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Supercharge your customer experience with Chatbot + Live agent support on messaging apps

On March 2, 2023 | 8 Minutes Read
Agent AssistChatbotsConversational AIConversational EngagementConversational SupportGeneric

The one thing that most people remember about a brand or a business, even more than their ads, is the customer support they received when they had a problem or needed assistance. It’s in these times that the first and many times, a lasting impression about a brand gets built, an image that customers come to associate with the brand. In the age of social media, this individual experience soon becomes a collective experience. Brands that understand these changing dynamics know that good customer support is the most crucial piece for delivering an outstanding customer experience.

Conversational automation powered by AI is changing the game. It’s helping brands in being available for their customers by responding to their queries quickly and appropriately at scale, on a messaging app of their choice- WhatsApp, Instagram Direct Messenger, Google Business Messages etc.  

When combined with live agent support  it can provide a seamless and personalized experience for customers. But before going deeper into live agents and how they can be harnessed for business growth, it’s important to first understand customer support’s direct correlation with customer experience.

Good customer support can make a world of a difference in how a business is perceived leading to increased customer loyalty and positive word of mouth marketing. While good customer support was always essential, drastically changed customer expectations have made it all the more important. With the advent of e-commerce and pandemic induced digitisation, customers want to be on the top of every update making messaging apps an indispensable support channel for brands today. And with that they expect timely and helpful assistance when they have questions, issues or complaints about a product or service.

That customer support has a direct impact on customer retention is also corroborated by data. According to a Forrester study, customers are 2.4X more likely to stay when companies solve customer problems more quickly. McKinsey’s State of Customer Care Survey 2022 found out that customer care is now a strategic focus for companies.

The report goes on to say that despite digital customer care being in vogue, human assistance will play a key role in driving overall CX. “Customers want fast, efficient service, but they also want personalized customer care, whatever the channel of engagement”, says the report.

Technical advancements in automated conversations and Conversational AI have redefined how support is delivered. Thanks to chatbots and virtual agents, customer support can be offered round the clock, helping optimize costs and resolution time. Not to mention, freeing up support agents’ time for more complex queries.

The need for live agent support on Messaging apps

While chatbots, when strategically implemented across messaging channels, are effective in managing frequently asked support queries at scale, there can always be some situations that need a nuanced approach making human support a necessity. A hybrid support infrastructure with a seamless bot to agent and agent to bot handover therefore has to be the way ahead.

Let’s  understand what kind of situations warrant a live agent support:

  1. Complex issues– As mentioned earlier, chatbot based customer support systems may not be able to handle complex issues or unforeseen situations. While chatbots can be configured to address support queries on a wide range of topics, there can be situations that might not have been considered during the development of chatbot. For example, maybe the customer had a special packaging requirement or a query related to the expiry date of the product. Having a live agent support would help tackle these situations.
  2. Personalized interactions– Live agents can provide a more personalized and   human-like interaction with customers. This can help to build trust and improve the customer experience. Especially in the case of high-ticket and high-involvement products such as insurance, automotive, and real estate, customers prefer dedicated Relationships Managers to be available for them both before and after the purchase.

  1. Language barriers– Chatbot based customer support systems may not be able to handle inquiries in multiple languages or understand the nuances of different languages and cultures. If not trained, they might get tangled in language nuances especially in countries with multiple native languages such as Mexico, Europe etc. 
  2. Human touch– In some cases, customers may simply prefer to interact with a live person rather than a machine. Live agents can provide a human touch and a more personal connection with customers.

Ensuring a smooth bot to agent handover

Keeping live agents on stand- by is a great idea as it helps in dealing with customers who are unsatisfied with chatbots, thus enhancing the overall customer experience for them. But it’s the transition from chatbot to the live agent that makes the customer service of a business really stand out. Ensuring a good visibility of the capability is therefore as important as having it. Here are a few ways to do it:

  1. Have it in the main menu of your chatbot— The chatbot you build will be set to drive certain actions such as exploring products, tracking orders, checking wallet balance, exchanging/returning product etc. The best way to organize these for users is to create a menu with a list of key features of the chatbot. One among these should be live agent/customer care support. It’s one of the best ways for letting your customers know that they can connect with a live agent if needed right from the same chat window.
  2. Have suggested reply options at critical points in the journey- When creating a conversational journey, suggested action buttons can help better engage the users. These action buttons serve a dual purpose- a. They can help users know the action they can take and, b – Help businesses drive a guided conversation towards a particular objective, such as sales, lead gen or engagement. It’s a great way to identify critical points in these journeys where the user is likely to drop off or need human agent support before proceeding. One such point can be when the user is exploring a high value product such as an apartment or a term insurance.
  3. Add it as a follow-up message in case of an inactive session—  It might happen that a user goes inactive during a session. The obvious thing to do then is to set up follow-up messages. Adding “chat with an agent” as an option to these follow-ups can help drive action, especially in case of high-value products where the user is more likely to have reservations. Take the below use case for an example, where the brand was able to drive action by providing live agent support to the user during a purchase journey.
  4. Add it as a keyword identifier—Making your chatbots intelligent is crucial to delivering a seamless support experience. It’s good to add keyword identifiers to transfer the conversation from a bot to an agent. This can reduce friction and make the experience prompt for your customers.

Once a customer types the keyword “agent”, the live agent gets a message on his dashboard to take over the interaction. With intelligent routing, the transition happens smoothly on the same chat window to specific agents/departments(such as technical, finance, sales, etc) who are best suited to deal with a query. 

The interesting thing here is that the transition can be implemented across channels. With Gupshup’s smart Agent Assist tool, you can empower your agents to address queries on more than 30 messaging channels be it Instagram, WhatsApp or any other from a single interface.

Live Agents are more than just a support channel

Even though live agents have mostly been looked at from a support perspective, it’s important to take a fresh look at their use cases. Besides the typical option of assigning them complaint handling and customer service, live agents can also be used for sales and marketing and for upselling/cross selling products and services. In fact, with the right set of tools in hand, customer service agents are well positioned to not just offer after sales support but also make the pre-purchase and purchase journey easier.

Say for example- a customer X has browsed through shirts on an apparel e-tailer, but hasn’t been able to find a color of his choice. He moves his query to chat, which in turn gets transferred to a live agent. Here, the live agent can actually help in closing the sale. He not only shows the required colors but also recommends matching trousers to go with it. With a clear view of customer’s past interactions, the agent is able to assist better and make smarter recommendations, all while being on the chat.

Businesses can also add voice capabilities and IVR solutions on Agent Assist, wherein customers can request a call back to make their buying and post purchase journey smoother. By empowering agents to do more, customer service no longer remains a cost center for the company, it rather becomes a contributor to revenues.

As much as it is important to empower the agents, it’s also essential to regularly monitor and evaluate the performance of your live agents to ensure that they are providing the best possible service to customers. Gupshup’s Agent Assist tool helps you in tracking agent performance and conversation feeds in real time and intervene when required. 

Assisting customers at every step of the buying journey is key to building a satisfied customer base. Brands can elevate their customer experience by several notches by implementing Conversational AI+ Live Agent support solution— a much needed capability in the digital age. Bring it into effect and see your CSAT and NPS scores skyrocket.


Vandana leads content and communications at Gupshup. Before turning to communications, she was a journalist for more than 13 years, writing stories across varied subjects- from equity markets, policy to consumer tech. In her current role, she crafts engaging content and PR strategies that helps drive the company's marketing efforts.

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