Artificial intelligence (AI) is disrupting the customer service domain, especially online. Companies are using AI chatbots on their websites and in their apps to answer customer queries and improve the customer experience they deliver.
Chatbot adoption is so rapid that they are replacing live agents and live chats. Companies are excited about the prospect of saving a lot of money on labor overhead and benefits. But chatbots are not devoid of drawbacks.
If your contemplating getting an AI chatbot for your business, you need to get a balanced perspective on the matter. This can prevent you from investing in a bot you may not need and help deliver the best ROI.
The Benefits of AI Chatbots
Some companies prefer to use chatbots for customer-facing services. This is because traditional communication channels are unable to meet heightened customer expectations.
As you can see from the chart below, customers find online experiences inadequate for many reasons. 34% find sites hard to navigate, 31% are unable to find prompt answers to queries, 28% have to hunt for basic contact details about a business, and 18% find customer services extremely impersonal.
Image via 2018 State of Chatbots Report
Chatbots, on the other hand, are known for their 24×7 availability and personalized service. Shane Barker lists the around-the-clock availability of bots as their prime advantage. Customers find bots handy as they can quickly solve routine questions at any time of the day.
For more complex requests, bots scan their network or online resources for finding suitable answers. If all else fails, they transfer the customer ticket to a live agent. The whole transaction takes milliseconds to complete and is seamless. Click-happy customers appreciate the promptness more than anything else.
For a business, bots are a smart and resourceful employee, who never needs downtime or vacations. They can handle more customers than live agents. They work all hours without demanding overtime. They incur no hiring or retention costs. All in all, bots are a great investment, albeit a costly one.
Businesses can also benefit in another way by using bots. Bots can be programmed to ask customers questions regarding their contact details. They don’t annoy people with long forms and calls. By using information captured by bots, businesses can acquire leads and increase their sales revenue.
The Dangers of Using AI Chatbots
An always-on employee requires constant supervision. Bots can’t be allowed to handle customers independently. They are known to misinterpret sentiments and regional language nuances.
Not all users are comfortable interacting with bots. 43% of people prefer to deal with a human, 30% don’t trust bots to find the right answers, and 26% still want a bot-free website.
From a business perspective, bot development can be a costly affair. Although the long-term running cost of bots more than makes up for this, not all businesses can afford bots.
Customers expect their online experiences to be at par with the best. To cater to such discerning clientele, businesses need bots with advanced functionalities such as voice and face recognition. Such bots are even more costly to develop and use.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the co-founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.