As you can imagine, the benefits of chatbots for online brands are plentiful:

  • They give users instant responses to their queries
  • They offer 24/7 assistance
  • They speed up business processes

They’re awesome!

But:

Are chatbots the right answer for every customer interaction?

 In this article, we’re going to look at why chatbots are needed and discover how they help to handle customer service queries in order to answer that very question!

 Let’s dive in…

Why do I need a chatbot?

 Last year, when both Facebook and Microsoft announced that they would be investing heavily in chatbots, they suddenly became the latest thing. And we all know that one of the most important strategies in business is to keep up with the latest trends and stay one step ahead of your competitors.

Chatbots can improve numerous business processes, productivity being the main one. There is no physical limit to the number of simultaneous sessions a chatbot can engage in, making them perfect for peak usages. Chatbots are also great for quickly sifting throughlarge volumes of data. So by allowing a chatbot to do the monotonous, automatic stuff, your staff can be utilised elsewhere. One such example of this is the that can give legal advice in just 30 seconds and boasts itself as being the world’s first robotic lawyer.

 Most likely the biggest reason you need a chatbot is because customers expect them – at least they are beginning to. When customers contact a brand, 42% of them expect a response within 60 minutes, and 32% expect a response within 30 minutes. Fulfilling needs as demanding as this without a chatbot would be pretty difficult, particularly in the evenings and on weekends.

 So, there’s our argument for why you need a chatbot. But everything has pros and cons, right? Let’s weigh up the benefits of chatbots against the drawbacks…

Chatbot Pros

  1. People Like Them

A recent survey discovered that 50% of internet users would interact to a chatbot or virtual assistant if the service was available to them. Add this to the fact that people are now using messenger apps more than they are using social networks, and one thing is clear: people like this form of communication.

Chatbots offer information in an instant, clear and uncluttered format. Unlike talking to a customer service assistant on the phone, chatbots allow people to get on with other tasks while solving the problem they are having with a particular business.

  1. Instant Gratification

Think about the last time you waited for something online. Maybe it’s been so long that you can’t remember. Or maybe it frustrated you so much you remember it like it was yesterday. The internet has created a world of instant gratification:

  • Want to know the name of that song stuck in your head? Google it.
  • Want to watch the gag reel of your favourite TV show? Head to YouTube.
  • Want to catch up with your friends? Open your messenger app.

Everything we could possibly want is right at our fingertips, and that’s exactly how we like it.

 According to VentureBeat, 51% of people say a business needs to be available 24/7. This sense of instant gratification is what draws users to chatbots. Chatbots allow us to get answers instantly, almost as if we were in a real store.

  1. Chatbots get better with time

By using machine learning and cognitive services, chatbots can continuously do a better job while creating a richer Knowledge Base for future answers. Also, they learn to detect more intentions (actions required to do) and customer sentiment, transferring to a human agent when the customer is signalled as frustrated or angry. This allows for a really good synergy between bots and human agents in a next generation contact center ecosystem.

  1. Staff Reductions

You can hire less staff and apply the savings on agents training in order for them to handle more complex interactions. Chatbots allow businesses to give customers a one-to-one experience without relying on people who may inconsistently represent the brand.

Chatbot Cons

  1. Staff Reductions

As much as staff reductions are a pro, they can also be a con. Although a loss in jobs will save money, it can be damaging for staff morale and also public image.

 By losing staff members, you lose the friendly demeanour and conversional skills that chatbots can’t provide. In other words, you lose the ‘human touch’ and some customers may find your business less personable because of it.

  1. They Can’t Do Everything

Chatbots work in a very formulaic manner. They are designed to recognise key phrases and provide set responses. They do not have the capability to respond to complex questions or give advice. The main functionality of a chatbot should be to answer simple queries, FAQs, and to give updates.

For everything else, the customer should be passed to a human rep.

The Solution

So, looking at all the facts, let’s answer the question that this article started with:

Are chatbots the right answer for every customer interaction?

No.

Sure, chatbots are an incredible asset for any brand. But when situations begin escaping their control, you need a human agent ready to step in and take over. It’s all about finding the right balance between AI and human interactions. As we touched upon previously, bots are useful for handling basic requests and queries, but it is important to remember that, in customer service, a human touch is always needed.

Monitored Bots (available on Nubitalk’s Advanced edition) establishes a framework to implement chatbots with the right balance between AI and Human interaction. If the chatbot can solve the query on its own, it’s great. Otherwise, whenever a conversation reaches a certain moment, the system determines this conversation needs to be transferred to a human, and routes to the best available agent, passing along full customer profile and chatbot history, in a seamless transition.

Ultimately, humans and bots can be working alongside ensuring low churn rates and the best possible customer satisfaction.

Closing Thoughts

Although they are not right for every interaction, chatbots still present a huge opportunity for brands that want to engage with their customers.

If you want to discover more about chatbots, book a demo today and we’ll show you how to apply this tool to your specific business needs.

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