Customer feedback is worth its weight in gold to businesses. That’s why so many organizations go out of their way to solicit it in any way they can. However, today’s companies are looking to the future and seeking newer and better ways to gather this.
That’s where chatbots come in, representing the next step in customer interactions—but how exactly can they help deliver feedback? Equally significant, how can you ensure they provide customers with the desired results?
In this article, we explore how to use chatbots effectively, with a specific focus on their feedback-gathering capabilities.
There are several reasons why businesses might gather feedback. Perhaps most significantly, positive feedback signifies that you’re doing a good job. Buyers typically seek out reviews before investing in a product or service, and if they find lots of other consumers recommending you, they’re more likely to invest.
Of course, you shouldn’t just be collecting positive feedback. Even negative testimonials have their uses. By responding to less-than-glowing comments, you can prove you’re actively listening to your customers. Instead of sweeping them under the rug, you’re taking an interest in what they’re saying and how you can improve.
Importantly, feedback is an opportunity to demonstrate not only that you’re listening but acting on comments too. Perhaps your retail customer service is lacking or your product delivery times are sluggish.
Whatever the problem, when consumers see you making changes based on their feedback, they’ll feel more favorably toward your brand.
A chatbot is a computer program that mimics human conversation. They’re now used by many businesses as an alternative to customer support agents.
Instead of waiting for a human call handler to become available, a customer can instantly start a conversation with a chatbot. They can send queries, and it will respond with a preprogrammed response.
Unfortunately, chatbots haven’t always had the best reputation. In their early days, they’d often provide rather unhelpful answers. Instead of fixing their issues, this would leave customers feeling frustrated and unsupported by the company.
Luckily, things have changed in recent years thanks to the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI). Ergo, chatbots can now make use of a technology called machine learning, which learns from conversations and provides responses based on historical data.
Today, chatbots have many different functions, ranging from responding to customers on social media to sending email responses. Certain call center technology solutions, such as Vonage, even provide advanced conversational AI. This can replicate the role of human agents and answer customer queries on the phone.
Thanks to their versatility, chatbots can be particularly useful for soliciting feedback. Customers rarely leave this of their own volition and often need to be encouraged. Chatbots can ask them to leave a review naturally during a conversation.
There are multiple forms of chatbots that you can choose from. Below are some of the most common.
Modern businesses typically have pages on multiple social media platforms. Managing these can be a hassle, queries often go unanswered, and customers can become frustrated.
Social messaging chatbots relieve some of this pressure, responding quickly and helpfully to common customer questions.
Just as social messaging chatbots replicate human text-based support, voice bots provide phone assistance. They use a technique called natural language processing to recognize human speech. This form of chatbot can quickly solve many different routine queries.
If a voice bot can’t answer a query, it might utilize a technology called interactive voice response (IVR). How does IVR work? By quickly routing callers to the agent who’s best served to answer their questions.
These are the most basic forms of chatbot, lacking some of the advanced features of other options, such as natural language processing.
Menu-based chatbots follow a preset routine. Essentially, a user is given various choices they can click, which present different dialogue options.
Chatbots can collect feedback using a variety of methods. Let’s look at some of these in a little more detail.
Traditional surveys aren’t always the most fun for customers. Chatbots can make them a little more interesting. They ask questions in the same manner as a survey but also provide intuitive responses. This creates a more engaging customer experience, so shoppers are more likely to complete the task.
Conversation-based surveys are non-intrusive and provide short, snappy questions. They’re thus a simple and effective way of maximizing responses.
Without any prompting, customer interactions typically cease once a product has been purchased. Automated surveys help to carry on the conversation. Once an item has been sold, a chatbot will send a feedback form to the customer. This might ask about:
Real-time feedback is collected during customer interactions with a chatbot. At the end of the conversation, the bot might ask the customer to rate their experience out of five or by clicking an emoji.
This approach has many benefits. Traditionally, feedback is collected at a later date, so customers might not remember their interaction as clearly, causing them to provide inaccurate information. You therefore gain more informed insights into customer satisfaction by using bots in this way.
