Humans Vs. Chatbots: Time to Make the Switch?


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Having excellent customer service and easy to find information can be the difference between a customer choosing your business over the competition. As informative as your information base may be, and as good as your phone services are, are you giving your customers the service they are seeking online?

“80% of consumers say they procrastinate to call customer service because of the time involved” – 2018 Customer Service Messaging trends report, Nuance

Chatbots have the ability to give your business an edge over the competition in customer service

Many businesses have already chosen to implement an online live chat option in their website or via messaging platforms such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Traditionally, these apps have been staffed with human operators, often in an offshore location, for cost-saving benefits.

While chatbots have been around for decades, they have only just now come of age. Chatbots are now able to understand questions and respond appropriately, mimicking a human on the other end, or routing to a human operator or other contact avenue.

The right chatbot can give your customers a better experience with your brand, gaining new customers, ensuring loyalty, and giving you word of mouth advertising through their networks.

How does a chatbot work?

A chatbot works by responding instantly to someone asking a question via an online messaging avenue.

Chatbots can answer simple questions, or perform simple tasks such as direct customers to resources, mae appointments, or pass off to human operators. They use pattern matching with keywords or natural language processing algorithms to perform these tasks. The AI skill level of your chatbot determines how human-like the interaction will be and whether the right information, action or routing is provided.

An instant response

One of the biggest benefits of implementing a chatbot is that it can respond to your customer right away, instead of someone waiting in a phone queue, or waiting around for a message reply. Our attention spans are considerably shorter than they used to be, so with an instant response, you keep your customer engaged.

According to Inside Sales, if you wait longer than 5 minutes to respond to a potential customer, it significantly lowers your chances of closing – it decreases by 400% when you hit that 10 minute mark.

Chatbots can cover you 24hrs a day

You don’t need to have your chatbot onboard all the time. You can add a chatbot during your out of office hours to cover when you don’t have human operators available to respond to questions.

Other businesses use chatbots to augment their human team during their busiest hours. For instance, you may be able to have a chatbot answering any simple questions, but handing off to a human operator queue for more complex inquiries.

You’ll always need a human backup

Unfortunately, chatbots aren’t advanced enough yet to handle everything that your customers are going to throw at them. This is why you’ll need humans as a backup handler.

If your business is out of hours, you can have your chatbot respond asking customers to email, call, or chat again at another time, or have them input a time to chat as soon as your business is open again.

Build or buy?

There are various options available for businesses looking to use a chatbot on their website or app.
There are plenty of build-your-own platforms available for Facebook messenger or other specific platforms. You can take a glance at this article on 7 popular platforms for building your own chatbot.

The type of platforms which are DIY and don’t require any coding can be expensive, usually available via a monthly subscription, and may not have the degree of customization you need.

Instead, building your own chatbot by engaging developers who utilize a good API can deliver a chatbot that matches (or exceeds!) your customers’ expectations, rather than frustrate them.

So, do you need a chatbot?

80% of brands are looking to have a chatbot implemented by 2020, according to a survey by Oracle.

With chatbots continuing to become more intelligent, and people expecting to talk with chatbots throughout their brand interactions, now is a good time to start incorporating a chatbot into your business. Implementing any new technology will take some time, so it’s best to get a start instead of playing catch up in the future.

Graham Church
Graham Church is the founder and MD of CodeFirst, a software development company from Exeter, UK. With over 20 years software development experience, Graham has delivered hundreds of projects to companies large and small worldwide.


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