Many high-end MSP service desks are implementing chatbots as part of their service desk strategies through platforms like ServiceNow. These solutions typically offer a Slack-like chat interface that can be programmed to handle simple customer requests. If the customer needs to escalate the request, they can be seamlessly passed on to an available technician.
Salesforce has embraced chatbot solutions and recently announced the next generation of Service Cloud Einstein, which enhances the CRM platform with guided processes and artificial intelligence to improve the customer service experience, the company says.
The Service Cloud Einstein platform services now include:
- Einstein Bots for Service - Improves agent productivity by responding to customers immediately, automating routine service requests, gathering basic information from customers so agents don't have to, and seamlessly handing off customers to the right agent at the right time, the company says.
- Lightning Flow for Service - Allows companies to deliver guided service processes that take customers through self-service interactions and guided agent workflow (i.e. fulfilling requests, resolving issues), Salesforce asserts.
- Einstein Next Best Action - Leverages rules-based and predictive models to provide agents with intelligent, contextual recommendations, Salesforce adds.
The efforts sound promising. But relying completely on chatbots would be a mistake for many organizations, I believe.
Keeping Chatbots In Perspective
Even Clement Tussiot, senior director of product management for Salesforce Service Cloud, warns that companies should still establish fail-safe mechanisms when using bots. Tussiot stated in a Q&A post that companies should:
"Make sure that when the bot doesn’t understand a customer you can bring a human into the loop to fulfill the customer request. It’s a false assumption to assume the bot can do everything. And you should be transparent. Make sure customers understand when they’re interacting with a bot or human. This will build trust with customers and perhaps give you the necessary leeway to work through kinks."
We gave a similar warning to MSPs last year when we stated:
"You run the risk of alienating your clients, though, if chatbots become an unintended barrier between you and your customers."
While AI can be a great productivity boost to any type of service desk, the best implementation should be nearly invisible to the customer. They should not be able to tell where there chatbot ends and the live person begins.