5 Recommendations to Evaluate Your Chatbots and IVR for Elevated CX

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Traditionally quality management in the contact center has been focused on evaluating agent-assisted interactions — mainly phone.

You know the routine — listen to a phone call, complete a form, send it to an agent, repeat. We already discussed the gap between the number of digital channels for CX that are supported in the contact center and the number of channels that are evaluated as part of a business’ QM programs.

Hopefully, you aren’t one of those businesses in that gap. But even if you’re already evaluating your chat and email interactions, you may need to expand your QM program to address an even bigger gap in the customer experience — your online assistants/chatbots and IVR.

In our newly released business wave of the 2019 NICE inContact Customer Experience (CX) Transformation Benchmark, we asked more than 900 contact center leaders how satisfied their own customers are with channel-specific experiences — across both agent-assisted and self-service methods of communication.

Consistently, organizations overestimated satisfaction with online assistants/chatbots and IVR by 9 and 7 points, respectively.

And compared to consumers, businesses are significantly more likely to prefer interacting with their customers via video chat, social media, virtual assistant/chatbot, and/or home electronic virtual assistants.

In a nutshell, businesses are encouraging customers to engage via these channels, but customers are not as satisfied with these channels as businesses perceive them to be.

Incorporating evaluations on online assistants/chatbots and IVR into your quality management program could be the best and easiest place to start bridging this gap.

Now, conducting QM on these channels might look different from how you execute quality evaluations on your agent-assisted channels, but the fundamental principles are the same.

Here are five recommendations to help guide your chat and IVR evaluation process:

1) Understand what the customer is experiencing. Conduct some mock interactions using these channels, and then make notes to establish a baseline for what the customer experience with the chatbot and IVR are today. Because customers can take different “branches” within an IVR or during a chatbot conversation, try a couple of different scenarios. Also, simulate a customer becoming dissatisfied or having an issue outside the normal expected parameters to understand how these channels behave when a perceived “error” occurs and what the subsequent agent-escalation experience is.

2) Create forms to complete ongoing evaluation. Creating a form to guide your QM staff through the evaluation process ensures consistency and thoroughness — and ensures that you are assessing as many customer scenarios as possible. Outline different scenarios they should complete with the chatbot and IVR, and then provide a way to concisely document what the experience was.

3) Determine frequency of evaluation. You should not have to complete evaluations on these channels as frequently as on agent-assisted channels, but a regular cadence should be set, and evaluators should be held accountable to that cadence through the same evaluation tracking mechanism. Regardless of the cadence, it is critical that the evaluation process occur every time a back-end change is made to the IVR or chatbot experience to ensure that it’s delivering the desired experience right out of the gate.

4) Create a feedback mechanism. While you won’t have any agents to coach after these evaluations, you still will have improvements to make. Work with the evaluators to identify how to act on the findings and create a feedback mechanism to the relevant parties.

5) Continue to evaluate. Per recommendation #3, you have determined an ongoing cadence for evaluation, so this one should be a given. However, too often contact centers look at this is as a “one and done” sort of exercise — so let’s include it twice! It is critical that organizations not only continue to evaluate the chatbot and IVR experience with a lens of “what’s broken and how can we fix it?” but also a lens of “is this the best we can do?” Chatbot and IVR technology has come a long way, but without regular evaluations of the customer experience you will overlook glaring areas of opportunity that might prompt the exploration of a new technology or a more creative way to use your existing technology.

As technology changes, so must our scope and definition of quality management programs. Taking these first steps to incorporate non-agent assisted channels into your QM program will help you close the customer experience gap.