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Building a custom chatbot or voice assistant certainly means that your employees will spend less time answering calls, providing routine customer support, scheduling appointments, or whatever other mundane tasks for which you’ve designed your bot. It does not, however, mean taking human involvement completely out of the equation.

The optimal strategy for most business is to integrate bots into the workforce. No matter how much artificial intelligence we can pack into a bot, there’s always going to be times when a human being needs to take over the conversation.

In this article, we’re going to go over when your bots should hand over a conversation to an employee and how to go about that transition.

The Situations

Though there are a wide variety of situations that may necessitate a bot to transition control of the conversation to a human, there are a few common ones that most organizations experience.

The first of these is called triage. When a customer contacts your support center, the bot can collect simple information before handing off the call to an employee. By using the bot to ask questions like the customer’s name, address, and account number, we free up our employee’s time to actually solve the problem and provide more comprehensive support. In this case, we always begin our conversation with a bot and transition to a human.

The second situation is the escalation. While a bot may be able to answer certain questions and follow simple commands, human beings are unpredictable and full of complexities. Simply put, there are certain situations that a bot won’t be able to understand. Once a bot recognizes that a user’s question or issue is beyond its scope, it will escalate the conversation to a human employee.

For instance, if the bot receives an input that it doesn’t understand a certain number of times, it may automatically ask for human assistance. Perhaps if it doesn’t understand a user three times in a row, then it’ll let that user know that a human employee is coming to their aid. This prevents users from getting stuck in frustrating loops that they don’t know how to escape. By using well-designed artificial intelligent in other scenarios, w the bot can track the user’s sentiment to alert the human escalation well before things get heated, thus salvaging an otherwise negative customer experience.

The third and final situation involves user-driven menus. When a customer contacts us, the bot may provide them with a menu of options from which to choose. Some of these, especially the simplest ones, may be handled by the bot, whereas others may require human support. We can simply program the bot to transfer certain options to humans.

If the user just wants to know our store hours, for example, then the bot can easily take care of the situation. However, if they want to contact a service representative about a detailed question, then the bot will transfer them to the proper individual.

The Transition

Once the bot decides to transfer the conversation over to a human being, we want to make this transition period as smooth and seamless as possible. First, the bot should let the user know that it’s transferring them over and put the conversation into a ‘waiting state’ until the live agent is available.

During this period, we can either allow the user to continue interacting with the bot by presenting them with a menu of options, or we can simply command the bot to respond with something along the lines of “Waiting in the queue for a live agent.” We also need to make sure to give the user the option to leave the ‘waiting state’ by saying something like ‘cancel’ or ‘never mind.’

Once our human employee becomes available, they connect to the bot and join the conversation. It’s important to keep in mind that the user and the agent are not actually in direct communication with each other. Rather, they’re simply routing messages through the bot, meaning that the bot remains behind-the-scenes throughout the whole conversation.

This allows the bot to easily take over the conversation again once the human’s services are no longer necessary, and it also gives the bot an opportunity to learn from the conversation. Since most bots feature advanced machine-learning technology, allowing our bots to watch human-on-human interactions enables them to become more human-like and thus more efficient.

Conclusion

The easiest way to think about integrating bots into your workforce is to think about them like interns. Their time is much less costly than that of regular employees, yet they also don’t have all the capabilities and knowledge of a full-fledged worker. They may answer the phone, collect basic information, or do any number of other simple tasks that are ‘below’ the rest of your employees.

The main difference, of course, is that bots can multitask to an extent beyond any human being.

Of course, the applications and optimal bot integration methods are different for each unique company. Contact BotVeu to schedule a free consultation call and learn more about how AI solutions can work for your organization.


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