Why Bringing Agents and Bots Together = #Goals
Bot-o-phobia? AI Anxiety? If there’s a term for the fear that chatbots will make human customer service agents extinct, we don’t know what it is—but it’s a thing. A recent study we conducted found that, 68% of businesses surveyed agreed that their human agents are worried about being replaced by chatbots.
With more and more businesses bringing AI into their CX mix, it’s not surprising. But agents can rest easy: Their jobs are safe. In fact, those jobs might even get a little more interesting. 65% of organizations report that if chatbots could reduce the number of inquiries to their call center, they’d train their agents to handle different or additional tasks. That would most likely include the more complex and strategic questions that chatbots can’t handle.
In fact, at this stage in the customer service technology game, not only can agents and chatbots peacefully co-exist, they actually need each other to deliver the kind of experiences today’s consumers want. Here’s why:
- Consumers feel the need for speed.
According to the study, 61% of consumers feel that it takes too long for their issues to be resolved when they contact customer service. More than 70% agree that brands should leverage technologies that reduce the amount of time it takes to resolve a customer inquiry or issue.
Meanwhile, more than two-thirds of businesses report that their agents struggle to handle the volume of inquiries. Clearly, there’s a need for technology that can help improve resolution time.
Enter chatbots. Bots can help customer service teams scale quickly by taking frequently asked questions off the agent’s plate, opening them up to spend more time on more complicated customer issues. Bots can also gather basic customer information (something agents report spending 25% of their time doing!), complete tasks, or act as smart advisors to the agents. As a result, customer issues and requests can be resolved more quickly and satisfactorily.
- But they also want personalization.
While 74% of consumers see the benefits of interacting with chatbots, including the ability to get quicker resolution, just under 70% said they find interacting with a chatbot unnerving, and would prefer to talk to a human agent. 38% believe they’ll get a generic response with a chatbot.
And let’s face it: Bots have a lot going for them, but they don’t have the empathy or emotional intelligence it takes to build meaningful customer relationships. They can’t tell when a customer is getting frustrated or angry and adjust their tone accordingly. Nor can they handle complex or unusual situations where critical thinking is required. However, they can offer some level of personalization based on known customer data (e.g. “Good morning Jane, I see you’re trying to return an item. How can I help?”).
Fortunately, when agents and bots join forces, brands can deliver both speed and personalization at scale. Bots do what they’re best at—simple, routine tasks—while human agents handle the more complicated stuff. It’s the perfect partnership, and brands that embrace it are the ones that will deliver the kind of experiences their customers want.