Run a Google search that includes the keywords “human,” “bot,” and “customer service” and your first page of results will likely include several variations of headline “Humans Vs. Chatbots: What’s Better?”
Unfortunately, the either/or mentality of using AI in customer service is the wrong approach to take. It begins the entire discussion from the wrong point of view.
While it’s certainly important to weigh the pros and cons of both bot and human customer service, that question comes second.
The first question you should ask is “how can I successfully integrate AI into my existing customer service strategy?”
You want to analyze the real limitations of human customer service, along with the benefits, and look for ways AI can make it better.
Gartner believes that by 2022, 70% of customer interactions will include some kind of machine learning software or chatbot, mostly to enhance the human rep’s capabilities.
Don’t set out with the goal of replacing human interaction – AI has real limitations too.
Rather, think of your customers’ needs first and how you can improve their experience. What would your customer want?
Putting the customer first in your AI decisions will always set you up for success.
What are the Benefits of a Bot-Human Customer Service Team?
Humans provide nuance, emotion, and connection in ways a bot never could. Even if a chatbot can answer our question correctly, sometimes we still just want to speak with a human.
Artificial intelligence, however, can sort through massive datasets and draw conclusions faster and more effectively than a human ever could. Even if a human can analyze the data correctly, it would still take much longer than AI.
Though there are many points and angles to consider, the aforementioned ones should be at the forefront of your decision making.
AI Enhances Human Customer Service Knowledge
When a human rep opens a chat, phone call, or email with a customer, AI can provide them with a full range of insights about the customer and their personal experience.
The human rep doesn’t have to dig through the customer’s data to figure out where something went wrong or add context to the conversation.
Instead, the AI system can provide a full range of analytics across every touchpoint. The customer service rep will have a better understanding of the customer’s interactions with your company immediately.
AI Reduces Tedious Customer Service Inquiries and Expedites the Conversation
An AI-powered chatbot with machine learning can also handle the most tedious parts of the customer interaction.
Ask any rep and they’ll tell you they repeat themselves many times throughout the day.
AI can answer the easiest questions first, ask a few more questions about the issue, and point the customer service rep in the right direction when the interaction transfers to them.
AI Collects Data for Website Improvement and Audience Research
People tend to forget that chatbots are valuable tools for collecting data on customers and leads.
Look for patterns in conversations.
Is your website missing an FAQ page on a certain issue? Could you offer more customized configurations for specific accounts on a landing page? Use your data for content creation.
Likewise, chatbot data can tell you plenty about your audience as well.
Is there a market segment gap you haven’t considered targeting? Are certain accounts interacting with your website? Use data to jumpstart further research.
Customers Get the Final Say
Customers aren’t forced to interact with a chatbot or pick up a phone and speak with a human. They can decide for themselves how they’d like to conduct the conversation.
61% of B2B buyers say they’d prefer to speak with a human rep for custom pricing and configurations. Meanwhile, over 50% choose humans over bots for asking about new products or purchase terms.
Those numbers also tell us that a large minority of buyers (almost half in some cases) do prefer using digital tools instead of contacting a human, if they can avoid it. Let them decide!
4 Vital Steps in Your Strategy to Build an Effective Bot-Human Customer Service Team
Take these factors into consideration as you decide how to integrate AI into your human customer service strategy.
1. Pick a Tool Your Human Customer Service Team Likes
Your human reps will be the ones interacting and working with the chatbot or AI system every day. Include them in your decision.
Likewise, make sure any tool you choose doesn’t have too steep of a learning curve. Some training is inevitable, especially for reps to use the full range of features, but anything overwhelming will prove counterproductive.
2. Prioritize Integration Across Multiple Platforms
You never know what a customer will choose as the initial touchpoint to connect with your customer service team.
Make sure your AI tool can integrate across platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn, and your website. Again, reps can help you figure out which channels to prioritize.
3. Train the Machine Learning Properly
Like humans, chatbots with machine learning need ongoing training so they can answer questions accurately.
Incorrect responses look careless and can drive customers away. Don’t deploy bots until you’re confident they can function as intended.
4. Transparency is Key
Let customers know when they’re communicating with a bot versus a human customer service rep.
No one wants to feel like they’re being tricked into talking to a chatbot – no matter how effective. However, customers are willing to use a chatbot when the situation calls for it – so just be honest.
A Hybrid Bot-Human Customer Service Team is the Key to Success
The goal isn’t to replace human interaction with chatbots and AI. Think of how frustrated you feel when a customer service line forces you through automated prompts when you really just need a human representative.
Talk to your human customer service team to identify areas AI can make their job easier and improve the customer experience. Remember, that’s what it’s all about: the customer experience.
Feeling a little burned out with your marketing strategy? RSVP for an upcoming virtual event in the Televerde Resources and Events Hub to kickstart your motivation.