If you’ve ever visited a company’s website, chances are you have experienced interacting with a customer support live chat or a customer service chatbot. Companies have taken new technology and in particular, artificial intelligence (AI) and integrated it into their customer service processes. The use of technology in customer service has become the norm and as a result you can find numerous types of live chat help on service oriented sites. This includes customer support live chat functionality with a human being on the other end, or a customer support representative in the form of an automated bot.
It’s no surprise that technology has become a customer service tool. After all, a chatbot is a perfect customer service representative as it is fast, efficient and often a cost-effective long-term solution for companies who have to interface with customers constantly. Chatbots can do just about anything from answering multiple customer inquiries, providing basic customer service and information to handling various different complaints.
While it’s convenient and cost-effective to implement, using an artificial intelligence (AI) software like a chatbot for handling your customers might not have a great long-term result. In this article, we take a look at what a chatbot is, how it works as customer support AI and more importantly, whether AI in customer service is the right solution to your business.
But first, what is a chatbot? Let’s learn about the basics of chatbot support.
What Is A Chatbot?
An AI-based chatbot is a software that carries out a conversation using text or text-to-speech and was created to replace live human interaction. Some chatbots use a basic rule-based system, while others use machine learning to “understand” and answer complicated questions and inquiries.
If you’ve ever used Siri on your iPhone or Google Assistant on your Android phone, then you’ve encountered a chatbot. Another example are smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Nest. Digital assistants, as they’re also known, are widely used today in people’s everyday lives. For basic services, chatbots can successfully serve as a customer service representative for a brand.
Chatbots vs. Live Chat
Live chat involves human-to-human interaction using a chat application. It’s similar to using Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp to talk to your friends and family. Some websites use a live chat app to replace a customer support representative which can attend to site visitors with basic questions. People called live support agents answer questions received in the live chat help app.
With live customer support, customers can chat with a person from your customer service staff to address a query or concern. Studies have shown that live chat and live customer support cost companies up to 30 percent less while increasing conversion rates by almost 4 percent.
Using Chatbots For Customer Support and Review Response
More businesses have invested to use chatbots as AI in customer service. In fact, an Oracle research revealed that 8 out of 10 businesses have implemented or are planning to implement some form of AI customer service plan. Artificial intelligence customer service chatbots are on their way to becoming a significant part of how businesses interact with their customers.
Customer support chatbots are gaining popularity among companies because they offer many advantages. Let’s take a look at some of them:
1. Cost-effective – Compared to hiring people, a customer service chatbot cost so much less. It’s understandable that small businesses that have a limited budget choose to use an artificial intelligence customer service bot rather than hire a number of people.
2. Fast And Efficient – Chatbots can function independently, with speed and efficiency. This makes chatbot support desirable to some companies who want to provide fast customer support.
3. Competitive Edge – Having a customer service chatbot while your competitors don’t have it can put you at a strong advantage. You have the ability to attend to all customer inquiries and get more leads, sales and revenue.
In summary, an artificial intelligence customer service bot is a great option for providing basic and timely support for your customers. However, they do not guarantee the best customer experience, so they might not be the best customer support AI option.
While chatbots are less costly, fast and efficient, they are also prone to some disadvantages. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you should be wary of choosing an AI customer service method:
Why You Should Not Use Chatbots
There are times when customers have more than one question, which can be answered by a customer service bot. Other times, they have a complicated situation and they want to talk to a person. In instances like these, customer support chatbots can be more harmful than helpful to your customers.
1. No Match For Humans – Despite their near-human intelligence, chatbot support can not match a real person. Empathy, kindness and judgment are some elements that chatbots and customer support AI in general have not yet mastered. In customer service, these three values are extremely important.
2. Needs More Improvement – Customer support chatbots are still in their early developmental stages, so we can’t expect them to be perfect. Until that time that customer service artificial intelligence is fully developed, it’s best to secure more reliable forms of providing customer service that people are used to.
3. Consumers Still Prefer Humans – Research shows that 86 percent of consumers prefer to have a conversation with a live human being. Only 30 percent believe that using chatbots is a great option.
4. Negative Customer Experience – Chatbots can make a simple customer query go awry. A Statista survey found that half of consumers did not like chatbots because it prevented them from talking to a person. Forty-seven percent said that chatbots provided responses that were unhelpful to them.
If you want to provide good customer service, then you need to listen to what consumers prefer. You can opt for a chatbot to give basic information for simple inquiries and take advantage of the benefits of AI customer service bots, but you also need to give the option for your customers to talk to a person if they want to.
Customer Service And Online Review Management
Why does choosing the right method to provide good customer service matter? Two things: it keeps your customers coming back, and it helps you maintain a positive reputation online.
There are no shortcuts to achieving happy customers. You need to respond to all of them, but the responses need to solve their problems. This is not always the case with AI customer service. And this is why despite the convenience of AI in customer service, it does not always guarantee that your customers are served well.
Using customer service artificial intelligence apps do have their advantages, but are they serving your customers in the best way possible?
Businesses who provide good customer service are more likely to get positive customer reviews online. Another reason a chatbot might not be ideal for your business is that it may affect the number of positive reviews you get from your customers. If you have a review response system, this also needs to be handled with a human touch to ensure your customers feel heard.
Rize Reviews provides human interaction to provide customer support and improve your online reputation management processes. Our reputation management specialist, Courtney Quigley, describes Rize’s review response service as more personalized and 100 percent human-led.