The Good & Bad of Chatbots

Approximately two-thirds (69%) of consumers prefer dealing with chatbots when they need customer support services.

Chatbots are unique computer programs designed to mimic human conversations. They interact with consumers via instant messaging applications by displaying a series of preset messages in response to specific keywords.

While their popularity among consumers has led to the widespread adoption of chatbots, this technology cannot entirely replace human interaction during the customer support process. To help your organization better understand when and how to deploy chatbots, here are five reasons chatbots work – and three reasons they may not.

What Chatbots Do Well

Companies often use chatbots to answer simple questions, solve basic problems, and perform straightforward customer support tasks. More advanced chatbots utilize artificial intelligence to “understand” the context of a conversation. Regardless, chatbots provide numerous benefits to consumers and businesses alike.

24/7 Coverage:

Today’s consumer expects round-the-clock support. However, it’s impractical for most companies to staff their customer support centers 24/7 due to call volume variations in non-peak hours. Chatbots offer an ideal solution for this coverage. Businesses can maintain continuous support by deploying chatbots without placing undue strain on staff teams. Chatbots answer simple account queries and may even be programmed to schedule a follow-up service call.

Faster Resolution:

Chatbots also solve common issues faster than customer support agents. Instead of calling a support line and waiting on hold for an undetermined amount of time, consumers simply interact with a chatbot on the company’s website. In this manner, common concerns can be addressed and resolved in seconds, not minutes or hours. The sooner a company can solve customer problems, the more satisfied those customers are with the support experience.

Simpler Journeys:

Calling a company for support and being placed on hold can be frustrating. Many businesses have added callback features to their phone-based support models to address this issue. While this approach can improve the support journey, chatbots offer even more efficient service. Providing a simple and efficient support experience is integral to preserving brand reputation. By offering prompt support, businesses can salvage potentially damaged consumer relationships and increase the likelihood that these customers will make a repeat purchase.

Quicker Updates:

Chatbots are excellent at performing simple tasks, such as updating consumer information in a customer relationship management (CRM) database. These bots can immediately transfer the information gathered during a conversation to the CRM, ensuring that the business has current contact data for all clients. This attribute makes chatbots especially useful for sales purposes as well. By deploying chatbots for simpler tasks, businesses can free up existing staff members to resolve more complex customer issues and tend to other time-sensitive situations.

Lower Workloads:

Chatbots significantly reduce the workload on in-house support staff. Lighter loads allow support agents to provide a higher quality of service to consumers that have more complicated problems. In addition, reducing the workload on often overburdened support agents boosts employee morale and ultimately increases retention. This benefit of using chatbots is especially significant, given that the customer support field has historically exhibited unusually high attrition rates. Over time, businesses will not need to employ as many support agents, as redundant tasks can be relegated to chatbots. This automation will decrease total operating expenses and give businesses more capital for expansion, product development, or other investments.

Where Chatbots Struggle:

When exploring ways to deploy chatbots within your organization, you mustn’t lose sight of the limitations of this technology. While chatbot technology may one day become advanced enough to replace the more nuanced aspects of human interaction, it’s not there yet. As a result, chatbots have some distinct shortcomings.

Gauging Voice Tone:

Chatbots communicate with consumers exclusively via text by analyzing keywords. Therefore, chatbot software struggles to gauge the tone of voice during a conversation. Chatbots cannot determine whether consumers are angry, frustrated, dissatisfied, or otherwise emotional based only on their messages.

Uncovering Root Cause:

As any good customer support agent knows, there are times when consumers simply want to be heard. Customers who call in understand that the agent did not cause the problem they’re dealing with, but they might still want someone to listen to their story. Chatbots won’t help dissatisfied customers with this type of support, nor can they identify the root cause of a problem from a detailed, personal story.

De-Escalating Issues:

Finally, chatbots are incapable of de-escalation. If an irate customer encounters a chatbot and has difficulty connecting with a human support agent, they may become even more upset with the situation — and the business. Conversely, support agents actively listen to a customer’s concerns. They can then discuss what solution would remedy the issue and resolve the support request without forwarding the call to a supervisor.

Goodbay: Where Technology and the Human Experience Meet:

Chatbot technology can be a valuable component of your overall customer support strategy. However, it is just that — a single component. In order to offer your customers the quality service they deserve, you must have the ability to connect them with talented support agents when necessary.

If you want to implement a support strategy that strikes the perfect balance between chatbot technology and human interaction, Goodbay can help. Contact us today to learn more about our outsourced support solutions.