In Chatbots We Trust. Sort Of…

*Insert Automated Introduction Here* 

Chatbots are quickly changing the way businesses handle customer outreach.

Technology has done a lot to make our lives easier; travel, ecommerce, communication, and socializing to name a few. But what about customer service? Is technology replacing humans when it comes to customer outreach? To put it simply, no. But further research indicates that businesses are becoming more and more receptive to utilizing chatbots to help consolidate certain aspects of the customer service experience.

What Are Chatbots Exactly?

Chatbots are computer programs that are designed and programmed to respond like humans. Automation is the key here. Chatbots allow business owners to establish a more consistent and straightforward approach to solving certain issues customers might have. However, most of these simple bots are dependent on specific rule-based input from consumers making it difficult to replicate the experience that a real human customer service agent can provide. But there are more advanced bots that can handle more in-depth interactions. Thanks to rapid advancements in AI, the more sophisticated bots can process conversational interactions and actually retain and grow from each interaction. Yay science!

So A Robot Uprising Is Inevitable, Right?

Not so fast. While nearly 3/4 of consumers have said that they prefer to have the option of solving simple issues on their own, over 85% of those same consumers claimed that they want easy access to a human representative for more complex problems. If we flip the script and look at things from CSR's perspective, it's not surprising to find that they too feel very similar to the consumer. Most representatives feel that nearly 80% of the problems they help solve are "easy" to "moderate" and they would benefit more from helping solve more taxing problems.

Chatbots are a great addition to the service industry but they aren't going to take over humans completely. There are certain facets of communication, such as strategy, sales and more in-depth customer service that will almost always require a human touch.

What The Future Looks Like

While we aren't heading towards a global takeover from our robotic friends, we can expect that marketers and consumers alike will benefit from advancement of chatbots. Consistency is the key factor. Marketers will be able to rely more heavily on automation in the way of boosting consumer satisfaction and brand consistency. Meanwhile, consumers will be afforded more flexibility when it comes to solving issues.