Article

Why an AI chatbot should be the gatekeeper to your customer service

Long wait times, an automated system that cannot put you in touch with a human agent, and having to repeat information multiple times...

By Bonnie Bailly, VP of Marketing, Mindsay

Published July 30, 2021
Last updated September 27, 2021

These are painful customer experiences we can all relate to and top indicators of poor customer service according to Zendesk’s 2021 Customer Experience Trends Report.

With 75% of people willing to spend more money on a brand that provides a great customer experience, companies now know that customer loyalty depends on delivering exceptional customer service. However, brands often go about trying to improve customer experience in the wrong way, despite their best intentions. While trying to improve customer service by offering as many touchpoints and channels as possible can be good in theory, it can also generate huge inefficiencies for customer service teams.

What is the one-door strategy

According to KPMG’s Global Customer Experience Excellence Report, 90% of consumers regard resolution as their most important customer service issue. With more and more customer service channels popping up every day, call centers quickly get overwhelmed and response times increase significantly.

The one-door strategy allows you to provide consistent experiences with your brand throughout the customer journey

A solution to best manage, prioritize, and respond quickly to the most urgent customer requests is through what is called the “one-door strategy”: giving your customers a single entry point to your customer service team. Whether your customers are reaching out to you on the web, in app, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, or any other channel, having a smart chatbot or virtual assistant as the gatekeeper or front door to your agent live chat, phone, ticketing system, IVR, or FAQ, allows you to either 1) instantly answer the customer request through the chatbot or 2) immediately and intelligently qualify the request so it can be routed to the right place for quick and efficient resolution.

Long gone are long wait times, unhappy customers, and overwhelmed agents. Moreover, the one-door strategy allows you to provide consistent experiences with your brand throughout the customer journey. Let’s dive into some of the benefits in more detail.

The benefits of a one-door strategy

  • The perfect mix of human agents and automation
  • We have all been there - we want to speak directly to a human customer service agent and become quickly infuriated by automated systems that keep us in a frustrating loop without a response to our issue. The one-door strategy eliminates this pain by putting an AI chatbot on the front lines of customer service, knowing exactly when it is the right time to bring in human help.

    A great example of a company that is optimizing human-machine interaction with the one-door strategy is the French-Swiss rail company TGV Lyria. Lyria is delighting customers with a full-page chatbot as the entryway to its customer service team. While the bot is automatically resolving most customer issues, when travelers have more complex problems, the bot can qualify the request, create a ticket with all of the relevant information, and connect them directly with someone from the customer service team for quick resolution. This has allowed Lyria to increase service capacity with the same resources, reduce handling times, and improve customer satisfaction.

  • Fast, accurate, and personalized customer service
  • As Gartner pointed out in their research on “How to Develop a Winning Customer Self-Service Strategy”, incorporating self-service technologies into consistent, orchestrated, cross-channel customer experiences is a huge challenge that few companies have been able to do. The one-door strategy simplifies this challenge and allows companies to put efficient, omnichannel self-service in place.

    By putting an immersive chatbot as the first customer service touchpoint on every channel, you will quickly see response times drop and customer satisfaction scores rise. Bots are able to easily handle 50% of customer service requests completely on their own, often more. When a bot does detect a customer needs to speak to a human agent, it can qualify the customer’s request, and determine which channel or form of support they need to be directed to - maybe it means looping in an agent on live chat, maybe it is direct phone support, or maybe it is creating a ticket for an agent to resolve asynchronously.

    Creating customer service processes like this through the one-door strategy will ensure customers are served quickly, with the right answer, personalized with the information they need.

How a one-door strategy benefits customers and agents

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the one-door strategy is that you will be making both your customers and agents happier. With the bot as the gatekeeper to customer service, you will be able to answer and qualify customer requests automatically, ensuring that only the requests that really require a human touch make it through to your agents. This will alleviate the strain on your overwhelmed agents and allow them to focus on only the most complex, value-added inquiries.

For example, TGV Lyria’s chatbot is deflecting and routing the large majority of their customer requests, which has saved their agents a ton of time by allowing them to focus only on the complex requests. This has increased their service capacity, reduced handling times, and kept customer satisfaction high through quick, personalized service.

What the front-door chat bot means for email or phone support

It is important to keep in mind that the one-door strategy does not mean eliminating access to support phone numbers or email addresses. It means that the chatbot is the gatekeeper to these channels. With the right AI chatbot as the entry point to your customer service, you can rest assured that the bot will quickly route a customer to the exact channel or touchpoint they need to resolve their request quickly and accurately.

However, if you do leave a “side-door” open by putting a support email address or phone number on your website, you will quickly see the benefits of the one-door strategy go out the window. The one-door strategy does not seek to eliminate these channels or provide only automated support. On the contrary, this strategy is designed to serve your customers on as many channels as possible through a smart chatbot that is able to optimize the customer’s experience across all channels.

Mindsay + Zendesk

Mindsay partners with Zendesk to create incredible customer and agent experiences and drive operational efficiency. Mindsay chatbots integrate seamlessly with Zendesk to ensure faster response times, more productive agents, and happier customers. Learn more here.

Using AI for better self-service

Learn how AI can enhance your customer self-service offerings in Zendesk Guide.