Although chatbot use rises, we still prefer talking to humans

Research has forecast that bot interactions in the banking sector, completed without human assistance, will move from 12 percent to over 90 percent in 2022. Will this mean the end of the contact centre agent as bots take over?
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

Hiring interns is an easy way for companies to bring in extra help and knowledge during their busiest seasons. The hires give organisations a "try before you buy" opportunity to evaluate potential future full-time hires.

However, this method of hiring does have its disadvantages. Rarely do interns come in with a full understanding of the company's product suite, the knowledge of how to answer customer questions, or where to direct the customer for further information.

They are on a learning curve. As time goes by, they adapt, learn, and eventually have the potential to be brought on full time.

This is also the case for companies that adopt bot-based 'digital employees.'

A chatbot does not begin its tasks fully knowledgeable about the company. Over time it becomes smarter and able to better serve customers, managing mundane tasks to free up more of employees' time.

Chatbots have been designed to answer easy, frequently asked questions and free up the contact centre staff. But are chatbots about to take over our jobs?

Cloud contact centre provider Aspect ran a survey in March 2017, asking 500 customer service representatives about their roles.

Although 65 percent of customer service agents intend to stay where they are, only 41 percent are optimistic about opportunities for advancement.

It is not surprising really. Juniper Research has predicted that the use of virtual customer assistants will jump 1000 percent by 2020.

Chatbot interactions in the banking sector, completed without human assistance, will move from 12 percent to over 90 percent in 2022.

Users think that they get their questions answered more quickly when using bots. Problems get solved and customer issues get resolved. This leaves humans to answer more complex questions.

According to the Aspect survey, 44 percent of customer service reps said that if a chatbot was handling mundane support questions, the reps would be able to apply their intellect.

But almost half of us (42 percent) want a human agent to help answer our complex questions and requests.

Three out of four of us do not think that chatbots would be any good for complicated troubleshooting, and nine out of 10 of us feel that we should always have the option to transfer to a live agent. We are not convinced that chatbots would be good for complicated troubleshooting.

We do use digital assistants and chatbots regularly. Chatbots abound in insurance, food outlets, language learning, and enterprise workflow. Chatbots are poised to take over our online interactions. We interact with Siri and Cortana and use voice control in the office and home.

We use AI bots for instant interaction and workflow, or we mine its data. We use Alexa and Google Assistant at home, or we can ask tricky statistics questions from a tool like Yodatai from Knoema.

Yotadai allows us to check facts, ask difficult questions, and bring insights to our questions from its bank of data sources.

Although chatbot use rises we still prefer talking to humans ZDNet

This AI tool can even check Twitter if someone makes a statistics-based claim on Twitter.

For instance, users will be able to just mention @Yodatai, and the bot will respond with relevant information checking the claim.

Enterprises employing 1,000 knowledge workers can waste around $2.5 million to $3.5 million per year trying to hunt down data.

These employees might be searching for non-existent information or searching for existing information in all the wrong places.

Bots such as Yodatai can put the right information at people's fingertips, minimising time and money lost.

Whilst self-service and automated interaction on text and messaging apps present a great opportunity for businesses to deliver great customer experiences, agents and chatbots must work together to give the customer the best experience possible -- to stop customers turning away.

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