AI, chatbots, and customer service. Good or bad?
Mobile World Live reported the mobile enterprise apps market will hit an insane $128 billion by 2022. But this isn’t surprising when you think about how much we rely on our phones these days. Now, our preferred form of communication is generally via our thumbs.
In fact, the top five apps in the world on terms of frequency of use are all messaging apps, with the top four having 2.125 billion active monthly users, worldwide. That’s why so many companies are turning to customer service chatbots to answer customer queries.
For example, a digital bank in India uses bots to open bank accounts for new customers, having trained it on millions of customer questions so it can come up with the most relevant and appropriate answers.
But once you get talking, it’s pretty obvious that you’re talking to a bot. I mean, HubSpot’s Growthbot is impressive, but he’s still a bot. And I know he’s a bot. He can’t fool me…
So how do customers actually feel about yet another point of communication becoming automated? I think it all boils down to one question; are chatbots better for your customer, or are they better for you? Let’s break it down into some pros and cons.
Well, we all want more self-service options. In fact, one-third of people say they’d ‘rather clean a toilet’ than speak with customer service. So, chatbots help those people who simply despair at the thought of picking up the phone to talk to a customer service rep.
The automation factor is also pretty great for your business. It helps quickly filter out customer cases which might be easily solved by AI, such as ordering items, or simple, common requests. This helps free up customer service reps to concentrate on other, more complex cases.
But 40 percent of customers still want better human service. As cool as bots seem right now, it’s easy to get just as frustrated by them as with an uninformed, slow customer service rep on the phone. AI is pretty good, but this isn’t Westworld. We’ve still got a long way to go.
Plus, in the same study, 67 percent of customers said they’ve hung up the phone out of frustration when they couldn’t talk to a real person, so why would bots be any different?
Well, I’m still pretty torn up over here about chatbots. Right now, they’re perfect for answering straightforward FAQs and guiding a customer through a purchasing decision, but that’s where it ends from a user experience point of view. To truly provide better service, chatbots need to be able to recognise and pass the more complex cases onto the most capable real-life human bean.
So I suppose it entirely depends how much you use them, what you use them for, and how intelligent they get over the coming years.
But there’s one thing that’s for sure; with the rise of self-service, there’s no doubt companies like yours will no longer be able to afford to not offer messaging. According to GlobalWebIndex, 75% of internet users today use some sort of a messaging app, which I can only imagine will rise over the coming years. In the b2b world, real-time mobile interactions (with real people) will soon become the norm.
That’s why we’ve added a little chat box in the corner there (courtesy of HubSpot) which plonks you directly in a messaging thread with either Alex or Paul — much like WhatsApp or Messenger. It feels so much more natural and relaxed to have real-time alerts and chat away instantly with someone, without immediately being put on hold to listen to Adele’s ‘Hello’ on repeat.
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