As with all technologies – whether Facebook marketing, machine learning, MS Word or even stone tablets – there are use cases where that particular technology makes sense for that particular problem. Then there are many many more where the technology and use case don’t match.

This short post describes the questions you can use to determine if a chatbot (or conversational agent) – would make sense for your organisation’s customer service.


#1 – Are you receiving many repetitive customer questions eg. via email or support ticket?

You have to have a sufficient amount of repetitive questions that the bot can answer – per month. If your customer support org only gets 20 questions per month, it won’t be profitable to automate it.

If you’re receiving say 500- 2000 messages per month – then it should start to make sense, and above that number for sure it will be profitable. The easiest implementation is where the chatbot basically is able to refer to an FAQ answer or canned response that it can reply with. Consider also the employee satisfaction gains when your customer service employees will no longer need to respond to these questions, and can focus on more challenging topics.


#2 – Is your customer seeking information that is easy to deliver?

In some cases it will make more sense to discuss with a human – if the question is ambiguous, would require interpretation etc. Whereas if the question has a clear, verifiable answer, the chatbot can likely answer.


Say in an HR context – if the employee asks: “What was my overtime payment last month?” – the chatbot could connect to a backend payroll system, search using the employee ID & overtime & last month. With a sufficient volume of repetitive questions, a connection to your backend systems is built (say HR/Payroll, sales, support tickets etc), the bot fetches the required information and generates a response. This functionality is a bit costlier as the connection to the backend needs to be built /tested / maintained.


However if the employee question is “I’m considering taking a leave of absence, because I’m stressed, can you advise?” – it would be better handled with human empathy and wisdom.


# 3 – Do you need to provide customer service 24/7/365?

In the always-on world of today you might have customers on your website anytime, however you might not have the budget to staff a call center 24/7/365. By providing a chatbot as a first responder it can answer commonly asked questions (eg where’s my order, what is the cost of shipping etc), and if it’s unable to answer the question it can generate a support ticket for your human agents to address when they come to work in the morning.


#4 – Would your customers want to interact with a chatbot?

According to research by Aspect Software Research – 44% of US consumers indicated they would prefer to interact with a chatbot – rather than a human being – IF the company got the experience right. To re-iterate – get the use case right first 🙂

Especially if your target market is on mobile, Millenials in particular- then a chatbot will be very well suited. If the target market on the hand is a Boomer shopping on Internet explorer for an anniversary necklace for the wife then.. Well – hang on – maybe?


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Thanks for reading,