A few years ago when artificial intelligence and chatbots were introduced to the debt collection industry there were concerns it signalled the death of email, but email is the great survivor of the digital age.
Instead of butting heads with this smart communications tool it did the ‘smart’ thing, deciding to embrace the bot to form a powerful new tool, the email bot.
As a simple definition, an email bot is an automated communications tool that can respond to an incoming email or is used to start a conversation by sending outbound content. Communication can be customised and scheduled with the aim of helping the customer achieve certain goals without the need for interacting with a person.
What we found when we added chatbots or autoresponders to our email communication, they supercharged our e-coms, acting not only as a reminder but also an engagement tool to vastly improve interactivity, response rate, information distribution and customer nurturing.
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Email-bots enjoy many of the same benefits of its brethren, the website bots and SMS bots, such as: being available to customers 24/7, offering instant responses and offering a self-service option for customers, increasing customer satisfaction by operating on the customers’ terms.
But there are some ways in which email bots offer benefits different to its ‘family’ members. In this blog, we highlight 5 email-centric benefits of why you should be considering partnering with a company that offers email bots as part of its ‘chatbot’ armoury.
Data has become a valued currency in all industries, helping to drive customer experience and expectations. The by-product of this is it’s nearly impossible to sign up to any digital service without having to fill in compulsory data fields and email is considered the most crucial data field of them all.
The 2014 government census measured that nearly 90% of the UK adult population held an active email account, measure that against the largest social media platform Facebook: 70%. Now in 2020 with the world becoming increasingly digital we would expect that number will have grown further.
With these statistics in mind, email, therefore, becomes a crucial collections tool for the modern-day collections department or DCA. Integrated with the power of chatbots you can start to appreciate why.
Automation and lead nurturing
The nature of chatbots is to create automated workflows and sequences that’re helpful to the customer and achieves a client’s targets. Mail bots are perfect for this type of two-way communication.
Bots can offer the customers 1-to-1 engagement helping their experience feel personalised. Artificial Intelligence (AI) learns on the run gathering data and feeding it back; helping to improve the content and efficiencies of the responses.
This all plays an important part in developing successful nurturing workflows keeping the customer at the centre of the conversation and helping them achieve their debt reduction goals, by keeping their account front of mind with intelligent replies and reminder emails.
Email bots are user-friendly for both customers and collections teams.
Collections teams can schedule responses for the right time of day to maximise the open rate of the email. For example, the email marketing company Omnisend’s research suggested the best times to send email is at 8 am, 1 pm and 5 pm during weekdays for higher open rates.
This helps the customer because the emails are scheduled for times data says they are more welcoming of email and as such more likely to engage with the content in the email, which helps the client.
As we know not all things are equal, so the times suggested above may not relate to your customer base and that’s fine because another incredibly user-friendly aspect of email is the data feedback most good email software will provide you, allowing you to redesign your processes regularly for better and higher engagement rates.
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If you have chatbots already working on your website and SMS then email bots will be another great addition for your customers, offering them a further self-service tool. Not everyone wants to speak to a person directly due to the sensitivity of the subject, time-saving, or just personal preference, so chatbots become a brilliant solution.
An email bot can be built on similar work sequences to the other bots in your network of customer-friendly tools. Utilising comparable communication tone, speed of response and nurturing workflows.
This multi-platform user-friendly approach will help continue your customer-centric approach to business helping your company look good and achieve your targets.
The fact that nearly all adults use an email account suggests it’s a trusted communication tool. Ummm… maybe ‘trusted’ is the wrong word because we should all be vigilant to protect ourselves and our devices from viruses, scams and those pesky phishing emails which seem to populate the email ‘universe’.
But there are a couple of reasons why we are at least comfortable with email:
- First up it’s a communication tool we’re familiar with. It’s been around a long time before SMS and text messaging and any of the social media coms platforms. It’s something many of us grew up with, something our parents, bosses and friends all have, simply put it’s now just a part of our everyday existence.
- Another reason for being comfortable with email is that it’s perceived to be less invasive. Due to the intimacy of social communications platforms being people we know directly like friends and family we will often think of email as something we will ‘eventually get to’ and it not always needing an immediate response, leaving it to be able to be dealt with in a time and place the customer feels comfortable.
- Email has suited us well over the years and due to its user-friendliness and reach, it will not give up its title of ‘king of communications’ without a fight. It’s embedded into our digital existence and as such its evolution to integrate with other forms of chatbots and autoresponders showcase its flexibility.
The CRS Way
We launched our email bot (we’ve named her CRiSe) back in 2017, gaining tremendous experience and improving her workflows consistently. CRiSe scans all incoming emails with an average response time of 60 seconds and like our website bot(CRiS) and SMS bot (CRiSte), she never sleeps and works tirelessly 24/7.
She uses AI to ‘learn’ common words and phrases and builds responses accordingly. Like all of our bots, if a query is unable to be answered the email will be forwarded onto one of our team members to be manually worked through to completion.
CRiSe has also been programmed to recognise accounts to be flagged when keywords like ‘mental health’ and ‘suicide’ are mentioned, allowing one of our agents to act accordingly and pick up the conversation fully prepared.
Our stats are showing us CRiSe is offering customers a great ‘one-touch resolution’ option to getting their questions answered.