Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, advances in technology have helped companies work smarter – more productively, more efficiently, and more profitably. That reality has been no less the case when it comes to customer service. In the 1920s, department stores included customer service departments, and order-by-mail products began including user manuals – all designed to create happy customers.
Since then, customer service technology has continued to evolve in profound ways – largely through automation. Arguably, the best example of this today is chat software.
What is chat software?
Chat software is a technology that facilitates conversations between customers and your website or native apps via SMS in real-time. It enables you to provide a high level of personalized customer service that, depending on the scenario, may or may not require human support.
Chatbots vs. live chat
Chatbots allow you to automate replies by mimicking natural live conversations. By anticipating customer needs and the various scenarios that would prompt a customer to reach out, chatbots can respond to customer inquiries with high levels of efficiency – thus precluding the need for you to have a live customer service representative on the line. Live chat, on the other hand, does involve a customer service agent who interacts with customers on the chat platform in real-time.
These days, most consumers are familiar with both chat options, and companies have made it an easy and prominent option on their online customer service pages. “How can I help?” icons are often found in the corner of the page or might even pop up, offering to engage with the customer.
The key benefits of chat software for your customers
- Increase opportunities to engage with your customers: When it comes to customer service, chat technology has a range of benefits. To start, chat allows you to scale conversations, that is, to talk to multiple customers at the same time, an online efficiency that obviously is not possible with traditional, phone-based customer service.
- Give customers a “self-service” option: Chat technology also provides high levels of service, saving time for both customers and customer service reps alike. Automating conversations saves companies time and money, especially with the prospect of customers getting what they want more quickly.
- Improve engagement on your platforms utilizing chat software: Chat software is another way to engage with your customers in a meaningful, helpful way. As brands look to enhance their omnichannel customer strategies, offering chat support on a variety of platforms can go a long way toward improving your customers’ experiences with your brand and, more importantly, toward your customer retention goals.
Twilio Conversations API
Of course, not all chat software is alike. Terazo, for example, has been proud to partner with one of the nation’s premier providers of chat technology – Twilio. Twilio’s API and trusted chat platform, Conversations, provide best-in-class performance that seamlessly powers conversational workflows on both native apps and websites. Among its various features, Twilio also provides cloud-based archives where you can access your message history as well as data analysis that lets you personalize conversations with customers.
Designing a chat solution that delivers
Twilio’s chat platform is not a one-size-fits-all product, and Terazo works with our customers to determine how to best customize the software in order to provide the best user experience for your customers. We start by working closely with clients to envision the various scenarios that a chatbot will most likely encounter. From there, we develop decision trees and scripts in a conversational tone and language that customers relate to, and within as little as two weeks, we can have in place a working model that is ready for Beta testing. Then it’s a matter of adding more sophistication and nuance until we have a high level of confidence that we’ve anticipated and prepared for almost every circumstance behind a customer inquiry.
Among the foremost considerations when employing chat software are two key elements: comprehensiveness and flexibility. Ask enough questions to be certain that the chat platform you are considering covers the full range of possibilities and functionality that you will need. At the same time, ensure that the software has sufficient underlying flexibility so that it can be tailored to meet your needs exactly. Terazo can provide expert guidance as you make these determinations.
Customers are becoming more and more comfortable with chatbots, especially as they have proven to have the logic, intelligence, and problem-solving tools that can enhance the user experience. Given their growing importance as part of the front door to your company, not to mention their role in helping forge your reputation with customers, it’s critical that your chat functionality operates at the highest level.