The Only Tree You Need This Year is a Decision Tree: How to Leverage Bots During the Holidays

By Elaina Ransford

The holidays are notoriously the busiest, most stressful time of year for customer service teams. Not only do November, December, and January usher in a huge uptick in ticket volume, but the holiday season also brings stressed out, time-crunched customers who would rather do almost anything than speak with customer service. Because of this, it’s imperative both for agents and customers that the customer service workflow be as efficient and seamless as possible. This year, that means leveraging the latest technology  like decision tree-based bots to automate and expedite resolutions.

How to Use Decision-Tree Based Bots to Give Your Customers the Gift of Excellent Customer Service

Decision-tree bots lead customers down a series of triggered responses based on either NLP or menu options. For instance, a bot could say “What category best describes your issues today?” and present options for “Shipping,” “Payment,” “Login,” or “Other”. Based on the user’s choice, the bot automatically responds with an appropriate message or next step.

These bots can be used for simple information collection, intelligent routing to the agent best equipped for a particular issue, FAQ/knowledge base article suggestion, CSAT collection, or all of the above. Because they automate much of the rote work that agents do, they save time for customers and agents and ensure the most efficient possible route to resolution. In fact, a 2017 Helpshift Holiday Season study showed that online-only brands that leveraged automation were able to process 129 percent more requests with just 25 percent more agents, and decrease time to resolution by 15 percent during the holiday season. These numbers can improve exponentially by adding bots to the mix moving forward.

Decision-tree bots seamlessly integrate with live agent interactions so that customers are guaranteed human help if they want/need it. This also allows for escalation to an agent wherein aspects of an interaction, such as information collection, are automated, but the resolution itself is handled by an agent. The back and forth handoff between agent and bot occurs seamlessly in the messaging interface, for a frictionless customer experience. As with all automated customer service interactions, it’s important to have accessible escape hatches to live conversations for customers who cannot or do not wish to get resolution through a bot-based interaction.

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Give Seasonal-Specific Custom Bots Extra Holiday Cheer

In addition to standard bots for all seasons, companies can also leverage decision tree bots created specifically for holiday-related FAQs. For instance, in late December there’s typically a high volume of tickets related to shipping speed and guaranteed arrival by the 24th or other holiday deadlines. After a customer chooses “Shipping” as their ticket category, a custom holiday bot could say “Are you asking about guaranteed shipping by the 24th?” and lead customers through a self-service route with information on expedited shipping options, guaranteed arrival times, and requirements for time of day that a purchase must be made in order for it to adhere to the guaranteed arrival time.

Custom bots can also be built with holiday-specific language to give the interaction some cheer and levity. For instance, if a user selected “Shipping” as the ticket category, the bot could say “Our elves are hard at work wrapping and preparing your order. Which option best describes the issue you’re having with shipping?” Including some cute and cheery language helps customers feel like the interaction is personalized. After all, 12 percent of bots on Messenger are asked to tell a joke or an amusing story, and a Forrester survey found that people want their chatbots to be “polite, caring, intelligent, and funny.”

The Best Present For Your Customers And Agents: a Decision Tree

Help your agents and customers minimize holiday stress by integrating the best of 2018/2019 CX technology. Make this holiday season one of relaxation, good spirits, and friends and family — not stress over travel, presents, or timing.

To learn about the how bots improve workflow optimization within the retail industry, check out our blog post here or contact us to learn more.

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