Technology is consistently progressing through new developments that affect everyday life and business.
Customer service has seen the benefits of tech through the implementation of chatbots. But there are also challenges that come with chatbots, even as they change our methods of communication.
A chatbot is a computer program that simulates conversations with people digitally. In a chatbot, you won’t be talking to another person, but rather a piece of intelligence. Most commonly in customer service, chatbots work to understand your inquiries and respond accordingly to them.
In general, there are two types of chatbots:
- Non-learning chatbots: These are fixed and provide limited assistance. These perform the operations that programmers equip them with. They can solve basic or repetitive questions but cannot learn from human behaviours, reactions or emotions.
- Learning chatbots: These use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to improve upon their functions over time based on interactions and communication with consumers. As they learn, they develop better responses and improved customer experiences.
You may see learning chatbots on the eBay or Lyft platforms. They are gaining popularity quickly, too. In fact, 60 percent of consumers used a chatbot within the past year.
While AI chatbots are the better option, they do come with some growing pains and adjustment periods.
Challenges of chatbots
A chatbot can optimise any business, but it does come with potential challenges that require attention and fine-tuning. These include:
One of the biggest issues for any piece of tech is security. In customer service, it is especially important to ensure that customer information is safe and secure.
Many people fear their information getting lost or stolen because of unsecured networks or breaches. Companies must design clear privacy policies as well as invest in the safest security networks and programs for encrypting data.
This requires financial resources, but meeting these needs is a must. Businesses must meet any security costs if they are to incorporate chatbots.
2. Understanding customers
Although AI learns from experience, it still can run into issues regarding understanding customers. This can take a number of different forms. Since voice bots are becoming a prominent force alongside chatbots, text as well as voice understanding are both necessary.
If the chatbot cannot detect human emotions or tones, it might not pick up on the urgency of the request. On the other hand, if the AI does not understand the request itself, it can provide incorrect information or data.
These errors could lead to decreased customer satisfaction and an unproductive encounter. Although AI is an advanced form of tech, developers must still plan for fixes.
3. Real person request
While some people may enjoy talking with a chatbot, there will be others who request to speak with a real person. Additionally, if there are issues with the chatbot communication tool, the customer may need to speak with an agent.
It is important for companies to have customer service agents in addition to any chatbot services they offer. The challenge lies with having the proper balance and allowing customers to adjust to both options.
4. The right balance
One company that has implemented an efficient solution to these challenges is Wells Fargo. The bank uses AI and Facebook Messenger to provide an extension of their services.
With their chatbot, people all over the world have access to their transactions and more while requesting service or assistance. It can also offer insight and personalised guidance with financials.
Security is strict, and a customer service agent is readily available for additional assistance. AI is constantly evolving, so the issue of understanding customers will be an ongoing development. But Wells Fargo provides an efficient example of chatbots implemented well.
Benefits of chatbots
Although there are challenges that come with implementing chatbots, there are benefits too. On top of providing the newest forms of AI tech for communication, chatbots also help with budgeting, availability and user experience:
- Availability: Chatbots are available 24/7 and are individualised for each user. This means they have no set limit and can help as many customers as needed. This can improve the customer experience at all hours of the day and night after work hours end.
- Budgeting: If a company has budgeting restrictions, chatbots can help in the customer service department. If it is not in the budget to hire other employees, chatbots can take on some of the responsibility, resolving inquiries. Chatbots are typically cheaper to implement, too, as opposed to hiring more staff.
- User experience: Chatbots provide readily available and fast assistance for customers. With a smooth and efficient conversation, customers leave with a solution. The overall user experience makes for more satisfied customers who are more likely to become repeat customers.
These benefits outweigh the challenges in the eyes of many businesses. They increase the success of customer service interactions and satisfaction while helping to stay on budget. As AI continues to adapt and learn, chatbots will only improve upon their ability to assist users.
UNICEF’s U-Report offers an example of optimising AI chatbots. Their chatbots allow people from all over the globe to share their needs.
With this service, UNICEF is able to assist is raising voices that otherwise do not get to speak out. While it isn’t necessarily a chatbot for talking, it does communicate by sending out polls, collecting data and publishing it within the company. UNICEF can then aid areas and people in need.
Here, chatbots not only provide benefits for UNICEF’s engagement but also for children and others in need of help. Chatbots can change the game for many lives and experiences.
Are chatbots for all businesses?
Chatbots can help any business with their user engagement and communication. More specifically, they’re a big help in service-related industries like retail, finance and travel.
The challenges will arise in any company, but taking the steps to prepare beforehand can make for an efficient adjustment period. Chatbots can then change the company for the better.