Customers are also more likely to share feedback ‘in the moment’ rather than later on when the interaction isn’t as fresh.
If you’re considering using chatbots, be realistic about your expectations. While they can provide quality responses, they can also easily be utilized in the wrong way, hindering rather than helping customers.
With this in mind, here are some best practices for how to use chatbots for feedback.
As mentioned, customers may need some persuading if you want them to go out of their way to deliver feedback. Shoppers are therefore more likely to share their opinions when an incentive is used. Programming your chatbot to offer a discount or freebie in return for this is a surefire way of getting more responses.
When it comes to feedback, simplicity is key. If your chatbot is asking lots of wordy questions, you’re likely to put customers off. The less effort that’s required on their part, the more likely they are to give their opinions.
If you can, try to use as little text as possible. Asking a customer to give a rating out of five, for example, can be one way of getting quick and effective feedback. Where more in-depth insights are needed, opt for short, targeted questions rather than ones that are wordy and open-ended.
While chatbots are programmed to replicate the role of a human agent, they aren’t human. This means they won’t respond like an ordinary employee unless you program them to.
The goal is to make the customer feel at ease. Without instruction, there’s a risk that your chatbot will sound too robotic.
Make sure your bot always thanks customers for responding, and remember that the tone used by it should match that of your business. There’s no point in having a virtual agent that communicates with slang or casual language if your brand image centers on professionalism and formality.
It’s tempting to complicate your chatbot’s UI with different buttons and features. Instead, though, follow the mantra that ‘simplicity is key’, as making it all singing and dancing might confuse users.
For example, include as few buttons as possible, and ensure interaction points are clear. It can help to use color to draw attention to specific areas of importance on the screen.
Today, customers are used to tailored experiences. Practically every major online platform includes some level of personalization. Whether it’s product recommendations, custom playlists, or targeted advertising, this has proved to be a winning tactic. That’s why 69% of business leaders are increasing their investment in personalization, according to the report linked above.
When picking your chatbot solution, make sure you choose an option that prioritizes this—after all, customers are more likely to share their thoughts after a favorable experience.
The more your chatbot knows about a customer, the better. First things first, it should know their name and speak in their language. However, you can go a step further than that. For instance, if a customer has interacted with the chatbot before, they should be able to carry on where they left off.
Remember, you can take steps to personalize feedback too. Let’s imagine you want your customer to share their thoughts on their buying experience. Instead of saying ‘What did you think of your purchase?’, you could name the specific item they bought.
Small touches like this help to create smoother customer experiences, increasing the chances of you receiving feedback.
No matter how good your chatbot solution is, it won’t always give the right answer. When it falls short, customers mustn’t be left in the dark. So, always have human assistance on hand to help resolve more complex issues.
Of course, you need the right technology to create a smooth transition from virtual agent to human. For phone calls, for instance, you might utilize PBX in the cloud. This can create a smooth handover from the machine to staff members. With features such as automated routing and IVR, you can easily ensure callers reach the right agent.
Remember, unresolved queries won’t make customers eager to share feedback—not positive feedback anyway! So, do everything you can to ensure customer inquiries are resolved.
One thing all modern businesses can agree on is that feedback is essential for success. It helps steer you in the right direction, keeps customers happy, and pulls in new shoppers. But traditional methods of gathering this, like emails, text messages, and website popups, no longer cut it. Businesses must thus look to the future if they’re to keep up with the times.
Chatbots represent the next step in this evolutionary journey. Today, we’ve discussed how to use them to help you gather more feedback. If you haven’t yet considered this option, now might be the time. Start by finding the perfect solution for your needs, and then be sure to follow the tips outlined in this article.
Isn’t it time you refined your feedback strategy?
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Test out an example chatbot that can ask for feedback:
What other ways can I collect feedback?
There are many different methods for collecting customer feedback, including:
Can chatbots provide real-time data?
Certain chatbot solutions can access data in real-time. This means they can bring up customer profiles and other relevant information to help agents provide the best possible answers to queries.
Article written in collaboration with Vonage.