chatbot | 9 min read

The Intersection of Phone Systems and Chatbots

Published by Bhumish Sheth on 25-Feb-2021

Of all the chatbot uses discussed at WotNot — including how it can help generate leads and its usefulness in specific markets like healthcare — one aspect of this technology that’s often overlooked is how well chatbots and phone systems interact.

Chatbots make an excellent starting point for companies that want to begin offering customer service. They also do well to supplement websites by helping gather information for customers quickly and easily.

Their greatest success is found, however, when they are paired with some other type of customer service technology. VirtualPBX offers its expertise in phone systems, so we’ll start there in a discussion about the upsides of using chatbots and phone systems together to help a single set of customers.

Benefits of Chatbots

Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of chatbots. If for nothing else, this brief rundown will refresh your memory and work as a nice lead-in for the following sections of this article.

Easy to Set Up

Regardless of your ultimate chatbot uses, such as whether or not you want to grow your brand or supplement your existing customer service, chatbots like WotNot make it easy to get started.

You can try WotNot for free and expect only minutes of setup time when using the chatbot builder. The builder lets you start from a blank canvas or template and add greetings, questionnaires, buttons, and much more to your workflow.

Simple to Expand

From that point forward, adding elements to your initial bot is simple. Chatbot uses for you may include allowing customers to fill out a form, rate your level of customer service, and hand over an automated chat to a live agent.

Work With Other Services

All that remains is for your chatbot to link to other services. WotNot can interact with third-party services like Salesforce, so you can gather a contact’s information, and Shopify, so you can link your chatbot with your online store.

You can take this even further by integrating other chat services you already use, like Slack and Discord, to make the transition from fully-automated chat to a live chat environment easy for your team.

Combining Chatbots and Voice Service

Where do your chatbot uses and your phone system uses interact?

For many established businesses, the need for each of these systems grows as they expand their horizons. When your number of employees grows or your base of services expands from state-wide to nationally, you will likely see more users visit your website and want to speak to a live team member.

A Single Platform Isn’t Enough

Consider how a person who is unfamiliar with your business might act if they reach your website and find no chat program installed. They could read your main page but then want more information, and because they’re inclined to reach for more, they dial the phone number listed on your site.

Now think about how that could occur hundreds of times a day. Your team would be overwhelmed with live calls.

In some of those situations, though, you could expect customers to want more information about your product because they were unable to find the answer they needed. Perhaps others called you because they wanted to leave feedback but had no immediate way of reaching your team through a means other than by phone.

Expand the Ways Customers Can Reach You

This is a simplified situation, but it demonstrates how only a single path to information may not always be the best. Your team would receive a lot of calls. Your customers would need to wait on hold; they might even abandon your business altogether because they felt inconvenienced by their narrow set of choices.

Bringing a chatbot into the situation — combining it with a phone system — would help clear a lot of barriers.

  • Customer Preference

    : Customers could first see that they have multiple paths to get your attention or to find information.

  • Quick Information Access

    : Customers will be able to access information more quickly because chatbots can serve them quickly and because there will be a shorter queue for live customer service.

  • Your Team Isn’t Overwhelmed

    : Your team is able to take calls not only from customers who prefer voice service but also from a shorter list of people. 

Chatbots constructed in WotNot can also be tailored to specific situations, which can lead customers to better paths for getting in touch with your team through live chat or phone calls.

You could build multiple chatbots for your webpages and, for instance, keep one reserved for sales situations and another for customer service situations. Then you can display those chatbots on specific pages that are more sales-focused or more service-focused. Each one would have the opportunity to steer customers toward information that fits their needs, including the presentation of specific phone numbers of your team members.

You can decide when a handoff from chat to phone is appropriate, and you can decide how that situation is presented to customers. Then when customers do ultimately reach you by phone, the benefits of voice services will take over — including multiple phone choices, the ability for team members to work remotely, and call reporting that keeps your team informed about call traffic.

Benefits of Business Voice Services

What you gain with a business voice service is not unlike what a chatbot offers. Believe it or not, setting up a basic VoIP phone system can be completed in a few as five minutes.

More complicated setups, including those that make use of services like SMS texting or ACD queues, are also often a simple matter of noting your preferences, entering information about your team, and picking up the phone to make your first call.

A Plethora of Phone Choices

VoIP phone systems are able to use many types of phones because of the nature of the service. All calls in a VoIP system are routed through the internet, so you can use any phone that connects to the internet to complete calls.

For instance, a desktop VoIP phone might work well for your traditional in-office manager. An employee who travels every day may feel more comfortable using a webphone or mobile softphone app. Additionally, users can also have their calls forwarded to personal smartphones to receive calls wherever they’re located.

Remote Work Made Easy

The large set of phone choices makes remote work situations easy to navigate.

Although desk phones might fall out of favor when your whole team is working from home, the use of a webphone can turn any device with a web browser into a fully-compliant VoIP phone where you can complete and receive calls like you would on any other device.

All the features that work in this type of business phone system are also available on each of the phone types listed above. Users in remote locations can still be added to ring groups; they can still be reached through personal extensions (like x324); they can have their extensions listed in automated attendants that offer friendly greetings to inbound callers.

Easy Reporting

Reporting of call traffic can also be handled well within VoIP phone systems.

Basic call logs can offer benefits for small companies that only need to see the number of inbound and outbound calls they complete on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

Advanced reporting extends the breadth of those logs to include filtering and automatic email delivery. You can look at calls from a specific period or see which of your team members answered or dialed the most calls. You can also sort your reports by marketing or sales campaigns (filtering by phone number) as your chatbot takes advantage of offering those numbers to prospective customers.

Sustainability Through Choice

The more sustainable channels you offer your customers, the happier they will be. The key here, though, is to use sustainable methods of customer contact that fit your business well.

The fact that a WotNot chatbot is easily configurable will help make any business’s path to chatbot usage simpler and more streamlined. They can start with a simple layout and expand as they need more services.

Similarly, voice service is easy to set up and can be expanded as necessary. Yet it is only sustainable if you have the manpower to answer your phone lines. The steps to business expansion go hand-in-hand where, at each level of reaching more customers (through services to more states or through expanding ad campaigns) there must be an equal match of team members added and customer service options displayed.

Chatbots and phone systems make a great pair because they can be used by experienced and inexperienced alike. A quick chat or demo with your phone system provider can make it clear how your phone plan will function. Similarly, a discussion with WotNot can answer any questions you have about its service and abilities. Reach out today.

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