Chatbots are becoming an important tool for brands wanting to offer 24/7
support without the need to dramatically ramp up their cost to service
customers. Bots can answer customers at anytime of the day or night and offer
immediate assistance. But is the use of chat failing customers and if so, then
According to research by Forrester, 54 percent of U.S. online consumers believe that interacting with a chatbot will have a negative impact on their quality of life. “Consumers anticipate the worst when engaging with a chatbot today and haven’t yet seen a chatbot that can meet or even exceed those expectations,” reports Forrester analyst Ian Jacobs.
from PwC found that
71 percent of U.S. consumers would rather interact with a human than a chatbot
or some other automated process. Obviously, that’s not great news for the 80
percent of businesses that already use chatbots, or plan to do so by 2020,
according to research from Invoca and Adobe, which is featured in the
report, Emotions Win: What Customers Expect in the Age of AI.
So here is the business dilemma. Chatbots do offer a
great way to scale up your service level. You can be more responsive and offer
support at any hour, but in general customers don’t like using them. At what
point do you resist the urge to roll out more chatbots in favor of deploying
more human agents in your contact center?
To my mind there is a need to think more strategically
about how and why you are serving your customer. The question of how much each
customer engagement costs is important, but it should not be your primary
driver when making a decision such as when should I be using chatbots? Think
first about why the customer is contacting your company.
The driver of the customer contact is in fact what
will help you to determine how best to engage. For example, a customer needing
their password reset after a failed attempt has no great need for emotion or
empathy. They just have a problem and they need it fixed as quickly as
possible. In this situation a chatbot would work better than a human because
the problem is simple, it requires no emotional connection, and it is best
A customer calling their life insurance company to
report a loss in the family and their need to make a claim would certainly not
want to be handled by a bot. They need the ability of a human to represent that
brand, to empathize with their situation and to reassure them that the
insurance company can help in their time of loss. I have heard of some American
insurance companies (no names to be mentioned here) that have tested out “robot
sympathy” in cases like this and then abandoned the idea because nobody wants
to be comforted by a robot representing an insurance company.
So I don’t think that chat is failing customers.
Customers are being turned off because chatbots are not being used
appropriately. Brands need to think about how best to blend digital and human
service if they really want to create a memorable experience in all situations.