‘Tis [almost] the Season: Prepare Your CX Team for the Holiday Madness with Bots

By Elaina Ransford

When it comes to revenue, the holiday season is a retailer’s best time of year. But when it comes to being a customer service agent or manager, the holidays come with a different kind of present: an influx of tickets from stressed out, impatient customers, desperate to receive their items by the holiday deadline.

Many retailers prepare for this period by hiring seasonal contractors to patch over the uptick in ticket traffic. Others do their best to deflect tickets with highly visible, seasonal-specific FAQ sections. Neither of these options is perfect, though: hiring contractors is expensive, and relying on ticket deflection alone can be insufficient.

This year, though, there’s another option: making customers and agents happy by using bots to enhance support operations.  

The Greatest Gift Your Team Could Ask For: Custom Holiday Bots

Custom bots allow e-retailers to create custom dialogue and workflows that are seasonal specific. 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. Even brands that have holiday-specific FAQs still end up getting contacted by customers who want to ensure that their presents will arrive by the holidays. A custom bot workflow for this precise shipping question reassures customers while saving agents’ time.

Beginner's Guide to Bots

For instance, in a customer service messaging interaction, after the user types in a question about shipping (which is immediately auto-categorized by an AI engine that parses the text), the custom bot could ask “Is this about an item you already purchased?”

Customers would then be led down one of two paths: either an integration with the shipping provider for the customer to track the package, or a self-service route with information on expedited shipping options, guaranteed arrival times, requirements for time of day that a purchase must be made in order for it to adhere to the guaranteed arrival time, etc.

Additionally, custom bots can include “escapes” for users to chat with an agent at any point. The flow from bot to agent and even back to bot again helps expedite the ticket while still giving the customer a tailored experience. For instance, say that a customer selects “Return an Item” as the category for their question, but then tells the bot they want to “Get a return slip for an item purchased as a gift.”

Because the customer did not select “Include a gift receipt” in the original order, this ad-hoc request will need to be transferred to an agent. The agent can seamlessly enter the conversation, provide a solution, and then invoke a new bot for the customer to input the order number and email for the gift receipt. By sending the customer back to a bot, the agent saves time without sacrificing the customer experience. The conversation is seamless from bot to agent and back again.

Bring Back the Holiday Spirit With Customized Dialogue

Small touches in customer service can majorly set brands apart during the stressful and chaotic holiday season. Give your chatbots a touch of holiday cheer for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and the New Year by integrating holiday spirit into their dialogue. This can be as simple as having the bot say “Happy Turkey Day! What can I help you with today?” or “Don’t worry, your order didn’t get gobbled up!”

Custom dialogue makes the conversation feel timely, personalized, and human. 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.”

Give Back to Your Customers And Your Agents This Holiday Season

Creating a custom bot can take mere minutes, but ends up saving your agents and customers hundreds of hours throughout the season. Use this capability of dynamic automation to make the holidays a time of cheer, relaxation, and giving. After all, that’s what the holiday spirit is all about.

Learn more about how to easily implement bots with this getting started guide

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