Millions of consumers interact with chatbots on a daily basis without even noticing. They greet us when we browse websites, assist us when we give verbal commands to our smart devices, upsell us when we shop online, and direct us when we contact customer support. Business Insider experts predict that by 2020, 80% of enterprises will be using chatbots.

So what exactly is a chatbot? In short, a chatbot is computer software that has been designed to interact intelligently with humans online. The bot is programmed to take cues from human conversations, and using language association it can produce instructions, documentation and general guidance. Despite the common misconception that chatbots and artificial intelligence are here to take our jobs, they actually alleviate mundane tasks and make companies more performant. Chatbots can also improve the way we approach the future of work in field service.

Most field service organizations operate in saturated markets where the key to success hinges on competitive differentiation and great customer service. Chatbots can help support a robust customer service initiative by automating simple processes without losing the level of human interaction that customers require for a positive experience. 

A survey conducted by Spiceworks showed that 40% of large companies employing more than 500 people plan to implement one or more intelligent assistant or AI-based chat robot over corporate mobile devices in 2019. 

Here are just a few of the added benefits that chatbots and artificial intelligence can add to your field service organization.

1) Chatbot Automation Cuts Down on Service Calls
Chatbots make it possible for customers and technicians to resolve their own issues in real-time by accessing tutorials, step-by-step instructions or automated direction to place orders for replacement parts. With a chatbot as a first line of defense in resolving routine service issues, it’s possible for your service agents to spend more time resolving high-value tickets.

2) Chatbots Can Quickly Scale Your Service Department
Chatbots are like automated employees that can work without breaks, holidays or sleep! They can handle multiple customers at one time while alleviating your human resources from mundane tasks. Bots make it possible to scale through digital transformation without hiring more employees to perform the same set of tasks.

3) Chatbots Integrate with your Field Service Management (FSM) tool
Chatbots reduce the time a customer spends on hold by making it simple for them to book service requests that push directly to your FSM. By going online to request technical support, the customer or technician can transition with ease through an automated process that doesn’t require actual human interference until a technician receives the request to visit the customer site. When the chatbot is connected to your FSM, a solid record of all customer transactions is built, giving you fast and easy access to important KPI, and helping your AI to become smarter and more refined. 

4) Chatbots Increase Service Availability Outside of Routine Hours
It’s not always possible for companies to offer the same level of support on a 24/7/365 schedule. With a chatbot, you’re able to greet and triage technical support issues at any time. If the issue needs to be transferred to a human agent, that agent will move more quickly towards resolution, because the chat transcript has been automatically transferred to their CRM. With less repetition and downtime, the overall experience is more positive and efficient for the customer or technician, and the agent.

5) Chatbots Help Automate Field Service Requests
Traditionally chatbots are used for customer self-service, but in field service they can support technicians in the field. SightCall Video Assistance Chatbot for Salesforce is an example of a chatbot that can be used as a resource to help technicians when they are having issues resolving a service order. The technician can be guided by the bot to proper documentation and problem resolution, or they can request immediate visual support from a remote expert that can use Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence insights to guide them towards an immediate fix, reducing downtime and the need for additional truck rolls.

For more information on how to use chatbots for field service, contact SightCall here.