As a company grows, its businesses also grow with it. It also means that more and more people are trying to reach their markets. May it be to inquire for something interesting that they offer or to complain about something they sold.
With the aid of technological advances that have occurred over the past decades, there are many options for companies to handle these customer-initiated interactions. Some set up a toll-free hotline; others prefer email. Nonetheless, these customer interactions are necessary to gather data for the company to build on as it moves forward.
And then, there are those that use chatbots.
Well, chatbots seem to be a perfect solution for companies. They get to maximize the ability to serve low-level concerns more quickly and efficiently, while also optimizing your live agents to better focus on more complex inquiries.
But it is not that simple.
Many companies have settled with the chatbots that they have set up. That shouldn’t be the case. One thing that companies have to consider is whether or not they can use chatbots in their businesses, but rather, where and how their customers are going to use chatbots.
Sure, chatbots work for some but not for everyone. Companies have to start understanding if the chatbot strategy is the perfect one for them.
But why are companies still using chatbots even if it seems to not work for them? Well, I have two answers for you: they don’t understand their customers, and they don’t understand the technology.
First of all, people really don’t want to use chatbots. Admit it or not, you have already been frustrated with how a chatbot tried to resolve an issue you have with a company. Not only that chatbots oversimplify a complex problem, but there is also a tendency for it not to actually understand the problem.
A study revealed that 63% of Americans were concerned that chatbots couldn’t handle complex issues, 49% were worried that chatbots would struggle even with simple problems, and 45% emphasized specifically that chatbots do not provide a truly personal experience.
The inability of a company to resolve an issue or the customers’ perception of that inability (yes, even if that’s just a perception) can negatively impact the customer retention of that company. That being said, chatbots that are meant to resolve simple issues are used by customers to fix complex ones, and it frustrates them.
It is the customer’s fault that he used it beyond what it’s supposed to do right? No, not entirely. While customers have to consider which channel are they going to communicate to the company with, it is still the responsibility of the company to navigate them to which channel to use when.
This is the reason why people will always prefer live agents over chatbots and IVR systems. No one wants to feel like they are being ignored, or pushed to the side, and unfortunately, that is what a lot of these tools do. Just like in the vast majority of industries and organizations, the human element is far too often removed from the equation.
Furthermore, using chatbots alienate some customers. Another survey revealed that 46% of those responding felt that chatbots were being used correctly to keep them away from a live agent. This goes to show that almost half of Americans think like chatbots are roadblocks that are preventing them away from talking to an actual human agent rather than a stepping stone to getting proper support that it intends to be.
The bottom line of this is that companies do not understand what chatbots are for. They are a powerful tool that can help you help your existing and potential customers. But just because it exists, doesn’t mean you also have to do it.
Chatbots are meant to be there to answer simple questions from your consumers. They’re not there to deescalate an angry customer or to decide whether one deserves credit for a botched product or not. This is the very reason why chatbots don’t stand alone. Your customer interaction strategy should be holistic – that means, it has to be a perfect mix of different tools and channels suited for your market needs. Otherwise, misusing chatbots may harm your business in the long run. /apr