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Chatbots and agents: The new co-workers

Humans are still a vital part of the equation. Humans are, and will remain unequivocally crucial to the customer service and support paradigm, albeit, in a different role.

By Rahul Sharma, 

Managing Director, LogMeIn India.

The times are changing, and quite rapidly at that. The current possibilities with technology are limitless, what with SpaceX launching a car into space and buying decisions being made with the assistance of augmented reality. Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) is getting integrated into various industries, including, customer service. Right from helping customers understand shipping and return policies, to getting them the international getaway they have always wanted, A.I. powered chatbots are helping customers with everything. With use cases expanding, and technology evolving, one question has often been asked in the recent past – Where do humans fit in?

The answer – humans are still a vital part of the equation. Humans are, and will remain unequivocally crucial to the customer service and support paradigm, albeit, in a different role. A.I. has brought about great changes in the way customer service is delivered but it would be incorrect to assume that A.I. can singularly be a provider of customer service, and tend to all of a customers’ needs. This however, is where many companies falter, by attempting to take away the human element. In order to successfully navigate these new waters, a company must know where using A.I. for customer service will get them better results, and where a human agent is necessary. A.I. can help with solving simple queries quickly, helping companies provide faster resolution to repetitive and mundane queries, even round the clock. Although A.I technology has improved leaps and bounds in the last few years, and is getting better at handling complex questions, what it lacks in, is empathy and emotional intelligence. A human agent brings this indispensable and invaluable aspect to the equation, which he/she can make use of to foster meaningful customer relationships. The efficacy of a good conversation should never be underestimated, and it can help diffuse emotionally charged complex situations, across a myriad of circumstances. A symbiotic relationship between agents and chatbots will help create a modern and effective customer experience that results in higher CSAT scores, lower costs, and fiercer brand loyalty.  And this interdependence goes far beyond the idea that chatbots can help customers in one scenario, and people will help in the others.  Companies need to adopt a hybrid approach – one where the agents and the software work together like old friends – seamlessly watching each other’s back, and stepping in for the other, whenever required. They need to work together as a team – helping each other, along the entire journey.

Here are a few ways that A.I. can be your agent’s best friend:

  • Workload Balance – Chatbots can help take work off an agent’s demanding schedule – taking on those dull, commonplace requests that bog down their day. Customers gain the benefit of getting speedy responses day or night, and agents have the bandwidth to handle high-touch, complex issues that create more impactful engagements
  • The P.A. –Ask someone with a choc-a-bloc schedule as to who their best friend is, and more often than not, they will name their P.A. Why? Because personal assistants work tirelessly and selflessly to make sure that they are prepared for every situation. For an agent, a chatbot can quickly and efficiently gather necessary customer information to help an agent interaction — including the customer’s history with the brand and the context of the interaction so far, so that agents can dive right into solving the issue
  • Give Advice – When integrated right, chatbots can always live in the background, assisting human agents during customer engagements – making recommendations on responses, assets to provide, or upsell opportunities.   This helps both the bot and the agents continually learn so they both can grow together and become quicker at identifying and solving customer problems

Companies strive to create experiences that keep customers happy and loyal. A customer-centric approach is important to become and remain successful, and thus, good customer experience should be a priority.  Adding a bot seamlessly into the mix can help create faster resolutions, personalized interactions, and ultimately, satisfied customers.

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