Last year roughly 34,000 chatbots took on business functions–mostly in response to a growing need for automated assistance in customer care. And last November, in coordination with Sprout Social, Evernote implemented a Twitter chatbot into their social customer care strategy and increased the number of customers helped via Direct Messages each month by 80%.
As chatbots evolve to better support business’ needs, Sprout is building automated workflows that bring chatbots to life in social conversations. Today, we’re introducing Sprout’s Bot Builder: a new set of tools that empowers brands to resolve customer issues at a faster rate and offers unique marketing experiences for their customers and followers. Available in Sprout’s Enterprise plan, the new offering enables brands to create, preview and deploy Twitter chatbots in minutes.
In addition to Evernote, several Sprout customers across a wide range of industries have enjoyed exclusive early access to the Bot Builder. @Monarch, @BloomsburyBooks and @GVCMortgage are successfully using Twitter chatbots to better engage customers over Direct Message.
“Sprout Social has long been one of our favorite solutions for businesses who want to get the most out of engaging with customers on Twitter,” says Ian Cairns, Group Product Manager at Twitter. “We’re really excited that they’re keeping up their leadership by being the first to market with a simple, scalable and intuitive bot builder designed for customer service teams.”
In a recent survey, 67% of respondents reported that they used a chatbot for customer support in the last year. But 56% of people said they still preferred to speak with a human over getting automated assistance.
Sprout believes that automation should not replace humans; rather it should augment their workflow to result in better and faster outcomes. Automation should support repetitive tasks and then transfer customers to human agents once they have the proper context to resolve their issue.
“Before Quick Replies, we were going back and forth trying to get information to solve a customer’s problem,” said Dorothy Spira, Social Media Specialist at Evernote. “Now I can solve the problem with one message.”
Sprout’s Bot Builder enables brands to streamline the conversation and map out these experiences based on simple, rules-based logic. Using Welcome Messages, brands can greet customers as they enter a Direct Message interaction on Twitter. Welcome Messages can be used to say hello, ask a question or provide instructions on how to get started.
Next, brands can set context for the conversation and prompt users with the best ways to reply to your Welcome Message with preset Quick Replies. Once a user selects a Quick Reply, a unique Auto-Response will follow. By creating a unique auto-response for each Quick Reply option, your chatbot can continue the conversation and guide people to next steps.
When it’s time for the chatbot to hand off to a human, the agent steps into the conversation with the information they need to address inquiries. As Evernote’s success demonstrates, this results in more people helped per agent in less time–and ultimately happier humans on both sides of the conversation.
Managing conversations with chatbots can be tricky, especially as workflows get more complex. Sprout’s Bot Builder is designed to keep brands in control by promoting full transparency for your team and customers.
To ensure you know what your customers can expect as they interact with your chatbot, you’ll be able to view each chatbot conversation on a real-time, dynamic previewer before setting it live.
And, to set proper expectations for your customers, you have the option to give your bot a unique identity. Custom Avatars let your customers know when they are talking to a bot versus someone on your team.
But perhaps the best way Sprout helps you manage your chatbot conversations is by enabling a seamless handoff between bot and agent in the Smart Inbox. All messages will stream into the Smart Inbox as users interact with Quick Replies and respond to your chatbot’s questions. At any point in the conversation, the human agent is able to step in immediately and either reply, task, tag or mark as complete. This way your human agents will be in full control of every conversation.
In addition, all of your chatbot messages will appear in the user’s History so that you always have full context.
Chatbots offer a new way to scale personalized 1:1 engagements. They can be used to create unique brand experiences that complement a socially-driven marketing campaign or multi-channel business objective.
If you’re looking for new ways to scale your customer care efforts on Twitter, chatbots offer an efficient and unique experience for both brands and customers. You can even get creative and build a chatbot with Quick Replies and Auto-Responses to recommend specific products, support existing marketing campaigns or drive new ones.
Twitter chatbots don’t have to be siloed by department or objective. Take @GVCMortgage and @BloomsburyBooks, for example. With multiple, dynamic Quick Replies, a single chatbot can seamlessly blend the worlds of customer support and brand marketing with fun, engaging content and helpful service.
“It doesn’t matter if you have several thousand or several hundred thousand Twitter followers,” notes Cairns, “Sprout’s Bot Builder makes it easy for brands of all sizes to get started building a simple bot for customer care or marketing purposes.”
Twitter and Sprout Social have a unique partnership, jointly developing new products together to offer innovative, easy-to-use solutions. As you get started with bots, we’ve created a new guide with recommendations and best practices for a clear and compelling chatbot experience. With the right strategy and tools to create new, automated workflows, it’s up to you to decide how you’d like to implement them. We can’t wait to see all the amazing experiences you build!