Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Chatbots Versus Summer Interns for Low-Level Work

May 18, 2017

It’s nearly summer, and companies are approaching that special time of year when they can hire interns and not pay them to do mind-numbingly boring tasks. Interestingly, mind-numbingly boring tasks are the reason so many companies, including contact centers, are employing chatbots. And chatbots don’t leave the coffee pot empty.

A curious thing is happening in the contact center today. Self-service automation, which is popular and widely used by customers, isn’t cutting down on the volume of live telephone calls. Customers save that step as a last resort, so contact center agents are finding themselves spending more time solving unusual or complex problems. But not all self-service is created equal, and the twentieth century methods of “dumb” IVR systems and FAQ pages is no longer pleasing today’s digital customer who expects personalization. Enter the automated “smart” chatbot.

Aspect’s 2016 Aspect Consumer Experience Index found that 65 percent of consumers feel good when they resolve a customer service issue without a live person, and 70 percent of respondents prefer to use chatbots to interact with companies for simple to moderate interactions and transactions.

The key to succeeding with chatbots in the contact center (and getting customers to use them) is to understand they won’t replace live agents (not anytime soon, anyway). What they can do is automate simple queries and do the footwork on more complex customer problems. If a customer starts an interaction with a chatbot but ultimately requires an experienced human agent, his basic information and problem could be collected by the bot and made available to the agent who picks up the live call. This cross-channel integration is crucial for a good customer experience with chatbots.

Cooperation between a chatbot system and human agents requires a lot of background analytics from the contact center solutions as well as natural language understanding (if the chatbot works via speech instead of text). Solutions such as Aspect’s CXP chatbot platform were designed to work in between companies and their consumers as well as companies and their employees, wrote Fast Company’s Lydia Dishman.

“This not only creates a faster response, but allows agents to spend more time on complex customer inquiries that require a more personal, human touch,” she wrote.

So what about the poor summer interns who are out of a job once customers begin using chatbots for mundane tasks? Chances are good you’ve got an old file storage room that needs to be cleaned out, and chatbots aren’t very good at that. 

Edited by Alicia Young