Are Chatbots good for customer service?
Startups and small businesses are likely to encounter AI and machine learning options for their customer service delivery model. Here’s how live chatbots can help (or hinder) customer service.
Artificial intelligence is like an overeager summer intern: Full of outstanding potential, but not to be put in charge of the company. Not yet, at least. As noted in the Wall Street Journal, “artificial intelligence is still in its early adolescence, flush with new capacities but still very primitive in its understanding of the world.”
We urge startups and small business owners to take a closer look at what AI can (and cannot) deliver before putting a chatbot in front of your hard-earned customers.
How AI and machine learning can help customer service
It’s no wonder AI and machine learning are appealing to business owners: Chatbots have potential to be one of a company’s most effective and cost-saving customer service tools. Plus, it’s yet another communication channel you can offer your customers. When set in place, AI and machine learning can:
- Provide coverage in the middle of the night. “Around the clock” care is expected by most customers these days, but staffing for that shift can be burdensome and costly.
- Cut down hold time. Luckily for customers who don’t like to be put on hold (i.e. all of them), chatbots can respond instantly to their inquiries.
- Collect information on your customers’ behavior and predict future customer trends; an invaluable asset to a small business with big plans for growth.
However, there’s a catch: In order to make AI work best for your company, a human being needs to be standing by. As noted in Forbes, “…if the chatbot detects that the customer is angry, upset or frustrated, it will seamlessly transfer the interaction to a human to take over and finish assisting the customer.” In fact, 86% of customers say they should always have an option to transfer to a live person when dealing with a chatbot. Good customer service thrives off of what the customer expects, not what technology is the coolest.
Where AI falls short with customers
AI and machine learning, when not heavily monitored by humans, can have benign quirks that can be annoying to customers, such as:
- Missed social cues, including a lack of empathy while processing an inquiry.
- Difficulty understanding different languages or accents, leaving the customer discouraged and potentially offended.
- Not every inquiry can be answered by a bot, so it’s necessary to have a human support option.
There are also much more serious and perplexing cases of bias and racism in un-checked chatbots; the consequences of which can be devastating to a growing business.
A Simplr way to handle AI
Despite its potential quirks, AI is a compelling opportunity. Bottom line: it can deliver leading customer service at an ultra low cost. Plus, customers are increasingly conditioned to encounter a chatbot option for their inquiries. So, how can a small business successfully incorporate a bit of AI into their customer service model without losing time or resources “babysitting” chatbots?
Here’s where Simplr comes in. Our experts are closely supported by customer service- based machine learning. They serve as trusted (and warm-blooded) stewards of this transformative technology that can help deliver customer service at a low cost.
Let us focus on ensuring your customer service delivery model is as affordable and up-to-date as possible, and you can continue to focus on what matters most — growing your business.