Bots and Customer Service: How Can You Automate Without Dehumanizing?

While customers have gradually become accustomed to bots, brands are still trying to strike the right balance between automation and human support.

Over the last ten years, conversational agents (also known as bots) have gradually become a key part of the customer experience.

Automating customer interactions presents several benefits for companies: time savings, efficiency, cost optimization, etc.

Although self-care tools are particularly popular with consumers, the image of robots vs. humans persists in some people’s minds

At a time when brands need to connect with customers to build loyalty, how can they implement a winning strategy that leverages technology while maintaining a human touch?

Automated tools: the answer to changing consumer behaviour

Digital tools have brought about big changes in how customers consume and relate to brands.

The rise in multichannel platforms has led to a surge in incoming requests.

Consumer habits have also shifted, with people now shopping at any time of day and night, on public holidays, etc. 

As customer service budgets get smaller, companies must provide users with a 24/7 service that can assist them and provide immediate answers.

Customer service professionals admit that responding to all requests adequately is difficult. In fact, 63%* say that they struggle to strike a balance between speed and quality1

72%* of consumers also prefer to solve problems themselves rather than speak directly to a salesperson or customer service rep2.

With this in mind, automating the customer journey seems the best solution for satisfying users and customer service.

Technology and people: the ideal combo to ensure optimized customer service?

Contrary to popular belief, companies don’t implement bots to replace people but to add value for end-users and lighten the load for support teams.

Automating the processing of recurring requests, or pre-filtering them, saves advisors precious time, which they can use to reduce waiting times and personally handle complex requests.

Employees can then enjoy helping customers again while customers get the answers they need, without having to wait.

Bots, a bridge for businesses?

Conversational agents are designed to complement customer relations and take over from operators. They are available on various platforms, including social media, instant messaging or e-commerce sites.

Gone are the days of the little window at the bottom of your computer screen. Today, consumers interact with chatbots via Messenger or WhatsApp.

Combining artificial intelligence and human intervention enables customer services to provide a personalized and seamless experience.

This alliance boosts customer satisfaction and helps to handle incoming requests without overloading the support teams.

Let’s take an example. A car insurance bot can provide clear and quick answers to questions about policies or deals. 

But if a policyholder needs immediate assistance after an accident, the bot can connect them to an operator.

For a garage, an automated solution provides a contact point outside opening hours.

Customers can, therefore, make an appointment to have their car serviced or their windshield repaired at any time of day or night. In this case, the bot serves as a bridge for business.

The challenge is to strike the right balance between the automation of certain tasks and human support.

A solution equipped with natural language processing (NLP) will provide customers with a seamless experience by quickly understanding their requests, no matter the phrasing.

Finally, we highly recommend regularly collecting reviews and customer satisfaction scores to adapt to their expectations.

Natural language processing and a solution that can hand requests over to an operator when they become too complex are therefore key to automating the customer relationship without dehumanizing it.

Providing relevant answers in the shortest possible time will make customers feel valued and important.

1 Salesforce: Focus on customer service 2020

2 According to a Forrester study