Over the course of the past few years, technological advancements in the fields of business intelligence, artificial intelligence, and messaging platforms have propelled chatbots into the realms of customer support and interaction. Regardless of the ongoing debate about the role of the chatbot in customer communications, it looks like the trend is not going anywhere, at least not any time soon.
Chatbots versus human interactions
It seems like there is currently an ongoing battle in the customer service world: chatbots versus humans. Both sides fight to conquer the customer experience. Chatbot skeptics are concerned that the lack of human touch might negatively affect the overall outcome of the customer experience, but you should probably hold off placing a bet on a winner just yet.
It might make sense to use a different lens and look at the relationship between chatbots and humans not as a competitive one but as a collaborative one. The intersection of chatbots and human customer service agents is where a significant opportunity is created.
Chatbot assisted customer service
Chatbots are designed to handle scripted transactions and simple communication tasks, and as such, they are not likely to take over and manage every aspect of customer communications. On the other hand, automated technology such as chatbots can generate interesting sets of data that discern communication patterns. These sets of data can be used as an additional feedback source for Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs or as critical information that enhances internal knowledge bases.
A pattern in itself is useless, but a set of data that is seamlessly transferred over to a living, breathing customer service representative is a very different thing. Such data allows live agents to have the context and history of all the customer’s previous interactions with the brand. That information can empower the customer service agent to anticipate the customer’s issue before the customer even raises it. Immediately the customer service experience becomes more personal, and the issue is dealt with faster and more effectively.
Chatbots, when utilized properly can work with live agents, not against them, and will ultimately help the customer be heard and helped. An exceptional customer service performance translates into higher satisfaction rates and better feedback on the agent’s individual performance. Maybe chatbots are here to revolutionize the customer experience. Maybe not. Either way, we would be remiss not to explore the opportunities that come with their implementation.