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The world is undergoing many technological changes which are even changing the way human beings communicate with each other. Online retail shopping is replacing the old brick-mortar shopping where customers do not interact directly with the sellers. They choose the products they like and pay online where later the product is delivered at their doorstep.
Consumers have gradually moved on from real communication with another fellow human being to the virtual world of the highly advanced and systematic buying process.
But does that mean, while expressing their concern, they will convey it to automated customer support not having human touch?
As per the HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW, customers still want to talk to a human being.
It is a fact that a machine cannot empathize with the feelings of a customer, as it is programmed to work mechanically based on the instructions. It cannot help in advising on critical decisions. This pushes away many of the customers to interact with an automated bot.
There is a lower success rate of AI empowered automated customer service. Even in a published report of the Economics Times, there was a piece of news which stated that “Facebook chatbots failed 70 percent of the time”.
The automated customer service in B2B businesses is at a more disadvantaged position when compared to the B2C businesses due to significantly lower acceptance of failure in the former. Human interactions have a crucial role in delivering better customer experience as the high-end business customers in B2B service, still, value the human element in the customer service process. A human customer service agent also can execute the up-selling and cross-selling process which cannot be carried out by the bot or any other automated service agent.
Only 36% of customers believe that digital channels are better than human interactions (Accenture Strategy’s Global Customer Pulse Research)
In spite of all these many companies are integrating an automated service agent as a part of the customer service process, because it enables 24/7 customer service. This is beneficial for the well-known advertising companies like Google, which have a click-to-call feature. The feature helps the consumers to call the business anytime for making a purchase or regarding more information about the product. Voice communication is going to become a business priority in the coming years, as 90% of the companies expressed that they function based on the customer experience. Google Assistant, an artificial intelligence empowered assistant, can engage in two-way conversations. Unlike chatbots, it works in voice mode. The best marketing campaign can fail if customers are not able to connect to the businesses at their convenient time. The Google Assistant helps the company in carrying out an effective marketing process by connecting to the customers whenever they have any queries.
There are different categories of automated service agents other than voice assistant and bot such as intelligent personal assistant, automated personal assistant, smart assistant, and virtual digital assistant. Out of all these categories, bots and voice assistant are been mainly utilized for the customer service support.
Voice assistant works mainly in the branding of a product as it provides relevant information about the product whenever they need it and may not require human intervention.
Other than this the daily troubleshooting process needs the assistance of human customer service agent. The automated service support can function for the common issues and if it fails human service agent can take over, to help the customer.
It has been reported that even after many years, bots can interact with customers by referring to the fixed knowledge base, the complex ones have to be still resolved by the human customer service agent. Future advances in AI may allow the bot to utilize the predictive and contextual data to provide better customer service but cannot compete with the irreplaceable human customer service.
Marketers have to make a strategy to utilize the full potential of bots and human customer service agents by evaluating the benefits which both can provide in a specific scenario, generating business and customer value. The positive attributes of each of them can be appropriately utilized to provide pleasant customer experience.
B2B companies need to understand that the bots cannot completely replace human customer service. The service provided by bots can only resolve the issues which customers face on a daily basis, the complex ones have to be still resolved by the human customer service agent.
Chatbot can provide the readily-available and any-time support for the customers looking for immediate service. By integrating the service of human and bots, B2B companies can improve each customer experience in the complex customer service process.