Let’s face it, no one really wants to talk to a computer instead of a person. A computer will sound like a computer, act like a computer and will have the social skills of a … computer.
But, times are changing, and technology being what it is, chatbots are evolving, and they’re learning (if that’s the right word) to do the job of a friendly human help desk operator when a friendly human help desk operator isn’t available. That’s got to be good news.
Let’s imagine two scenarios that need improving on.
First, you’re on a website looking for tailored support for your product. You have a perfectly good question, and if this was a physical environment, you’d just hit the silver bell on the desk and get the whole thing cleared up in a second by a quick chat with a real person.
But instead, you have… what… the chance to read a static list of 150 unrelated FAQs in alphabetical order so that you decide which one ‘least doesn’t apply’ to your situation. Hmm.
Okay, for the second scenario, let’s imagine a more helpful eCommerce website offers to engage with your question head on by asking you to let them know in a few words the subject area you’re concerned with.
You enter two or three words with hope in your heart, hit submit, and heave a sigh of relief. In response, here it comes – the same unhelpful FAQs list once again, this time not in alphabetical order, but in ‘relevance’ order, having used one of your words to mean something it was never intended to mean.
That’s not great customer service. That’s why chatbots can help.
At their best, chatbots should leave everyone feeling just a bit better about life. To be honest, in some cases, they are currently just the above but with a smiley graphic next to them and a name like ‘Julie.’ But as time goes on, chatbots are developing more features and nuances that at least take the edge of the computer conversation experience.
By adding in phrases that suggest you’ve been heard and understood, it takes the edge of the negative emotions and resistance a customer might be feeling for talking to a computer.
Time will tell, but in eCommerce, chatbots could make all the difference, as they develop ways to pick up on the emotions and deeper issues at stake that humans tend to note automatically.
“Anything else I can help you with?”