AI chatbot for appointment scheduling

Our product specialist, Pragadeesh Jayachandran, played host for an integration session with an esteemed panel including, Ajin, Product Manager for Zoho SalesIQ, Anish Mathew, Senior Product Marketing Manager with Zoho Bookings, and Elavarasan Senguttuvan, Product Marketer from Zoho Bookings. They discussed the scope of chatbots, scheduling apps, the benefits of using AI chatbot for appointment booking and business use cases of the integration. Here are some excerpts from the session.

Pragadeesh: When businesses want to increase their operational efficiency by having self-service solutions, they first get a chatbot. Why do they do that, and what's the business value of a chatbot in the customer self-service world?

Ajin: Chatbots have become one of the most effective and powerful communication platforms, especially in customer support.

Why do businesses opt for a customer self-service solution like chatbots?

Let me share SalesIQ's example. We have a brilliant team of 10 support specialists. As the day goes by, business grows. Often, our CX team is stacked with multiple chats and mundane questions. Once we enabled the chatbot on our website and inside our product, we witnessed a massive decrease in the agents' workload.

How did it happen?

Our chatbot resolved the common or basic queries and passed only those that required the agent's attention.

To put that in numbers, in March 2023, we had 7.5K chats. Out of that, the chatbot responded to 3K chats, resolved ~1.6K, and passed the remaining to the specialists. Our chatbot resolution rate is more than 20%. Who wouldn't want to have this for their business?

On top of this, there are additional benefits as well:

Availability: Customers don't need to wait for support specialists' availability anymore. Chatbots are available 24/7, which help customers resolve their queries and issues addressed at any time of the day by themselves.

Cost effective: Small businesses cannot afford to have support specialists logged in around the clock. Chatbots are the perfect solution for their needs which will be available 24/7 and help in customer self-service.

Instant resolution: Chatbots respond instantly to customer queries, reducing waiting times. It can be linked to the knowledge base and, based on the query keywords, it'll share the respective articles with the visitors.

Scalability: Chatbots' ability to scale is evident, which helps businesses increase their efficiency by serving more customers.

All these factors pitch in, resulting in happy customers and a better return on investment.

In SalesIQ, we have a state-of-the-art no-code chatbot that helps our customers to self-serve. When we discussed how to add more value to it, we devised automated schedule options. So, we natively integrated the appointment booking feature inside SalesIQ.

That is how the SalesIQ and Bookings integration came into the picture.

Pragadeesh: Thank you Ajin for explaining the business value of chatbots. So, Anish, what's the scope of scheduling applications in customer self-service?

Anish: The scope of scheduling apps goes beyond mere scheduling. It is an integral part of the customer experience tool set.

Why do I say that?

Everyone needs scheduling apps as we all have meetings almost daily. We need it for communication, but businesses need them for revenue, too.

Businesses need to have processes and tools to ensure they can generate leads and revenue. However, many focus more on generating leads—ad tech, prospecting tools, email marketing, and CRM. This default lead-gen tech stack has gaps, and through them, they lose deals without even knowing it.

Imagine this: A VP of a large company visits your website. They have a question, but all you have on your website is an email address. Would they want to send an email and wait? They don't have time. You should answer their questions then and there with a chatbot. Or, if they prefer a meeting, you should have options to schedule a meeting. If you don't, they will go to a competitor who does.

Nobody's full-time job is finding software. Tools like SalesIQ and Bookings allow you to qualify and convert them in the short span they're looking at you. With the integration, you cut down delays and accelerate the lead velocity.

There's more. Customer experience doesn't work well in isolation. If these tools work in isolation, it'll be a headache. Thankfully, these tools integrate well with your existing tech stack.

Pragadeesh: Aptly put, Anish. Prospects want answers, and they want them now. They'll simply move on if we delay them anywhere in the funnel. Now, the critical juncture of the discussion, our customer self-service solutions: the SalesIQ and Bookings integration. So, Elavarasan, what does the customer get out of this integration?

Elavarasan: Businesses must provide excellent customer support and create a wholesome customer experience on their websites. If we don't facilitate that or give options for customers to self-serve, we'd be like Internet Explorer—slow to provide value and outdated.

As customers' first touch point, a website needs to be equipped to engage with them. Whether you're a solopreneur, an SMB, or an enterprise, one thing's for certain, your customer is trying to resolve their need quickly. Any delay from your side to get them on a call for the first interaction is a lost opportunity.

This is where your SalesIQ - Bookings integration helps. Together, it is a powerful combination as you can cater to your customers inside a single chat window.

If you ask about the technicality, there are two ways to use the Bookings - SalesIQ integration.

1) Use it in a chatbot, and show the option to book a call when required.

2) Use it in a live chat. When customers ask for a meeting, the agent can share the Bookings widget to book a call.

These options offer a lot of flexibility; if your team isn't available for a live chat during a non-business hour, for example, your chatbot can still collect appointments through Zoho Bookings.

This ideally removes all the time delays you may face. You don't have to engage with endless back-and-forth emails with customers to find a time—everything's automated.

Pragadeesh: That's well put, Elavarasan. We've discussed the scope, business use cases, and the ROI chatbots and scheduling apps brings. Anything to add, anyone?

Ajin: To summarize, SalesIQ integrated with Bookings is the key to handling hassle-free appointment processes by chatbots.

But there is more. In SalesIQ, we have other important native integrations that elevate the whole experience for businesses.

Get leads and convert them: With Zoho CRM, you can push website visitor details directly from your SalesIQ dashboard. Automatically convert them as leads or contacts right from the agent chat window.

Related resources:

Integrate CRM with live chat software

What is conversational AI?

what is conversational AI

Provide resolution: With Zoho Desk, convert chats into help desk tickets directly from our dashboard. Even missed chats can be automatically converted into a ticket, so you don't miss out on any prospects.

Collect payments: With Zoho Checkout, you can receive payments from your customers inside the chat window. There are a lot more integration options, too.

On the whole, SalesIQ is not just a live chat or a chatbot software; it is a 360-degree customer engagement platform, which can be used by all types of businesses from start-ups, and SMBs, to enterprises, across sales, marketing, and support departments, and industries such as ecommerce, finance, education, travel, and more.

If you'd like to learn more, schedule an exclusive demo now and check out what Zoho SalesIQ can do for your organization.


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