By Paul Selby
Live chat in customer service has experienced continued popularity over the last several years. Why? Among the reasons cited by customers include all-hours availability and lack of a perceived hold time.
That popularity as a customer service channel along with ever-evolving technology has fueled growth in its automated equivalent: the chatbot. Gartner believes that by 2020, twenty-five percent of customer service and support operations will offer some form of chatbot. They also claim continued advancements in supporting technologies like natural-language processing, machine learning, and intent-matching are making chatbots significantly more useful for customers. Early results for companies using chatbots have shown reductions of up to seventy percent in call, chat, and email traffic; increased customer satisfaction; and cost reductions of up to thirty-three percent over voice engagement.
The problem? Neither human agent nor chatbot is perfect on their own; each has benefits and shortcomings. Together, however, they offer a powerful customer service combination.
Because their questions and responses are scripted, chatbots can respond quickly to customer inquiries. They can run through a decision tree and offer up canned dialog to quickly triage a problem and offer a known solution. With these common interactions already documented, some chatbots also offer simple click or tap selections for the most likely responses, saving the customer typing time. A human agent might have macros for some common exchanges but would be forced to type out most responses.
Chatbots are able to outpace their human co-workers because they deal with the known. But with their solutions coming from human-scripted responses or as a result of machine learning, a chatbot’s knowledge is limited to what has been previously solved. A human, on the other hand, can diagnose new issues on-the-fly. By asking questions, troubleshooting, and drawing parallels to other problems and solutions, they become the creators of new solutions that fellow human agents (as well as chatbots) can utilize. True artificial intelligence would make reasoning possible for the chatbot, but it’s not yet commercially available.
Customers want the right answer the first time they contact customer service. Clearly, chatbots perform well within the scenarios they recognize and know. If they lack a solution, the customer is left to explore other self-service options or to contact a human agent. While human agents are more adaptable and can address both common and new issues, new or unfamiliar issues might require asking fellow agents, performing some troubleshooting, or require offering a future callback when a solution is found. Human beings are also prone to making mistakes.
One of the greatest benefits chatbots bring to customer service is availability. They are ready for duty every day, all hours. They don’t require breaks or take vacation. They tackle high volumes of customer interactions with ease. Human agents work set hours, require periodic breaks, get sick, and take well-deserved vacations. While skilled agents might be able to handle …read more
Read more here:: B2CMarketingInsider