Kathy Neff, director of Customer Workflows product marketing at ServiceNow, co-authored this blog.
Customer-centric organizations and institutions are making great strides in their digital transformation projects as they look to improve the customer journey. They’re implementing new, more sophisticated technologies to help create seamless, omni-channel engagements that deliver better, more satisfying customer experiences.
Virtual agents and chatbots are an important part of this technology mix, empowering customers to reach out to live agents when they can’t find the answer to their inquiry on self-service channels. The goal is to allow customers to engage with both a virtual agent and a live agent in the same interaction—and to deliver a consistent experience across both channels.
Finding this balance can be challenging. Agents often multitask, juggling several chat conversations at a time. As a result, agents can quickly become overwhelmed and stressed. They can also struggle to maintain the relevant context of each conversation while gathering the details needed to resolve a customer’s inquiry.
To be effective, organizations need virtual agents and chatbots to improve the experience for both customers and agents.
Introducing Conversation Autopilot
In the latest release of ServiceNow® Customer Service Management, Conversation Autopilot enables agents engaged in a live chat to temporarily transfer the chat conversation to ServiceNow® Virtual Agent, an AI-powered conversational chatbot.
With Conversation Autopilot, agents can transfer control of a chat to delegate and offload specific tasks that are better handled directly by the customer. For instance, agents can empower the customer to enter data they have at their fingertips or more sensitive information they feel more comfortable entering themselves.
The agent can then monitor the whole chatbot interaction in real time to see all of the customer’s messages. If the agent feels the need to jump in and help the customer again, they can easily retake control of the conversation by turning off autopilot.
The Virtual Agent dialog guides customers through the conversation, freeing the agent to serve other customers who have more pressing or complex inquiries. Automating certain simple tasks (such as creating a case or booking an appointment) allows for consistent responses, streamlining and standardizing the experience for all customers (see Figure 1).
The customer also benefits from the natural language understanding (NLU) in Virtual Agent, which can understand, analyze, and interpret customer input in automated conversations.
Figure 1: The experience of a customer using Conversation Autopilot (left) and the experience of an agent using Conversation Autopilot (right)
Other tasks that are well suited to being transferred from live chat to Conversation Autopilot include gathering data to create a case, triggering a workflow to book an appointment (see Figure 2), and handling sensitive data, such as performing a credit check.
Figure 2: Customers can use Virtual Agent to reschedule an appointment at their convenience.
Benefits of Conversation Autopilot
Conversation Autopilot can also capture necessary information structured in a standardized format that can be interpreted to drive workflows. This further improves speed of input, consistency of response, and follow-on automation.
With Conversation Autopilot, companies can improve both the customer and agent experience by streamlining interactions and increasing productivity. Employee and customer satisfaction can also increase dramatically as customers can take control and complete simple tasks quickly, efficiently, and confidentially.
Agents, in turn, spend less time on redundant activities, freeing them to focus on helping customers resolve more complex issues while the chat is on autopilot.
Learn more about how ServiceNow helps improve agent productivity and the customer journey.
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