By Rene Mallari
Ecommerce companies increasingly use chatbots to resolve customer service issues, including decreasing wait times, boosting resolution time, promoting new products, and offering 24/7 support.
Chatbots are AI-based communication platforms that imitate human conversations. They have significantly changed customer service.
Acumen Research and Consulting reports that the global chatbot market value will reach over $3.4 billion by 2030, up from around $520 million in 2021.
Despite the growing popularity of chatbots, human-led customer service remains a critical element for stellar consumer experience (CX) and satisfaction in the next few years. Read on to know why.
1. Chatbots Don’t Fully Enhance Customer Support
AI-powered communication software improves support to a limited extent. For instance, chatbots free up phone lines because they answer common customer questions. They also help gather information (e.g., user name and email) for consumer profiling to customize conversations.
But when it comes to addressing customer service issues, especially the challenging ones, interacting with a live human agent is still the best option.
While human interaction is slower than conversational chatbots, the former allows the agent to spend more time listening to consumers and understanding their feelings. This establishes a sense of belongingness that callers experience during the engagement.
Many businesses emphasize fast customer service to get ahead of the competition. However, faster doesn’t necessarily translate to higher-quality support. Focusing on human resources is the best way to achieve a competitive edge.
2. Chatbots Lack the Human Touch
Innovative communication technology is beneficial in many ways but devoid of feelings consumers instinctively look for.
Unlike chatbots, human agents show empathy, an essential factor in forming genuine customer relationships. They understand callers’ concerns and emotions more profoundly than the latest AI software can handle.
Empathy is something unique to humans. Technological advancement will likely simulate such a trait soon, but intelligent machines will never experience it.
An organization paying more attention to empathy and understanding earns higher consumer loyalty and retention, leading to repeat sales. Customers prefer human-to-human responses and want specific answers and details to their questions. A company spending significant resources to personalize communications will gain a competitive edge in the long run.
Only live agents, not chatbots, learn and hone empathy skills to deliver a memorable CX. Customers sense if the person on the other end of the line is warm or sympathetic.
3. Chatbots’ Knowledge Depth Is Not at the Same Level as Human Agents’
Human agents’ high product knowledge is vital in customer service, helping them address consumer inquiries and issues. It enhances employee confidence, brand image, buyer trust and satisfaction, and sales.
Being well-informed about product or service features enables agents to provide high-quality customer assistance. When familiar with the ins and outs of all brand aspects, they can solve problems quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Their interaction with users and callers is smooth and positive.
Chatbots also answer inquiries as long as the information needed is in their database. But when a customer asks questions (tough ones, for instance) that are not in their databank, chatbots will likely provide incorrect solutions or be confused. They are not as adaptable or resilient as live agents in knowledge application.
4. Chatbots Work Best as Support for Human Agents
AI-driven applications work best as support. They help reduce errors and increase accuracy. Agents make mistakes occasionally in giving customers information. Chatbots help them by ensuring timely and correct data output because chatbots are computer programs with prewritten data and advanced algorithms.
Chatbots also serve as virtual assistants. They gather information about consumer habits and patterns. They instantly record consumer purchases, engagements, search terms, etc. Such specific functions assist agents in customer interaction.
Human agents are the top choice to provide exceptional CX. Aside from adaptability and empathy skills, customer service representatives are trained and experienced in solving problems. They have a solution for each product or service issue. If one agent cannot resolve a problem, they transfer it to a more qualified coworker.
5. Chatbots Are Expensive To Build
Setting up an infrastructure for AI technologies such as chatbots can be costly. The latest platforms carry a hefty price tag and need additional resources to implement.
Chatbot pricing varies based on business requirements. Developing technology from scratch in-house can fetch a price of at least $300,000. Ready-made chatbot systems are cheaper. Still, they cost between $40,000 and $80,000. The amount goes higher when different integrations and natural language processing applications are included.
Other expenses include regular updates, upkeep, and enhancements of chatbots’ database and customer communication procedures. Chatbots require regularly updated information or content to address consumer inquiries and requests adequately.
Upgrading to newer technology and deploying it across operations are time-consuming. They are also risky because AI-dependent customer service processes have yet to be proven methods of providing consistently excellent CX.
6. Chatbots Fall Short in Creativity
Businesses count on human agents when dealing with complicated issues or consumer frustration with their products or services. Customer service representatives possess what chatbots don’t have: creativity.
This soft skill means that agents can adapt to situations and find solutions to complex problems. Customer interactions differ from one another. Such a reality urges agents to be creative to offer the best possible consumer satisfaction in any scenario.
While chatbots provide consistency, they lack the creativity to address changing customer concerns. Again, AI-based services can correctly respond only if the inquiries are in their algorithms. Thinking outside the box is beyond their capacity. Chatbots are not programmed (yet) to explore new or unconventional ideas.
Using chatbots has advantages and disadvantages. Human customer service agents have their limitations as well. Make intelligent chatbots help agents in their daily tasks, enabling them to focus on what they do best.
Using both is a better way to provide an excellent customer experience.
About the Author:
Rene Mallari is a B2B content writer for Unity Communications, an Arizona-based Inc. 5000 company specializing in outsourcing and offshoring services.