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Latest 10 Dec 2018 | Customer Service | 6 min read

8 Non-Obvious Uses For Chatbots

Chatbots may have been over-hyped at first, but as artificial intelligence improves, their usefulness as a support tool has grown increasingly clear. Accenture estimates that bots can resolve as much as 80 percent of customer inquiries on their own. Despite the name, bots aren’t just for chatting, either. Here are some less obvious uses for chatbots.

The era of the bot is upon us. But while the launch of the bot platforms in 2016 caused a lot of hype (and introduced a lot of bots that turned out to not be very useful at all) in 2018 we’ve now started to see brands figure out how to use the bot platforms to add real value for customers.

Previously, in the customer service domain, it was much harder to automate full conversations there are just too many variables for what a customer could ask. But increasingly, it is becoming more apparent that humans and automation can sit side by side in a way that’s never been possible before.

Done right, bot-augmented interactions have a clear and positive business impact:

● Bots help brands drive a higher customer experience: Optimization for common inquiries results in quicker response times and faster time to resolution for customers.

● Bots help brands drive a lower cost-to-serve: Bot-ready platforms that combine both bot and agent-assisted service result in fewer inquiries needing a human response.

But, are there any other added benefits of chatbot based interactions? Well, yes...there are. And these are what we think, are the top 8 non-obvious use cases.
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1) Offer follow-the-sun support

In our 24/7 world where customers expect to instant gratification, 9 to 5 support doesn’t cut it anymore. Chatbots can give customers an immediate response so customer tweets and direct messages don’t languish overnight. If a human response is needed, an agent can respond the next day. In the interim, the customer still feels heard.

2) Prompt agents to say the right thing

Internal chatbots can suggest phrases that are proven effective and align with the brand voice. The agent can then select the appropriate response instead of typing it out, saving them time and preventing typos. (This is similar the Smart Reply feature Google recently introduced for Gmail users.)

3) Provide multilingual support

For brands conducting cross-border business, the ability to provide support in the customer’s preferred language is crucial. Bots can converse in hundreds of different languages , so that even if your agents don’t speak a customer’s language, your support system does, and the customer gets the help they need.

4) Give your FAQ new life

The frequently asked questions page on your website probably contains important information that unfortunately isn’t read much. Chatbots can recommend and link to support articles that may help customers get their questions resolved without involving an agent.

It is becoming more apparent that humans and automation can sit side by side in a way that’s never been possible before. Done right, bot-augmented interactions have a clear and positive business impact.

5) Handle spikes in demand

When you get an influx of support requests, you may not always have enough staff to deal with the heightened demand. Bots can help scale up your support when the team is strained. By handling the more basic and routine questions, they can free up agents to focus on the trickier ones. Teams can monitor social for early warning signs that they’re about to see a spike in support requests and staff accordingly (there may also be times such as the holiday season or the launch of a new product when you can anticipate this). But when you can’t or don’t anticipate this need, bots can help.

6) Look up information quickly

Agents typically juggle multiple chats at once, so stopping to look up a customer’s order or check product specifications can slow them down. Chatbots can search your CRM faster than agents, giving agents the information they need right away.

7) Recommend products

Sometimes customers get intimidated by the sheer number of options available on a retail website, but bots can help them narrow their options. Chatbots can provide product recommendations after the customer answers a series of questions. American Eagle’s Aerie lingerie brand, for example, launched a bra shopping bot on the Kik Bot Shop in 2016. Beauty brand Sephora also launched a shopping bot on Kik around the same time. Sephora’s bot provides users with how-to videos, product reviews, and recommendations based on the user’s preferences.

8) Punt to a human agent

While bots can handle routine requests or answer basic questions, they cannot convey empathy the way a human can. When a customer has a more complex question or needs a higher-touch interaction, a chatbot can and should reroute that customer to a human agent. Digital health company HealthTap, for example, asks users to answer a series of health and symptom-related questions and uses AI to triage patients, determining which ones might need to visit the ER and which ones be a better fit for a quick doctor consult.


While bots can’t handle every support request, the combination of human agents and artificial intelligence is a powerful way for brands to meet customers’ needs.

Want to know more how to harness the power of bots and intelligent automation? Check out our latest whitepaper, The Definitive Guide to Customer Service in the Era of Social Messaging.


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