Just over a month ago, Facebook announced that they will be introducing chatbot technology to the Messenger platform. A key selling point of the venture is that businesses will be able to use artificial intelligence-powered bots to optimise customer service, by increasing the speed of their interactions with customers.
The idea is that when a customer initiates contact with a business through Facebook Messenger, bots will respond first (and quickly) on behalf of the business, reducing any wait time the customer may experience while waiting for a response from a human being.
While minimising customer wait time (or “latency” as Zuckerberg refers to it) is commendable, it got us thinking – would it really be wise to station bots at the frontline of a business and allow them to be responsible for interactions with valued customers?
Today’s tech-savvy customers are cynical of false pretences from businesses and can distinguish pretty easily between an automated response that’s spat out on a whim and a personalised response to a question.
Call us crazy, but great customer service isn’t just about response rate.
For JobAdder, exceptional customer service is one of the pillars on which the business was built almost a decade ago. Our recruitment software platform powers the recruiting activities of over 8,000 recruiters around the world and our champion Support Pirates (as they’re known around here) interact with those customers every day.
Each time a customer has an interaction with a member of Support, via LiveChat, phone or email, they’re invited to give feedback that’s broadcasted live on our website.
Talk about motivation to keep up high standards!
The thing we notice is that almost every customer mentions and thanks their Support contact by name. Further still, most customers have a funny anecdote to share about their exchange or some small testimonial to give about the person who helped them.
These earnest exchanges give customers more than just a solution to their problem – they allow customers to experience our company values firsthand and to get helpful tips and advice over and above their initial query. For JobAdder, great customer service underpins our success and our customers really appreciate it.
That being said, that’s not to say that there aren’t other arenas where bots can kick butt.
One example that’s blowing our minds is chatbot app DoNotPay. Developed by 19-year-old Joshua Browder, the app is designed to help people appeal parking tickets by providing information about how to make an appeal in a user-friendly, live chat format. Currently live in the UK and (as of April) New York too, the app markets itself as the world’s first robot lawyer, having already helped people appeal almost $4 million worth of parking fines.
Here’s hoping it’ll make its way Down Under next!
Unlike Browder’s specialised chatbot app, or even the ever-popular navigational tool Siri, customers don’t always ask businesses questions for which there’s just one standard response. When it comes to customer service, chatbots are no match for trained customer service representatives, no matter how closely artificial intelligence may try to replicate them.
Just to prove our point, here are three of our favourite pieces of feedback that our (real life) Support Pirates received last week that no bot ever could. Well, definitely not the first one!
“Kellen’s customer service is like his beard sturdy and robust”
“James came, saw, and kicked all kinds of ass! I’m really impressed with the solution he gave. Not only did I think my problem wouldn’t have been solved, he gave two solutions which will end up working for our purposes. Once again, you guys delivered the goods.”
“Exceptional service yet again, no doubt deserving of a pay rise and a few extra days of leave entitlement a year. Thank you Bree!”
Bots – eat your heart out.
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