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How to Introduce AI Chatbots and Keep Your Agents Happy

Mark Oppermann | Head of Sales and Marketing

With the rising popularity of AI chatbots, and as more and more businesses look to adopt this new technology, some anxieties may exist especially when it comes to agents and the perception that chatbots should be seen as a foe and not a friend and something to fear. But that should not be the case.

We have talked a lot about the benefits of conversational AI and messaging with automation and AI chatbot engagement, but in this post, I will focus on how to introduce chatbots and automation to your agents and deliver a win-win for everyone.

Introducing automation into the business can present many challenges, especially with existing employees. When chatbots came crashing into our world, there was a bit of hysteria that ‘the robots are going to taking our jobs’. Agents will be concerned with how these automated chatbots will affect their jobs, and what the apparent personal benefit will be. But many of these concerns have not been borne out as customers still like to deal with humans.

So, the business has decided to move with the times and introduce new technology in the form of messaging, AI chatbots, automation and machine learning. An exciting time for the business and the success of any technology implementation is getting buy-in from the team that is working at the coalface. But how do you go about successfully deploying this new technology and ensure that agents are just as excited about chatbots as the business is?

Bring Agents on the journey too

Getting ahead of the news will only serve to positively impact buy-in. Bring agents into the planning phases and get their thoughts and feedback.  This will only serve to deliver a stronger solution but also get buy-in earlier and alleviate many concerns.  

Champions for change

One of the most important points to note is that innovation needs a champion to not only nurture it but be committed to standing up for it. Of course, there will be those ‘Innovation Assassins’ that will see the change in a negative light, but with an ‘Innovation Champion’ armed with the right tools, communication, education and the ability to evidence success you are in a better position to win these guys over.

Removing the fear factor of chatbot engagement 

Setting the right tone and getting the right message out to agents is crucial.  Highlight the benefits and clearly lay out how these benefits will impact agents in their roles. If inbound call volumes are reduced by adding AI chatbots and automation and customers are now engaging via messaging, pressure on agents is dramatically reduced.  The ability to engage more efficiently and have more time to deal with customers who have specialised needs is now a reality.  

Highlight the Opportunities to become more specialised

As chatbot technology progresses, debt collection chatbots will be able to perform more and more tasks. And as this happens, agents have the opportunity to do more specialized tasks that cannot be performed by an AI-chatbot.  This is a great opportunity to improve customer experience as agents become more skilled and can help customers that need it, rather than dealing with low value, repetitive interactions. 

Make the experience fun  

Bring an element of excitement into this new phase for the business and the team. Whether that is having kick-off cupcakes delivered, having a team competition about what your chatbot will be called, it doesn’t matter.  Having positive experiences is a really good way to keep the spirits up.  

Highlight the metrics you are looking to move  

Ensure that you have identified and communicated the key measurements of success that you will be tracking.  Have these front and centre especially on 'Go Live' day is key.  So as soon as you start seeing your metrics shift the sense of achievement for the team will be fantastic.  

During Covid, one of our clients went live with their conversational messaging project using automated chatbot engagement to assist them to manage the huge spikes in inbound calls, on the morning of go-live inbound calls were slashed and customer engagement shifted to messaging. Agents felt the positive benefit of their chatbots immediately.  They were won over!

As conversational technology progresses, debt collection chatbots will be able to perform more and more tasks. But Artificial intelligence and natural language understanding have come a long way. But never forget that 100% automation should never be your goal.  Getting this message across to agents that they are the heart of customer engagement for the business will ensure that they love their new virtual teammates.

 

 

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