Chatbots Aren't Ready to Dominate the Conversation

Gemma Baker  |

Live chat has been described as the closest you can get in the digital world to having a real conversation. The interaction most commonly involves a visitor and operator engaging in a real-time, one to one chat to answer the visitor’s query instantly. Whereas other digital channels of communication, such as email and social media, can experience delayed response.

2016 has been a big year for automating customer service, including the rise of Chatbots. Facebook (FB) in particular has been focusing their efforts on integrating Chatbots into their Messenger. Other tech giants such as Microsoft (MSFT) and Google
(GOOG)
have also bought into this type of automation.

What are the Professionals Saying?

The tech giants may be at the forefront of any new technology; however the experts surrounding live chat software are torn when it comes to Chatbots. Some live chat providers have jumped straight away into developing their own, afraid to be left behind. Others have taken a steadier approach; listening to the everyday users of live chat and whether or not there is a demand for this technology or whether it is simply a fad.

Conversing

When speaking to a company through any means of communication, customers prefer to be speaking directly to a human. If customer service was meant to be automated, we would come face-to-face with robots in physical stores, restaurants and tourist attractions etc.

The customer experience is extremely important in building customer trust and loyalty, over 80% of Australian; European, American and New Zealand consumers have stopped doing business with a company following a bad customer experience according to telecoms research provider Ovum.

How can you build a good working relationship with something that is just programmed to answer your questions? The best customer service stories come from representatives that have done something so unusual that it surprises customers in a good way and gains their loyalty.

For example, a few months ago the story of William the Worm was spreading like wildfire across social media. If you didn’t read about, it here’s a brief explanation: a customer had brought a cucumber from Tesco (TSCO) and had found a dead worm inside the packaging, the customer service representative brilliantly matched the tongue-in-cheek tone of the customer, went beyond a standard reply and joined in creating poems and songs for the dead worm. Click the link above for the full story.

Due to the human response going viral and the flexibility that the representative was able to be creative, the brand earned a positive reaction, gaining more than just Mr. Metcalfe’s continuing custom.

Now imagine if a Chatbot was on the receiving end of the post. The responses would have been predefined for a complaint, apologize, gather more information and advise that someone will contact them to solve the issue. This would have been a missed opportunity.

Precision

Live chat has been implemented in contact centers and organizations to improve the first contact resolution rate. Precision is vital for improving the rate, and while Chatbot technology is still in its infancy, content provided by Chatbots can include false information, resulting in 2nd contact being required.

Cancer Research UK integrated live chat onto their website for trained nurses to speak with patients and advise accordingly, if this service was to be replaced by Chatbots, it could cause all types of serious issues and repercussions, especially if a patient was querying their medication and a Chatbot advised incorrectly.

Integrating

Businesses aspire to smoothly amalgamate their IT Solutions. Live chat software handled by real-life operators, has been developed to integrate with help-desks, customer relationship management systems and social media for a seamless experience. Chatbots currently stand alone from other customer support software.

The customer expects instant help; it is time consuming for a human representative to acquire the chat from a Chatbot. Without access to previously stored exchanges through a CRM system or a help-desk reference number, visitors can become frustrated at the time preoccupied by the representative recapitulating the interaction.

To conclude, Chatbots are not near as precise as their human counterpart and certainly should not be placed within organizations dealing with sensitive services such as Medical and Not for Profit. It is early days for this technology development; time will tell whether it can match the popularity and accuracy of live chat software.

Should Chatbots handle customer service enquires or should live chat be solely handled by humans? Share your opinions in the comments below.

Author Bio: Gemma Baker is the Marketing Executive for UK Live Chat software provider, Click4Assistance, with a range of digital knowledge within PPC advertising, SEO practices, email campaigns and social media.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer.

Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
FB Facebook Inc. 194.11 -2.64 -1.34 18,806,020 Trade
GOOG Alphabet Inc. 1,347.83 -2.44 -0.18 1,550,028 Trade
TSCO Tractor Supply Company 94.93 -3.34 -3.40 1,095,110 Trade
MSFT Microsoft Corporation 154.53 1.29 0.84 23,850,062 Trade

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