Bots or Humans in the Contact Center?

By Tim Anderson, Platform28 on December 16, 2016

Reading through our Twitter timeline this morning, there are many articles about the difference between bots and human interactions. Some show real evidence that people prefer interacting with bots but many others show just the opposite, that people still prefer real human engagement. With all of the technology and research that is out there, this dynamic area appears confusing and conflicting and the answer appears to be  a resounding “It depends!”.

There are some real benefits that come from the use of bots that create a more positive customer experience. With bots, customers receive immediate, consistent service and don’t have to wait for “the next available agent.” Customer service bots also help to continually update and reinforce strong knowledge bases. There are also compliance wins that come from bots by ensuring disclosures and information that are always given verbatim.

That said, people still need and often want real, empathetic human interaction. For issues that require long explanations or issues that people are emotionally invested in, customers want to be able to talk to a human. The same is true when customers have a complaint and just want their voice to be heard. Putting that into a system that receives an automated response from a bot and nothing else will just reinforce customers’ frustrations. Every organization is going to have different scenarios and situations where they will need to determine which type of interaction their customers want.

We’re on the cusp of some incredible changes in customer engagement. Bots, automation and deep learning will improve the quality of customers’ experiences and change how we personalize conversations with consumers. But along the way, there’s a real need to ensure we’re not just relying so heavily on technology that we fail to provide the real help our customers want.