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Seamless Bot to Agent Handoff [and Back to AI]

February 10, 2023

In today’s post, we focus on a key feature of our new Business Messenger; a seamless bot to agent handoff. This is a common point of failure for many automated customer support systems. The few platforms that allow you to transition from bot to human often don’t support the reverse – the human back to AI handoff. Business Messenger provides a frictionless transition in either direction.

What is TrueLark Business Messenger?

Before we dive into our topic, we’ll give you some background. Business Messenger is an add-on feature to our best-in-class Virtual Receptionist. It takes everything great about our flagship solution and makes it even better. We’ve tailored it to the way savvy business owners in the beauty/fitness and dental industries manage communications.

Business Messenger:

  • Centralizes all conversations in your TrueLark account where you can follow up using the same channel from which the client contacted your business
  • Maintains a list of callbacks sorted by level of urgency
  • Allows you to pause the AI auto-response when needed, take care of a single issue, and then hand the conversation back to the AI
  • Integrates with any configuration of customer support architecture

Consistent Customer Satisfaction Requires Flexible AI

With that intro, let’s focus on number three, the ability to pause the AI and take over a conversation. While many customer interactions can be efficiently handled by Artificial Intelligence, there are some scenarios that require a human. If you’re trying to work through a problem with a customer, for example, you don’t want your tech to get in the way – because it can already be a fraught situation. Here are some common customer or patient interactions categorized by the most appropriate method.

When AI is Better

Appointments. An AI powered chatbot that integrates with your booking and POS system can book an appointment as well as take payment information.
FAQs. When clients or prospects want to learn about your products, services and pricing, or if they are seeking information like hours of operation, current promotions, etc.
Addons and Upsells. You can set up your AI platform to suggest addons with every service. (Even your best employees don’t remember to upsell 100% of customers or patients.)
Omnichannel Support. When clients contact you across several channels, for instance web chat, social media, text – it’s difficult to monitor them all. In this scenario, you need a way to consolidate the conversations in one inbox or dashboard. Keep in mind, however, that with the most advanced platforms, consolidation is just the first step. The system should still provide a way for you to see at a glance which conversations need follow-up by a staff member and which have been resolved by the AI.

When a Human is Better

Complaints. When a client is unhappy and wants a refund or apology from the manager.
Lost Property. If a customer believes they left a personal item at your business and wants to ask if you found it.
Complicated Invoicing Questions. If a customer or patient is confused about a bill and needs to talk about it in detail.
Override Existing Schedule. Sometimes you may need to override your current schedule to book an appointment

How Do I Combine My AI Chatbot With Live Support?

To successfully manage the scenarios described, you need a customer service chatbot platform that makes it easy for you to take over the conversation, solve a specific problem and then hand it back to the AI. This delicate balance of automation and personal engagement provides important benefits:

Improved Customer Experience. You are better equipped to handle a complex or emotional customer interaction, and can provide a more personalized and human touch when necessary.
Increased Efficiency. By allowing conversational AI to handle routine inquiries, you can focus on more complex customer questions, increasing overall efficiency and productivity.
Accuracy Oversight. With the ability to review the AI’s responses, you can help ensure your AI customer service platform is providing accurate answers to the client.
AI Training Opportunities. If you have an AI vendor like TrueLark, the handoff between AI and live agent can provide opportunities for the AI to learn from the interactions and improve its responses over time.

Chatbot, Bot, Communications Management Platform and Customer Experience Solution

Customer communications automation is a relatively new field with its own lingo. The terms “chatbot,” bot,” “communications platform,” and “customer experience solution,” have different meanings, depending on the vendor and the industry for which it’s designed. The terms “chatbot” and “bot,” for example, describe software that carries on conversations with customers or patients through texting or web chat. It’s important to understand that there is a broad range of capabilities that fall under the “chatbot” umbrella. On the low end are keyword-based bots that can perform a few simple tasks if the customer uses the right keywords. For instance, the bot may be able to book an appointment for a single service. Many low-end bots can be set up by the user with a chatbot builder. However, because they don’t have a mechanism to “learn” as they converse with customers, their capabilities remain static.

