Are Chatbots the Future of Customer Service?

 

No one likes waiting on hold to speak with a customer service representative. Let’s face it: When you have a problem with a product or service, you’re likely already in a bad mood. And listening to grating hold music isn’t likely to improve your attitude.

Around the world, companies are battling this problem by implementing SMS chatbots to automatically handle problems in an intuitive manner.

Human or Machine?

In recent years, chatbots have evolved to the point where many end users can’t tell the difference between a customer service robot and an actual human. Granted, customers with highly specific or unique problems will soon notice when they exit the realm of the robot’s programmed knowledge. However, when the bulk of customer issues are non-novel, a chatbot can typically resolve those issues without human intervention. In fact, a study by Tagove found that roughly 80 percent of chat sessions have been resolved by chatbots alone.

As chatbot software becomes more complex and better at imitating human language patterns, it will be able to provide a high level of customer service without making the end user feel neglected. For example, 79 percent of online shoppers would rather use a live chat function than call into a customer service hotline, because they don’t like to wait on hold, reported Econsultancy, citing data from BoldChat. Yet even live chat solutions may have hold time, especially during peak hours. A chatbot, however, can service any number of customers simultaneously.

How Chatbots Optimize Customer Service Processes

Chatbots won’t completely replace human customer service representatives any time soon. Until humans develop a generalized AI, humans will always be a necessary part of the equation. After all, chatbots can only provide answers that have been programmed into them. Instead, chatbots will augment the abilities of human representatives.

Think about it this way: Just as a robotic exoskeleton could help laborers lift heavy objects with ease, a chatbot helps call center employees keep up with customer demand.

Meredith Flynn-Ripley, vice president of mobile messaging at Salesforce, explained that SMS chatbots will boost human efforts as part of a hybrid customer service solution.

“Salesforce believes fundamentally that bots are going to be complementing your live staff. We really see bots as changing the job description and turning agents into intelligent problem solvers,” Flynn-Ripley told Business Insider.

Chatbots may be able to fully solve low-level problems, get the ball rolling on mid-tier issues, and pass off harder tasks to human agents. This process improves the customer experience while taking some of the burden off human workers.

Implementing an SMS Chatbot

Gartner predicts that by 2020, businesses will manage 85 percent of customer interactions without human intervention. If you want to get ahead of the curve, it’s time to invest in SMS chatbot technology. Thankfully, doing so is a lot easier than it might sound.

Using an SMS gateway, your business can implement a chatbot quickly and start interacting with customers almost immediately. To learn more about how easy it is to get set up, sign up for a free demo today!