Have you been caught off balance after reading the title? Well, brace yourself then. This is a very real possibility and to tell you the truth, chatbots have already breached the space which was once considered the sole realm of human beings. A customer care executive is supposed to have a certain level of maturity and intelligence to deal with customer service requests but with the massive advancement made in the field of artificial intelligence, ‘intelligent’ chatbots are also showing off their skills with remarkable efficiency and competence.
The biggest tech companies in the world have prophesied that integration of chatbots into messaging systems would herald a new dawn in the field of artificial intelligence. This is the closest that AI has come to commercial application and may soon bring about a paradigm shift in the way human beings interact with technology. Chatbots may soon be drafted in contact centers to assist human agents. Major technological companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook are expending billions of dollars to develop chatbots which can provide an experience very similar to human interactivity. Facebook M, Apple Siri, and Microsoft Tay are futuristic chatterbots which hold a lot of promise.
Why should you consider chatbots for your contact center?
The biggest advantage that you can achieve is the reduction of logistical and labor costs. The world is staring at another recession and the business environment is still not conducive in most developed countries including the US. In such an uncertain period, the only thing that is going up steadily is the establishment cost of running a business. In addition, dwindling margins of profit and slow pickup in business activities have started to bother business leaders. A recent survey in the US has shown that almost half the respondents preferred to use text messages for troubleshooting rather than talking to human agents. Experts are of the opinion that such empirical studies could motivate call centers to look at chatbots and they will soon be in high demand.
What are the other advantages?
Chatbots can suitably interact with customers through text chats, voicemails, messaging and video chatting to optimize customer experience. A lot of problems and services required are repetitive in nature and often prove to be tiring for human agents. A chatbot has been programmed to do the same thing over and over again. Moreover, chatbots are intelligent enough to understand a human query made in a particular context. It can provide a specific response, unlike search engines. These bots will be unbiased and will never suffer from fatigue. If the basic troubleshooting duties are passed onto chatbots, human executives can be involved in other revenue generating projects like cold calling or warm calling high-value customers and leads.
For example, if a flight gets canceled or rescheduled, rather than having a human agent call each flier individually, the duty could be delegated to a chatbot which can call or send voice messages and inform them. It has a more personal touch than emails and texts which often feel disconnected, especially when communicating with a customer about an unfortunate inconvenience.
Chatbots can chat with customers in a friendly manner, which immediately improves the customer experience, and generates repeat sales as well as more recommendations.
Chatbots can also collect personal data from your customers. Coupled with advanced predictive tools, the data gleaned can be used to create a more personal experience for the customers. Also based on the valuable inputs provided by chatbots about customers, campaign concepts can be designed to target a small number of homogeneous customers which would ensure better conversion of leads.
The bots will also address the issue of scalability of your business. You can expand your business across verticals without hiring any more employees. Agents would not have to deal with high volumes during peak hours or inadvertently force those whose calls do not get answered to renege. A major portion of the inbound traffic would be diverted to these messaging platforms. Constant human monitoring is also not required, freeing up contact center managers to focus on sales generation. This will have a distinctive advantage for small businesses, with limited employee strength. That would mean a more level playing field for all players.
Tech companies have claimed that these bots can be easily be integrated into the existing telephony and messaging platforms, without further cost escalation.
Is it too early to take a call?
Experts have issued words of caution. While tech companies have already started to gloat and preen their feathers, such possibility remains where chatbots can have a mechanical failure. What happens then? Chatbots can also become corrupt as was proven in the case of Microsoft Tay which started to malfunction after interacting with human beings on Twitter for 24 hours. Plus, these technologies would not be intuitive enough to understand social undercurrents when engaging with human beings, which would restrict their use. Also, real-time adjustments in approach or pitch may not be possible.
All said, chatterbots are here to stay. If the limitations can somehow be overcome, they can definitely become useful human allies. As a business leader, you should start looking at the available technology and start planning for the future.