burkhard Berger

Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. He helps innovative B2B companies implement modern SEO strategies to scale their organic traffic to 1,000,000+ visitors per month.

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