Source: en.blog.businessdecision.com

Chatbots sometimes get a bad rep, but that’s not really ok. Sure, back in the day, you’d get more information out of a toddler than you would out of a chatbot, but nowadays, the technology is far more advanced, and chatbots have become an integral part of essentially every online business.

Nowadays, chatbots are primarily used as customer service operators. With improvements done over the years, and with machine-learning and AI technologies making their way into the world of chatbots, these intelligent, virtual robots are becoming more useful by the day.

But, the problem is – they’re not perfect. They’re still not as good or intelligent as a real human being, which begs the question – are chatbots reliable for customer support? Well, let’s find out together.

What Do People Say?

Source: hospitalitynet.org

First up, let’s start with some statistics from various surveys done over the years to see how people really feel about chatbots. When it comes to waiting times, over 35% of the surveyed people said they would much rather interact with a chatbot right away, without wasting time than wait in queue for a few minutes only to talk to a real person.

Also, over 55% of the surveyed people said that they would be more than pleased to interact with a chatbot in the customer service process, and over 65% of them would like to see chatbots included in the customer service process mostly because of the immediate response.

Also, over 75% of the surveyed people are firm believers that the most important thing a company could do to prove they care about their customers is to provide them with an immediate customer service response. So far, we feel like it’s safe to say that people value time over information – at least that’s what it seems like, for now.

Furthermore, over 60% of the surveyed people have said that they have interacted with a chatbot in the previous year and that their experience was very pleasant. On the other hand, over 45% of the surveyed people have said that if they’ve had an unpleasant experience with a chatbot – they would stop trusting the company in question.

So, what does this tell us? Basically, as long as the chatbots are readily available and capable of giving away real, informative answers – the majority of people wouldn’t mind interacting with them. Better yet, they would gladly interact with them.

However, that still doesn’t answer our question. So, before we can come up with a definitive answer to the question at hand, we must look at some of the benefits chatbots provide.

What Are The Benefits Provided By Chatbots?

While it is obvious from the surveys that people trust and appreciate chatbots, we still don’t know the extent of the advantages chatbots hold. So, let’s check them out!

Immediate Response

Source: cxtoday.com

It was evident from the surveys that people don’t care to wait around in a queue for a real-life operator to assist them, so it’s safe to say that the most obvious benefit of the chatbot is the immediate response.

Not only is this very important to the customers, but it is also vital when it comes to customer service optimization. If you only have human operators running customer service, the queue can easily get way too long, which could cause more harm than good for the business.

Easy Setup

According to Botsurfer, another neat benefit is an easy setup. It has never been easier to set up a chatbot and have it do what it has to do. Most chatbot builders or service providers have chatbots that can be integrated with virtually any platform and become operational within hours.

Cutting Costs

Source: e-bot7.com

While this isn’t necessarily benefiting the customer service itself, it is, however, benefiting the company. A chatbot is a much more cost-efficient option compared to a human operator. It is as simple as that – less manpower, less expenses.

However, that’s not all. All the money saved by using chatbots can easily be rerouted and invested into improving customer service in one way or another. So, not only will a chatbot save money, but it will also help improve the business.

Automated Routing

As we’ve mentioned a few times already – people hate wasting time. Not in general, only when it comes to customer service. All jokes aside, another significant advantage you get with chatbots is automated routing. If an agent or an operator is having a discussion with a customer and is required to reroute the customer to another agent or another department – that will take some time.

They’ll have to manually do the entire process, and that will only increase the wait time in the queue. With chatbots, on the other hand, routing is automated and instantaneous, which is a great deal for any customer, as well as the business.

Improved Analytics

Source: iberdrola.com

Since most modern chatbots are powered with AI and machine-learning technology – they will constantly collect information about the customers and their issues. This kind of valuable information will help human agents come up with a solution a lot quicker. This will speed up the problem resolving process a dozen times over. All human agents will be armed with knowledge provided by the chatbot, and they’ll be able to use that same knowledge to resolve any issue that might come up.

Are Chatbots Reliable For Customer Support?

So, what is our final verdict? Are chatbots reliable or not? Well, a simple, straightforward answer would be – they are. No one is expecting a chatbot to provide on the same level as a real-life, human customer service agent.

However, when it comes to the things that the chatbots are great at – they are absolutely reliable. Any minor issues can be resolved via chatbot. They can become armed with knowledge, and they could give out a lot of valuable information to the customers. Also, if the issue at hand is too difficult or complex for a chatbot – the program will immediately transfer the person to the first available agent.

So, will they replace humans as the sole customer service provider? Probably not. Not any time soon, at least. But, if we simply take a look at what they can do, it’s fairly safe to say that chatbots are as reliable as they could be.

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