In the last few years, since the bots have arrived on the customer service scene, companies are in a constant quandary as what to do- whether to give more space and responsibilities to this Artificial Intelligence device called a bot or to stick with the time-tested approach of human intervention? Brands have been quick to adapt to this new technology but customers crave for human contact. We interviewed some of the customers we serve in our call center outsourcing company to understand why and it revealed some very interesting facts.
Humans prefer talking to humans, not machines
When customers call customer support, they are looking to speak with a live human. They preferred narrating their experience to customer service outsourcing agents who offered them effective and lasting solutions. There were very few customers who after getting in touch with the customer support department, showed their inclination to engage with bots. They were just not interested in having a conversation with a machine. Some of them even got offended when given the option to interact through a bot.
It is evident that relying on bots too much may help you cut corners in short term but admittedly it is a huge turnoff to explain yourself to a machine and will ultimately send your customers running for the hills. There is a general impression among customers that these computer-aided tools can never match the skills of a real agent. Hence, this creates a lack of faith in such systems.
Real issues need real call center agents
Talking of complex and technical issues, you can’t do without human intervention. On average, most of such calls made to the customer support service are unique and need discussion with live call center outsourcing agents who are capable of logically understanding the customer’s problem and accordingly react and adapt to the situation to resolve the issue. Artificial intelligence driven applications and programs are as good as the information that is fed to their databases and while it can regurgitate information from a knowledge base for a standard routine query, it cannot use that information to come up with a solution or troubleshooting to a complex or technical problem. Chatbots are incapable of thinking out of the box, at least for now.
Chatbots cannot empathize
Chatbots cannot soothe the frayed nerves of upset customers. A live call center outsourcing agent, on the other hand, can empathize with an unhappy customer to calm him down and get to the issue much faster. Customers reported that they feel the Chatbots sound pretty insensitive and their lack of empathy makes them uncomfortable in discussing personal or delicate matters with them such as a health issue or a financial trouble they may be going through. It is pretty often that customers discuss such matters with customer service outsourcing agents, which aids in building a rapport with customers. This impacts customer experience and satisfaction.
Security concerns Security risks
In the last few years, there has been a lot of debate regarding consumers’ data security. Hence, the onus lies on companies to assure their customers about how they store and use their data. There is a palpable trust deficit that is hampering the adaptability of artificial intelligence driven tools such as Chatbots. For Chatbots to work efficiently and more sophisticatedly, brands need to store customer data, however, customers apprehend data breaches or getting their information stolen by hackers. Another major concern is that they fear that brands may share their information with third parties without their explicit authorization. This is why majority of the customers don’t even submit personal information. Because of the lack of trust issues, a good number of consumers are afraid to give their personal information to a Chabot.
Customers don’t trust Chatbots while purchasing high-value items
There are specific situations where customers find Chatbots inadequate. Customers would not trust a Chatbot if they are purchasing an expensive item, primarily because they are apprehensive about the Chabot making a mistake. If the query is related to an ordinary sports shoe, a comparatively low-value item, customers may not be averse to talking to a bot but imagine when the customer wants information related to an expensive $20,000 Rolex watch, rest assured the customer wouldn’t buy before a detailed discussion with a live customer service outsourcing agent.
Not usable and accessible for all
Old customers, especially people above 65 years have shown discomfort in using Chatbots. Older generation does feel overwhelmed by new technology and are resistant to depending on it as their foremost source of assistance. They would much rather talk to a live call center outsourcing agent. People with disabilities also feel challenged by latest tech.
You can’t do without a Customer Service Agent
The million-dollar question remains is which medium to adopt and why. Here, the most important thing will be to identify the customer’s actual needs.
At the beginning itself, it needs to be established whether the query is more in the line of Q&A format conversation or a discovery process? A bot can handle simple FAQ kind routine questions, because it involves data and provided it is designed well, this computer-aided device can tackle such operations efficiently. However, if a customer is looking for an informed recommendation, a Chatbot will be futile. What is needed is a detailed discussion with the call center agent who can understand his needs.
For instance, to keep the things in the right perspective, take an example of a customer who wants to know in detail about the cancellation policy of a gold- gym membership as opposed to knowing about the workouts and a fitness plan with their gym- trainer. Seeking information about the gym membership is generic which can be ably handled by a bot but speaking to the trainer to devise a custom made set of exercises, the customer is banking on the trainer’s professional expertise which needs a human touch and a machine can never satisfy the prospective client who may have more than few doubts.
Despite Chatbots becoming advanced and sophisticated tools, the fact remains that it cannot replace a human customer service outsourcing agent. Around 83% of consumers acknowledged in a survey that they anytime prefer human interaction over digital channels when they are looking for solutions to their customer service-related issues.
Chatbots have limited role
It’s not as if chatbots are completely useless. They can still be used but in limited and in specific cases. So, when we have issues related to payment updates, compliance issues, due dates, anything which has numbers – you can pass on such queries to a bot. Here, we are dealing with issues that are either right or wrong and you want to be 100% sure the data is correct for the end-user.
Brands are under a lot of pressure to enhance the customer experience and sometimes they adopt new technology without even giving a serious thought whether the evolving technology will make them more efficient or not. Most of the customer-related queries pertain to some huge deficiencies on the part of the company and would need an animated one-to-one interaction with the customer care agent.
At the same time, there are some routine issues related to payments and FAQs that could be easily tackled through a bot. Therefore, the future of call center outsourcing belongs to the harmonious blend of human intervention together with the Artificial Intelligence device like a bot. In the end, it will be apt to say that your chatbot and customer service team should work in sync to create a seamless customer service experience.