Move over, Alexa and Siri. AI chatbots are doing more than setting alarms and turning off the lights. They have invaded the customer service space and are ruling it majestically. Businesses are using bots on their websites and apps to improve customer satisfaction and retention rates.
Customers are loving the on-demand service that bots provide. And businesses are lauding bots for their productivity and cost effectiveness. Bots seem to have no downside at all. Then why is their mainstream adoption still limited?
To answer this question, let’s examine the pros and cons of using chatbots in customer service.
How Chatbots Are Better Than Human Customer Service Agents
Chatbots have emerged from the shadows. They are being used in customer-facing departments such as sales and customer service. One of the reasons driving this trend is that customers enjoy interacting with bots.
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In a survey conducted by Drift, customers listed the following as the main benefits they enjoy when a website or app has a chatbot:
Chatbots are programmed software that mimic humans. But unlike humans, they work 24×7 without any decrease in efficiency. They neither fall sick nor throw a fit when made to work on holidays or after-hours. Customers love the fact that they can get assistance from bots any time of the day or night.
Chatbots answer customers’ questions in a fraction of a second. They are pre-filled with a huge repository of answers to expected questions. Compared to live agents, who can handle one customer at a time, chatbots are infinitely more productive.
Quick Resolution of Simple Queries
Bots are able to resolve simple questions, such as site navigation and business details, fairly quickly. They can network with other bots and search the web for answers that they don’t have. If they can’t give a satisfactory response, they route the customer to available agents. In any case, customers feel satisfied that they are in good hands.
Good Customer Experience
Chatbots are powered by artificial intelligence (AI). They greet customers by their names, give them intelligent shopping suggestions, and advise them about upcoming sales. All this amounts to a satisfied customer, which is the goal for every business.
From a business point of view, chatbots are a wise investment according to 57% of companies that have deployed conversational bots. Bots neither demand salary nor any retirement benefits. Though their development cost is hefty, their running costs are negligible.
Many companies are using bots to support their customer care agents. Bots handle the initial customer interactions and pass on the ticket to agents with a complete history of each customer. This aids in quick query resolution.
Why Chatbots Can’t Replace Humans
Not all companies are sold on the idea of having bots handle their customers. In fact, only 9% of companies surveyed by Accenture have a clear-cut strategy of leveraging bots. 65% are fence-sitters who are waiting to see how others fare with bots.
Chatbots fall short in the following areas:
- Data security: Chatbots gather sensitive data about customers while interacting with them. If this data is compromised, companies can face legal issues and lose goodwill.
- Understanding human emotions: AI-powered bots understand human language but not subtle emotions. Sophisticated bots can be trained in sentiment recognition but we can’t make them 100% foolproof.
Therefore, investing in chatbots at this early stage could be termed a gamble. Check out the complete list of pros and cons in this infographic created by team Shane Barker.
Image Courtesy: Shane Barker