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Chatbots in Customer Service: What Companies Need to Consider Beforehand

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, every business is seeking plowing the depths to enhance its approach to customer service and optimise operational efficiency in every way.

In the field of customer relationship management, one of the biggest changes altering the landscape has, undoubtedly, been chatbots.

Chatbots have been invaluable because of their ability to handle so many aspects of customer service, however, before you think about bringing in chatbots for the sake of efficiency and reducing the bottom line, you’ve got to dig deeper.

But are chatbots, specifically in the field of customer services, really effective enough?

The Dangers of Handing Everything Over to a Chatbot

While chatbots offer so many benefits, businesses have to consider many different factors, which is why we need to pay attention to the more human-oriented components. For example, a chatbot should be complementary to a human agent, rather than replace them entirely.

Companies can easily run the risk of automating every single element and outsource each factor to the point they are leaving the equipment to run by itself, but this is a very dangerous position to be in as there’s the potential to give the wrong information to the wrong person.

As it stands, most chatbots are only capable of giving information based on a set number of parameters that we input, and there will come a time when chatbots could offer a variety of information and resources that are fundamentally detrimental to both customer and company.

So if a company doesn’t have the appropriate protection, whether it’s professional indemnity insurance or legal support, this will be very muddy waters for a business to operate.

How Businesses Should Incorporate Chatbots into a Customer Service Environment

Because there is the potential for businesses to make errors, it’s far better for them to arise from human mistakes rather than putting all our eggs into one basket and relying on the machines to do the work for us.

It is easier than ever to be negligent, which is why companies need to protect themselves if they fail to deliver promised services. If a chatbot fails to provide accurate information, this leads to a customer making a costly mistake.

If a business is held responsible for a financial loss, this will affect the company’s reputation, but it will also force companies to go back to the drawing board and look at what they’ve done wrong.

This is why businesses need to incorporate chatbots into a customer service environment with some of the following components in mind:

  • Providing a Seamless Customer Experience that engages in natural human-like conversations to avoid customer frustration, especially those people who are attempting to solve a quick problem by asking a chatbot a simple question.
  • Training and Monitoring, as chatbots will need to improve their performance, and by ensuring we regularly review and update their knowledge base, we can answer a wide range of queries accurately. Also, we can ensure that “the machines” don’t get ahead of themselves. And while this is not a realistic problem just yet; however, it could very well be in a number of years.
  • Scalability and Customisation, as both of these components should be tailored to reflect the future growth of the business and the brand’s tone or personality.
  • Data Security and Privacy, which are both vital to ensure businesses handle sensitive customer information, and the right chatbot service provider will help businesses implement robust security protocols and encryption to safeguard customer data.
  • Training and Monitoring Components, which will ensure the chatbots can answer a wide range of queries accurately, but more effectively too. Integrating with human agents by having a clear plan for when a customer query should be escalated to a human agent to offer a more personalised touch.

Are Businesses Relying on Automation Too Much for the Sake of Customer Service?

If we are to look at the concept of customer service, it has been, up until the last few years, predominantly human in its outlook because we are looking at customer service as something that deals with human needs.

Now, as the threat of AI potentially puts customer service agents out of a job, ensuring that we can have an effective working relationship with chatbots and the concept of automation will guarantee that we’re not just preparing for the future, but we’re also readying our customer service agents. We need to look at it in some of the following ways:

  • Ensuring there is human support because a customer may not want to engage with the machine; this is particularly true with regards to older members of the public. There is only so much at the moment that we can train a chatbot to do, and using automation as a key selling point for any business is potentially detrimental. Therefore, always providing a more human slant to proceedings could give your customers greater peace of mind.
  • Not being so financially focused is another essential aspect because we must remember that as businesses constantly become blindsided by the bottom line, we invariably focus too much on how we can cut corners. Businesses need to have a far better understanding of the benefits, but also the numerous drawbacks of automation as it stands.
  • Automation is only as good as the information you input into it, and so many businesses are now making the mistake of thinking that automation, especially in terms of customer service, is going to cover a wide range of operations.

So many companies think that customer service is one of those box-ticking exercises to keep the punters happy and, therefore, we should hire customer service agents to fill seats and not pay them appropriately.

Customer service is so important for the sake of a business’s ability to thrive, and therefore, relying on primitive tools is not going to cut it.

Focusing on delivering the best customer service is the real solution because it helps the customer to solve their problems, but it also means that the business is not trying to find magic tricks to solve persistent problems while not addressing the root cause.

If a business is planning on implementing chatbots to take over most customer service functions, it is vital to remember that, as companies evolve, systems will change too, but these still need to cover those essential foundations that have long been in place way before chatbots and any tech.

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