Case Study: How ACME Corporation got its groove back thanks to a new chatbot

Case Study: How ACME Corporation got its groove back thanks to a new chatbot

May 27, 2021

 

Like so many companies with dated technologies lingering in past glory, times are tough for ACME Corporation*.

Company founder, Wile E. Coyote* was at a crossroad. Poor sales led to cuts in their customer service department. With fewer qualified contact center agents, the company was unable to respond to incoming customer calls quickly and accurately – from new sales inquiries to customers requiring instructions on how to safely unbox and assemble their once-popular line of ACME jet propelled pogo sticks, giant rubber bands (for tripping road runners), dehydrated boulders, not to mention the ever-popular ACME anvils.

Sales continued to slide, while complaints escalated. Even prior to the pandemic, ACME struggled to meet customer demand and failed to meet customer expectations. In a highly competitive and globalized marketplace, there is no room for such malfunctions – especially since there are many competing up and coming companies that deliver personalized and tailored experiences that customers love. ACME failed to understand that after just one poor experience, 63% of customers will switch to a competitor, and almost two-thirds will not wait more than two minutes for assistance, according to Forrester Research. Yikes!

 

Just how important is it to meet customer expectations?

It keeps your customer happy and loyal.

It creates repeat sales opportunities.

It helps you get new customers.

It makes it difficult for the competition to woo your customers.

It solidifies your brand, creating word of mouth reputation.

 

When surveyed by Salesforce, 76% of customers said “it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere—switching from brand to brand to find an experience that matches their expectations.”

 

 

 

How could they meet customer demand – without increasing staffing levels – and regain their loyal following?

After much consultation and a deep dive into their customer analytics, ACME Corporation took decisive action to rectify the situation and propel their company into the 21st century. With the goal of empowering customers, they decided to deploy self-serve resources that their customers not only want to use, but demand. Like many customer-driven organizations, they decided to deploy an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot on their website, so that their customers could quickly and independently help themselves.

ACME Corporation was effectively taking their first transitional step from a traditional call center into a next generation contact center.

 

88% of customers expect companies to accelerate digital initiatives due to COVID-19 – ZDNet

 


What’s a chatbot?

As part of your overall contact center strategy, a chatbot is an automated software application powered by artificial intelligence that allows on-line chat conversation via text or text-to-speech. Designed to simulate a human-to-human conversation, a chatbot is a self-service customer interaction tool that provide customers with a quick way to get answers to their questions – without ever speaking with a live agent.  > Learn how to build a meaningful AI customer self-service application


 

So, how exactly does a chatbot understand what a customer has typed? How does it know what it should respond? And how does it converse like a human? 

 

1. Gather Customer Data: The Discovery Phase

From the outset, it was clear that ACME’s wide range of road runner specific products suffered from confusing and complex assembly instructions. Their poor customers struggled to make sense of these products! The project therefore started by combing through all the old records and call logs to dissect customer interactions in order to better understand common customer questions.

Luckily, ACME had preserved years of customer service recordings and call transcriptions – and although they were gathered for the purpose of evaluating the performance of their agents, these historic call logs contained valuable information about the purpose of the customer calls and often, verbatim transcriptions of the specific words used to describe their needs.

This customer interaction library proved to be a treasure trove goldmine!

Now began the hard work of classifying hundreds and hundreds of user expressions from recorded customer interactions and reducing them down to a manageable list of subjects or intentions.

This resulted in the creation of a prioritized list of needs and provided a multitude of real-world examples as to how each need was stated by different users. Some interactions were as vague and simple as “I need instructions” to the absurdly complex, “How the heck do I fasten the rocket’s lower guidance fins with a bent spanner… when it’s raining?” It was surprising to uncover the many ways a straightforward statement could be phrased, from a simple “yes” to the rather more enjoyable “Oh wow! Lookit ‘er go!!”

So, why was it important to gather all these unique phrases? Remember, a chatbot is only as good as the information you feed it. It needs to understand your products, how customers use your products, the questions they may have and even, how they speak. Without this information, a chatbot will never evolve into a powerfully useful customer self-service tool.

 

2. Build The Chatbot And Watch It Grow

All these transcriptions and their classifications were integrated into the recognition engine of a commercial, cloud-hosted chatbot engine. ACME preferred this approach as it avoided up-front capital expenditures for equipment and allowed them to pay a small fee on a per-usage basis. They reasoned, correctly as it turned out, that the per-usage fees would be dwarfed by the boost in sales from customers who could finally get their products off the ground, as it were.

From there, they were able to define the workflows needed to enable users to undertake the complex tasks they’d started. These workflows became the steps built right into the many streams of chats that their new creation supported.

 

Grand View Research indicates that 45% prefer chatbots as the primary mode of communication to answer questions and access customer service

 

3. Expand the Scope

Hurray! The chatbot is now live on the ACME site.

More and more customers engaged with the chatbot to get answers to their questions. Over time, the chatbot became the preferred customer interaction medium helping customers assemble their products, with little to no live human support.

The implementation of a chatbot helped boost their website engagement, capturing and converting visitors. Thanks to their chatbot, they were able to:

1.   EMPOWER THEIR AGENTS by eliminating first-level support interactions

2.  REDUCE COSTS by streamlining customer interactions

3.  GENERATE MORE QUALIFIED LEADS

4.  PROVIDE 24 HOUR SUPPORT, 7 DAYS A WEEK

5.  FRIENDLY AND EFFICIENT CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

 

By 2023, 2.5 billion hours will be saved by both businesses and consumers through the use of chatbots – Juniper Research

 

As usage of ACME’s ‘how can I help you?’ chatbot grew, ACME was able to identify entirely new features that added even greater value to their operations. This included things like instructions for nano-technology upgrades to their older suits of armor by incorporating diagrams, schematics and even videos into the step by-step instructions given by the chatbot. The sky is the limit for ACME Corporation!

With the chatbot live and running**, ACME has regained its rightful place at the pinnacle of cartoon companies. As a result, ACME has never been more prosperous.

 

*Acme Corporation and Wile E. Coyote are trademarks owned by Warner Bros. and WarnerMedia Studios & Networks.

**Absolutely no road runners or desert fowl of any kind were harmed with the implementation of this chatbot.

 

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