You know that voice that answers the phone when you call your bank and asks you to press “0” for an operator or tells you to say your account number after the beep? Well, that’s a bot, and they are a type of artificial intelligence (AI) that has been around for a long time. However, recently, bots have gone from being a frustrating nuisance when you just want to talk to a live person to becoming a lot smarter and a lot more helpful.
Though sometimes customers complain about brands like ASOS using bots on their Facebook page, bots actually have a variety of uses in the digital service world. The Facebook Messenger Platform now has chatbots that can work with partner companies, and many businesses in a variety of industries are using chatbots in numerous ways.
So how can bots be used in an industry like field service that’s already using robots, wearables, and drones, but still on some level keep the human interaction that customers need?
Chatbots for Improved Search Functionality
Chatbots can be used and integrated with existing software to help team members work more efficiently within an app. Right now, field service techs can search for customer history and information by navigating on mobile field service software through a series of menus. But what if techs could use a chatbot that could call up that customer’s information instantly just by using the chatbot’s conversation-based interface without the tech having to search.
Bots Make Scheduling Easier
Bots also make scheduling easier by letting users book a service call via a brief chat rather than spending lots of time on the phone or clicking through various options on an app. Some bots can even schedule appointments, which would put predictive maintenance to even better use, since the bot can do all the scheduling without ever interacting with a human being on the customer’s side or the field service organization’s side.
Use Bots For Self-Service
Customers want servicing equipment to be as simple and effortless as possible. On top of that, many customers want to have self-service options. So imagine if a customer can tell a bot that a piece of equipment is outdated, and the bot could send out a replacement part automatically. Some bots also help with customer self-service by providing the customer with options that lead to the correct solution for fixing the issue. Bots help solve customer problems in real-time, with assistance that is personalized and available instantly. Bots make customer self-service easy by resolving customer issues fast, on the customer’s medium of choice, without relying on human involvement.
Deliver Customer Service with Bots
For field service technicians, bots can make their lives so much easier. Similar to the example of the automated phonebots we all know, chatbots can collect information that is useful once the field service rep arrives onsite. This balance between human and bot, allows the human service techs to have more time to handle issues that must be taken care of in person.
Bots Improve Business Scalability
Every field service business knows it needs to be scalable since demand for service can fluctuate. Thanks to customers who want correct solutions to problems immediately, businesses are constantly searching for ways to become more efficient. While a field service tech or customer service rep can only respond and attend to one customer at a time, chatbots can respond to a number of customers at once. Chatbots are extra teammates in delivering service, which is great for companies with limited resources or organizations with smaller budgets who can’t afford to hire additional field service personnel.
Smart Machines and Bots Work Together
There’s been a lot of talk in field service about smart machines, and chatbots are the links that can connect customers to the data that smart machines collect. Since chatbots are conversation-based, the more they interact and speak with customers, the more they learn and understand about customers. Chatbots aren’t robots with their responses. Their intelligence increases with every customer interaction; therefore, they can give better suggestions based on machine data and customer data for whatever tasks need to be done. For example, the startup Medium created Kip, a chatbot integrated with Slack that does supplies shopping for employee teams.
Bots Help Service Automation
Not only do bots provide helpful customer self-service, but some organizations use them to help augment work by human field service technicians without fully automating tasks. Because of this, bots would probably work well with field service software because techs can use the bots as a resource when they need help or find themselves stuck on a service assignment. Bots are a useful part of workforce teams that are dispersed in various locations or when veteran technicians are unavailable to help guide newer or younger techs.
Since these are only a few of the several ways of how bots are useful in field service, it’s safe to say there’s a good chance bots will be the next big thing in field service. They can also be used to make customers aware of your brand, help encourage sales, increase customer engagement, and make existing and new customers more interested in your organization.