Forward-Thinking Business Owners Use Comprehensive Solutions

On the other end of the spectrum are sophisticated Artificial Intelligence solutions that use NLP (natural language processing) and machine learning. These platforms are developed by AI specialists that train the bot with millions of conversations in the target industry. The TrueLark Virtual Receptionist, for example, has been trained for two different markets; 1) beauty/wellness/fitness and 2) dentistry. Sophisticated communications systems like TrueLark can handle far more complex issues. Our solution, for example, can book appointments for multiple guests and integrates with a wide variety of business software including payment and booking platforms.

Furthermore, a full-service vendor like TrueLark customizes the AI assistant for the client’s business model and our service team continually monitors it. This way, they can ensure it’s working correctly and solve problems as they arise. In the process, they train it to handle increasingly complex issues. This is how the “Software as a Service” (SaaS) model is supposed to work. SaaS implies a dynamic partnership between vendor and client, one that provides increasingly more business value over time.

With that explanation, note that when we use the term “chatbot,” or “bot,” we are referring to the software that converses with the customer, though it may be a component of a larger and more powerful customer communications solution.

A Smooth Bot to Agent Handoff

Chatbot–human handoffs can be a tricky process for businesses to manage. It’s important that the transition is as seamless as possible, so customers don’t feel like they are being passed around or ignored. This is a critical customer touchpoint. If handled with empathy and finesse, you might retain a client or patient even if they were initially unhappy with your service.

On the flip side, if a frustrated client can’t communicate easily with you or a customer service team member, they may quit supporting your business or practice. Business Messenger creates a bridge between the automated system and the live agent so that customers can easily transition from one to the other without having to repeat themselves or start over from scratch. In some situations, the customer may assume a live agent is responding the whole time.

With flexible AI customer chat, you can see the full history when you pause the auto-response and step in. This allows you to quickly pick up where the AI left off and continue the conversation with context. The customer won’t need to repeat themself to get you up to speed.

Manage all Conversations in Your TrueLark Dashboard

Business Messenger provides an easy to use interface to manage conversations from all of your customer service channels. These could include chatbots, SMS tools, contact center software, social media and digital channels at multiple business locations.

Let’s quickly review the basic goals of automated customer service. Pay attention to number five, because few platforms have added this critical feature:

  1. The platform captures every call during or outside of business hours
  2. Provides a way for you to monitor or respond to every customer communication
  3. Consolidates calls from multiple channels and locations in one dashboard or inbox
  4. Tracks calls handled and those that need human follow-up
  5. Provides a seamless way for a staff member to pause the auto-response, take over the conversation, solve a specific issue and then hand it back to the AI

Business Messenger takes your customer service operations to the next level by harmonizing automation with human processes. This ensures that your clients are always receiving the best service possible and that you are meeting their needs in a timely manner.

The Power of Customer Analytics

TrueLark also provides detailed analytics so you can track how successful your AI human handoff process is and make changes when needed. Our analytics provide valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends, which you can use to improve the customer service experience.

Additionally, you can use this data to create targeted campaigns and promotions that are tailored specifically to your customers’ needs. By leveraging the power of TrueLark AI technology, businesses can ensure that their customer service experience is always up-to-date and relevant.

The Quality of Customer Service Can Make or Break Your Business

To maintain customer loyalty, businesses must move from manual processes to AI-driven solutions that significantly improve outcomes. An advanced AI communications platform (which includes seamless live agent handoff) can significantly improve both customer engagement and efficiency. If you’re in a competitive market and have narrow margins, this can tip the scales from surviving to thriving.

Learn More About Business Messenger

Today’s post is the fourth article in our 5-part Business Messenger series. Previous posts include:

Book a Business Messenger demo to talk with a TrueLark specialist and discuss your customer service needs.

Also, check back for the final post in our Business Messenger series and thanks for visiting our blog!


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