Chatbots and humans are better together

We are approximately eight years away from the year 2029. One may ask what is so important about the end of this specific decade, and your nearest sci-fi movie fan will tell you, “eight years from now, a cyborg disguised as a human, known as a Terminator—sent by artificial intelligent company Skynet—will be sent to 1984 to assassinate one Sarah Connor.”

Not only are we closing in on the timeline of the original Terminator, but it is apparent we are so far away from the worries of Skynet as well. Like many classic 80’s movies, Terminator overshot it’s expectations for technology in the year 2029. Fully autonomous artificial intelligence is not any closer to reality than a flying DeLorean you would see in Back to the Future.

The more realistic worry about the threat of artificial intelligence right now would be to think AI will take over our jobs, but this worry is still an unrealistic fantasy as even the best AI still requires the support of people.

Take chatbots, for instance, which have exploded in popularity with forward-thinking businesses in recent years. The overall goal of a chatbot has never been to act as a replacement for a human team, but to only enhance the experience for both the consumer and the brand. For the consumer, a chatbot provides accurate and instant answers to their questions, 24 hours a day. For the company, the chatbot allows their marketing, sales, and customer service teams to focus on higher value actions while the bot handles the tedious and repetitive tasks.

“We have higher web traffic than ever before and the AtlasRTX chatbot has assisted our sales team by acting as an immediate contact and chatting with multiple customers simultaneously. Our appointment and sales numbers have increased as a direct result of our AtlasRTX chatbot,” said Amanda Mohl, Internet Team Manager at Eastwood Homes.

When working together, AI technology and an effective human team can lead to extremely positive customer experiences throughout the entire sales journey.

“Having an AtlasRTX chatbot has been very helpful and worth every penny! We have seen a 73% increase in leads generated over the last three months from our bot, and almost 8% of our leads are converting into contracts. That is over 60% higher than some of our other lead sources thanks to the very highly qualified leads from the bot,” said Rachel Morton, Online Concierge for Riverside Homebuilders.

Answering questions immediately, at any time of day or night, is one of the best things you can do to provide a positive customer experience.  It is not feasible to rely solely on your human staff to handle these tasks, even with live chat. It is clear having a live chat feature, in some form, is far better than a traditional call center. In fact, 79% of people would rather text a live chat because they don’t have to wait on hold and get their questions answered immediately.

The main issue with only using live chat is very similar to the issues with a call center; if the staff isn’t available at a given moment, it can lead to frustration for the customer as they are forced to wait for a response. During 2020, as companies were forced to downsize and furlough critical staff, demand for communication increased, causing a snowball effect that turned many customer experiences from positive to negative.

To counteract this reduction in staff and availability, chatbots are being implemented to continue engaging customers in a conversational manner, providing information and answers to their inquiries, 24 hours a day. In fact, 80% of the conversations between customers and a chatbot are resolved without the need for human interaction. This allows the human staff to focus their time and effort on supporting the other 20% of customers who need additional help.

Today’s consumer is used to and expects instant gratification. With already-short attention spans getting shorter every year, one bad customer experience will most likely lead to that customer taking their business elsewhere. This problem is not solved by having more call center/live chat agents, nor will it be fixed by completely replacing your team with an artificial intelligence chatbot, no matter how smart it may be. What does work is the right blend of technology, automation, and expert staff to provide a positive experience at every stage of the customer journey.