Reducing contact centre expenditure with a chatbot for FAQ

Frequently asked questions are a chatbot’s bread and butter. Bots are well suited to taking easy-to-predict, common customer queries and returning a consistent, pre-written answer. Better suited, in fact, than human customer service agents.

FAQs typically make up the majority of an organisation’s inbound queries. These questions are repetitive, routine, and don’t really require human resources to answer day in, day out. Enter the FAQ-based chatbot.

Rather than trying to support a full, natural conversation, a chatbot for FAQ will do just that: answer the high volume of routine queries that enter a contact centre each day. And in so doing, these bots massively reduce contact centre expenditure. (And save agents from constant manual rekeying.)

From increasing employing efficiency and productivity, to directly reducing monetary costs, here’s what a chatbot for FAQ can do for your contact centre.


A chatbot for FAQ

There are different types of chatbot suited to different use cases. For instance, an NLP (natural language processing) chatbot simulates open, general conversation. So, the user types freely into the chat window as if they’re talking to a human.

This isn’t the way of an FAQ bot. As opposed to open conversation, a chatbot for FAQ would most commonly be a flow-based bot. These are chatbots with pre-defined conversational paths, with fixed question and answer sets.

For the majority of organisations using chatbots to field common queries, an FAQ bot is the more practical choice.

A chatbot for FAQ can answer frequent, easy, and repetitive questions. For example:

  • ‘What time do you open?’
  • ‘What is your returns policy?’
  • ‘Do I need an internet connection to use this software?’

Often, FAQ bots route user questions via a set of options presented in the chat window. For example:

Hi, I’m the mortgage advisor bot. 👋 For help with getting a mortgage, type 1. For help with remortgaging, type 2.

A chatbot for FAQ can also direct users to other available self-service resources. For example:

What do you need help with today?

[Missing order]  [Faulty item]  [Returns]

The bot would then use the customer’s responses to field them to the right place.


Contact centre expenditure

So, how exactly does having a chatbot for FAQ reduce contact centre expenditure?

A chatbot for FAQ can help resolve a simple query quickly — there’s no waiting for an agent to be available over the phone. There are no lengthy chat queues, even. This, in turn, reduces operational costs.

A chatbot for FAQ can act as an inexpensive agent. For example, it fields the majority of common live chat queries and thus reduces staffing needs. It saves you paying for agents to do a tedious service task. It also supports a contact centre’s (cost-reducing) self-service section, by directing chat users to self-help. This increases the value/ROI of creating such self-service resources.

There’s also the improvement to agent satisfaction to consider.

A high agent turnover rate is costly for contact centres.

High attrition means you must pay for the training of new people more often, and don’t benefit from the increased productivity that experienced agents can bring.

Here, a chatbot for FAQ can improve the agent experience by taking away annoying, repetitive questions. Instead, agents can focus on handling interesting, complex customer needs. This, in turn, can help reduce agent turnover and thus reduce contact centre expenditure.

See also: 25 ESAT survey questions to shed light on contact centre morale


A hybrid team

None of this is to say that an FAQ chatbot — or a chatbot of any kind, should ever replace a human support team. Doing so will only hurt your service, not reduce your expenditure.

Instead, the way to properly implement an FAQ chatbot is as part of a hybrid team between bots and agents. The chatbot for FAQ handles the frequently asked questions; the repetitive detail collecting. Meanwhile, your team can expend their mental resources on complex or in-depth customer service needs — be it through chat, calls, or another channel.

A hybrid approach allows agents and bots to tag-team. A bot can start by answering FAQs, pass to an agent should the following query be more complex, and take the chat back again once able. This means that your resources are always being used to their full potential.


Reducing contact expenditure with a chatbot for FAQ

Once upon a time, chatbots were hype and not much more. But that time has long passed. For call centres, chatbots now represent a powerful tool in reducing expenditure — both by reducing operational costs and staffing needs and improving agent satisfaction.

In short, enable a hybrid approach to your customer service chats. Allow humans and bots to tag-team based on the type of query the customer has. Leave the robotic stuff for the bots, and the complex conversations for humans. The result is a more efficient, productive service and reduced expenditure.

And who would say no to that?


Do you need an NLP chatbot?

The pros and cons of a flow-based chatbot

ESAT: employee satisfaction and why it matters