Despite the widespread automation of the customer service process, many people still prefer to talk to a human rather than a chatbots, even if it means waiting a long time for a connection. How to proceed in such a situation?
The development of technologies responsible for automating the process of communication with customers at such a stage that sometimes it is difficult for them to recognize immediately whether they are dealing with a live consultant or with a well-designed customer service program. So is it profitable for companies to disclose to customers sitting on the other side of the virtual keyboards or handset of the phone at all?
Chatbots are already the presence of communication.
More and more companies decide to “employ” chatbots, i.e. text or voice machines (voice bots) responding to customer inquiries. No wonder this solution has a lot of advantages:
- reducing the company’s operating costs
- faster contact with the “consultant” 24 hours a day
- the possibility of delegating live workers to more demanding tasks
- even in a situation where contact with a human consultant is necessary, the bot speeds up the settlement of the case (e.g. by collecting the necessary data earlier)
Importantly, in many cases, the programmed assistant is enough to solve the most common problems that customers contact by calling the hotline or contacting via the Internet messenger.
Chatbots – numbers worth knowing
- 67% – that many consumers around the world had contact with a chatbot in the last 12 months
- 87.2% – that many consumers assess their contacts with a digital assistant as positive or neutral
- 92% – this is how much the use of chatbots as a new communication channel of the company with consumers increased in 2020
- 75-90% – bots will successfully complete this part of communication with customers in 2022 in the banking and healthcare
- 68.9% – this percentage of calls with customers was completed in 2019 by digital assistants to a complete extent, without the need to involve a human being
- 87.58% – the average level of customers satisfied with contacts made exclusively with the use of a chatbot. Interestingly, the percentage of customers who were satisfied with communication after switching to a live consultant turned out to be 2 pp lower
- 68% – this percentage of customers indicate the possibility of getting a quick answer as an advantage of chatbots (this is the most frequently chosen answer)
- 60% – this percentage of customers prefer to wait in line for a connection with a consultant instead of using a machine
However, there is also a flip side to the coin. Despite the benefits of chatbots and their growing popularity, they still prefer talking to a live sales rep rather than the program if customers choose. And here comes a tempting dilemma – so isn’t it worth pretending that it is? The current level of development of this technology makes it possible, especially when communication takes place in text form. It is becoming more and more difficult to recognize whether we are dealing with a human or with artificial intelligence, and experts have found a way to hide this difference even more effectively. How? They proposed to program the bots in such a way that they would start to make mistakes.
Customers appreciate honesty
More precisely, it is not so much about hiding the fact that a living person does not serve the customer but about mitigating his irritation the moment, he finds out. According to the latest research conducted by scientists from the University of Göttingen, it is definitely not worth trying to hide the true “identity” of the chatbot when it starts to have problems with customer service, e.g. when it starts to the matter is more complicated and requires human intervention.
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In this case, the disclosure that the interlocutor was artificial intelligence (“Sorry, but I am not able to help you in this matter, my possibilities as a digital assistant are still limited”) not only does not lead to a negative perception of the company by the customer, but it has even a positive impact on the retention of users who feel treated more honestly and in partnership, at the same time having a clear signal that the company really wants to help in the matter they are addressing.
And yet chatbots will not replace consultants – or sellers.
According to Mark Roberge, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and author of the bestseller book Revolutionary Formula for Increasing Sales, programs and solutions based on artificial intelligence will not replace sales departments, whose role will be increasingly focused on understanding the customer based on available data.
The sales departments remain, though they have changed, says Roberge – they need to pay more attention to customer understanding, empathy, and a human approach. For this reason, I believe that artificial intelligence will lag behind human traders for many decades to come. It is worth focusing on customers, engaging in new sales channels, engaging influencers, or implementing modern strategies. It all starts and ends with how the customer wants to buy.
Chatbots should therefore be treated as other tools that should serve both sellers and customers, who should be able to connect with the department appropriate for a given case at the right moment. Regardless of whether the problem is solved by prompts of a virtual advisor or the help of a sales representative or a technical department is required, in the end, it is still essential whether the case has been brought to a positive conclusion and the client felt adequately “cared for”.
Unusual situations that require improvising in contacts between sellers and buyers do and will happen. In such a situation, human intervention turns out to be indispensable. Each such case should be used to improve the service and the very process of contacting customer service.
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