While chatbots are generally efficient and can be effective for quick resolutions for simple queries, they are not always seen by customers in a positive light. They can lack sophistication and clearly have limited capabilities when it comes to dealing with more complex questions or enquiries which need a more visible interaction or a bespoke solution. They lack empathy and even given advances in artificial intelligence, are rarely a realistic substitute for human response in customer experience.
Where there is a high degree of confidence in terms of the most common resolution requests, making some use of chatbot tech makes sense. Enquiries being made outside of normal business hours, for example, where there is an international customer base, timely resolutions at scale can be delivered without the need to wait for staff to be back at work. But again, for anything non-standard or in any way complex, a chatbot may inadvertently cause increased frustration as it attempts to direct a customer towards a solution that may not be correct. With this in mind, ensuring there is a prominent option to exit the ‘chat’ and escalate the issue on to human team member, along with an indication of the likely time to respond is crucial.
With increasing numbers of international and large-scale businesses placing greater reliance on chatbots, (it’s said up to 80% of brands), alongside a population buying more and more products and services online, customer interaction tech and AI capability is bound to improve over time. With continued investment and advancements, things may possibly reach a point where smarter chatbots can learn to trouble-shoot and even anticipate solutions in a more ‘human’ way.
Even with there being increasingly high expectations of instant issue resolution, for now, there is general acceptance that human interaction and communication remains extremely important in terms of an overall positive customer experience.
People will generally remember a good, value-added experience interacting with another human more than they will of an automated outcome. A bad experience delivered quickly is still a bad experience.