In recent years, chatbot market growth and consolidation have led to a combination of excessive waiting times, frustrations, and fears. As if everyone was expecting virtual assistants and artificial intelligence to start a Copernican Revolution that never happened. And as if using this technology would completely replace contact centre agents, giving rise to the fear that workers worldwide would be replaced by robots. What has actually happened is an evolution of customer service with chatbots integrated into contact centres, where divvying up tasks between man and machine is benefiting especially the former. There have also been positive effects for companies that directly or via outsourcing manage customer relationships. In the end, it’s the customers that benefit most from a service without long waiting times, that’s always available, and can be reached at any time.
Chatbots in contact centres encourage more qualified work
In any case, chatbots are a contact centre agent’s main ally, as they are forced to shift their work focus on their skills. Using virtual assistants, in fact, meets the need to guarantee immediate answers to simple queries that don’t require human analytical skills and empathy. In a sector often featuring poor qualification, delegating part of the menial tasks to artificial intelligence is the stepping stone to increasing motivation and specific skills. To increase motivation, agents are assigned roles with growing complexity in which they must succeed in providing a satisfactory customer experience that is more demanding by the day. To increase specific skills, agents are provided coaching and training sessions that focus on mastering contact management system tools, knowing the products and services offered, and on overall communication skills. This means that, although low cost work in contact centres will tend to disappear over the years, the same cannot be said for the investments of companies who will be forced to concentrate on choosing innovative technology along with adding value to a highly qualified workforce. After all, it's already happening in sectors that are experimenting with integrating artificial intelligence and chatbots in their customer care models: editorial, retail, food, pharmaceutical, finance & insurance, utilities, public administration, etc.
Customer experience as a result of virtual assistants and agents
All these sectors aim to increase engagement through a unique customer experience. This is the reason the virtual assistant - employee fusion coexists happily in these environments. Shorter waiting times thanks to chatbots are paired with increased professionalism in the agents handling customer requests. This data emerges from several surveys that, in busting the myth that consumers are more comfortable when speaking with a human, confirm that the same consumers need one (chatbot) and the other (agent), as both contribute to providing an efficient customer experience. In fact, most studies, including those by VentureBeat, show how CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) has increased thanks to the help of chatbots. The reason lies especially in the drastically reduced amount of time the call is initially answered, by nearly 70-90%. Average Handling Time (AHT) of conversations has a similar performance, with a net reduction of 50%, even when it’s human agents speaking with customers. It’s easy to infer why. While before, the same agents had to handle the initial stages of solving a problem, now their contribution comes later, after customers have already received the first successful response to their question from chatbots.