Are Chatbots Replacing The Call Center?

Customer support centers play a significant role in overall customer experience. It can either make or break a business. Customer support help’s to gain customer’s trust with instant real-time interactions. Every business, traditionally, relied on human service operators to interact and solve the customer’s query. This traditional setting was taken upon with an increase in internet use and the introduction of web and mail services. Technology- most remarkably chatbots- have renovated the face of customer service. Chatbots offers instant access to personalized answers at any given point in time, all of it at a fraction of the cost of other customer service channels. All these capabilities have drawn attention from various industries and businesses who have put the use of chatbots at the center of their business strategies. The only agenda of any business is to maximize profits and simultaneously minimize costs.

With studies projecting that automation will become increasingly prevalent across industries, it is estimated that over 80% of customer interactions will be managed without human intervention. And this has caused serious concern over how human employment will be impacted. The bone of contention is whether chatbots and artificial intelligence will make human agents a thing of a past. To give a broader perspective, artificial intelligence, chatbots will work in tandem with human agents to drive efficiency and support the business rather than acting as an agent for replacing human intervention. Technological advancements are there to assist humans for a faster, contextual and enhanced support experience.

Employing chatbots can serve as the first point of contact and help for any customer who is based out of different geographical locations, different time zones. It also helps customers with both text and voice assistance. The goal is to decrease the latency between a customer’s queries and to give out an appropriate and timely response. On the other hand, at times when such issues involve human interaction, the response takes hours or days. Chatbots are reducing the delay in responses, appearing to be instantaneous. Also, as support to a human agent, chatbots can be used to handle the initial part of the query and interaction to gather customer details and other information before passing it on to a customer care executive. This reduces the waiting time, not just from the customer’s end but gives more time to the customer care executive to be more productive at other tasks in hand.

Why won’t chatbots replace call centers?

Chatbots helps in sharing the workload, which otherwise is often repetitive and mundane. In many situations, chatbots and customer care agents serve as a backup for each other. Customer service chatbots are often programmed to answer the basic routine question. If any problem occurs, human intervention acts as a faster mode of communication with the customers. Chatbots are equipped to have millions of conversations simultaneously across all the channels of communication. Also, chatbots applications are only as good as the data they leverage since it relies on algorithms and machine learning which in turn relies on training data to train algorithms. Getting the accurate data is never a simplified process. Chatbots are yet not equipped to understand human emotions like sarcasm, stress-full situations among others. When there’s a need for emotional intelligence or critical thinking to make quick decisions, human intervention is always required. A customer calling an insurance company to report about an earthquake destroying their house cannot be effectively managed by chatbots. Situations like these demand empathy, delicate handling which only a human can do.

The ultimate aim of chatbot use is not to replace human call centers but to improve the overall customer experience. Chatbots have been proven effective enough to handle monotonous and repetitive tasks, however, they cannot provide a holistic customer experience. Humans and chatbots form a perfect partnership, and this partnership is here to stay.