As chatbots become increasingly more developed, and the demand for instant online customer service continues to rise, the debate about whether we should be using chatbots in business is creating divided opinions. The truth is, there is a strong case for both sides. There is no doubt chatbots can be beneficial to both businesses and their consumers, but they can also be a nuisance for customers who have a more serious problem and just want human assistance.
Improving Online Experience
In the on-demand world we now live in, chatbots could be the solution to customer desires for constant customer service. When customers were asked about the issues they face with current online experiences, a recent survey revealed that 31% of people cited problems finding the answers to simple questions. 28% said basic details about a business are difficult to find, and 27% said it takes too long to find services they require.
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This is a huge percentage of people who are put off using a website due to these simple issues. Businesses are no longer providing the experience customers are looking for, and these issues could be fixed by marketing technology, specifically chatbots.
Using Machine Learning, chatbots are becoming ever more intelligent; when customers just need a simple question answered, chatbots are ideal — especially for small customer service operations that might not have the manpower to deal with all the consumer queries coming in.
Evidence of chatbots being used successfully is found in KLM Royal Dutch Airline’s Bluebot. This AI is used to assist people on the airline’s website, helping them book flights. KLM reportedly recorded over 1.7 million messages from 500,000 passengers sent to Bluebot. For human customer service agents to deal with that many customer queries would be time consuming and extremely costly. KLM have shown that chatbots can be a great asset to companies with a high volume of requests from customers.
Not only could these AIs improve customer satisfaction, they can also benefit your business’s profit margins. A high number of online consumers will leave a site if they don’t find the right help in a short period of time, so chatbots’ ability to respond quickly could help you retain potential customers. Chatbots also massively reduce manpower needed to operate a business’s customer service, cutting costs and thereby resulting in bottom-line gains.
Be Smart with Chatbots in Business
Despite all the arguments for the use of chatbots, a large number of consumers still don’t like them. According to research done by GetApp, when asked what form of customer service they prefer, 36.8% said speaking to someone over the phone. 9% said chatbots would be their favorite form of communication.
9% of customers is still a considerable amount, especially considering that an additional 12% said they value a quick response the most when it comes to customer service.
Still, in order to find the perfect balance when it comes to customer service and online experience, you must be smart with when to use chatbots. AI is perfect for dealing with simple queries, but you shouldn’t put too much emphasis on chatbots — when customers face more serious or complex problems, a real-life assistant is of far more use.
Another survey revealed that 30% of customers are worried about chatbots making mistakes. The lack of trust in chatbots when it comes to dealing with bigger problems could lead to consumers getting frustrated if they have a query.
Moving forward, it seems sensible to use chatbots for smaller, simpler queries. When an instant response is necessary, they are great for helping customers navigate websites or offering further information on products. But you should avoid putting too much responsibility on AI. Make sure you have an experienced, professional customer service team at hand to deal with requests from consumers needing more complex solutions or looking to bypass chatbots.