How Chatbots Will Change The Face of Customer Service

Chatbots in Customer Service

As RingCentral continues to evolve beyond cloud telephony and into the cross-functional, disruptive UCaaS space (unified communications as a service), the way we look at customer service is also transforming as we focus on how we can more effectively and efficiently provide an enterprise-class experience for our customers.

Through innovations in AI (artificial intelligence) and Machine Learning, new forms of automated cognitive computing are allowing us to understand and solve problems faster and without the need for human intervention. Click To Tweet

This paradigm shift to self-service is not only reflected in the tech space but pervasive across all industries and walks of life, from the supermarket checkout line to the self-service kiosks emerging at our favourite fast food restaurants. We continue to demand more from our technology; but in turn, this puts the onus back on the consumer to take responsibility for their experience. If the experience is poor, this often is a result of the technology or user error rather than the failure of a recipient serviceperson. This shift has many implications, one of them being the increased relevance and subsequent power of chatbots used in customer service scenarios.

Simplified serlf-service

While a certain focus has been applied to a high-touch, bespoke interpersonal approach to customer service, this type of approach is not necessarily ideal across all scenarios. Many customers actually prefer to solve more simple, straightforward problems themselves—they just require a quick, efficient, and seamless operating method to complete the task at hand. The lack of human intervention can be beneficial not only from an efficiency perspective from the business providing the support but also for the customer.

Simplified customer experience

Simplified customer experience

Chatbots can provide a more efficient and cost-effective support solution for companies while accommodating the public’s growing appetite for simplified self-service, but do they actually result in a positive customer experience?

Well, there are some conflicting studies on this. While there have been positive results in relation to testing chatbots customer-service scenarios within finance, other studies have resulted in chatbots not even blatantly failing the Turing test (the test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human). It is important for companies to consider this as the technology continues to develop and improve. Rather than attempting to “fool” customers into thinking they are speaking to a real human, companies should consider being transparent about the use of chatbots whilst simultaneously ensuring a high-touch level of service through additional human coverage and intervention.

There is no doubt that as this technology continues to develop, we will see an increasing opportunity for its utilisation and an improvement in the associated experience that comes with it. The positive implications of this technology can be explored through a number of different benefit factors that chatbots introduce to a customer service situation:

  • No dependency on inbound activity from other mediums (phone/chat/email) = immediate response
  • Streamlined output of response = diminished margin of error
  • Automated, around-the-clock-access = no regional dependencies when calling in

Adopting a hybrid methodology

The introduction of a chatbot-exclusive environment also raises its own issues, however. Depending on the complexity of the issue, a scenario may drastically benefit from immediate or eventual human intervention. Therefore, many companies are looking to adopt a more pragmatic “hybrid” methodology, utilising chatbots with close human supervision and, if required, intervention.

Adapting to chat bot-exclusive environment

As these new technologies evolve, RingCentral is continuing to invest in improving automation and providing tools to our customer, with customer experience and satisfaction always sharply in focus. We pride ourselves on our world-class customer support experience, and the introduction of automated, cognitive computing tools and processes will surely further enhance this. It must, however, be meticulously considered, tested, and deployed, alongside the careful attention of human experts, to ensure that customers are not left up a river without a paddle.

About the author

    Shaun Spivak

    Author

    Shaun Spivak is a Senior Manager of Customer Care for RingCentral in EMEA. He has successfully led and developed the new UK Customer Care Organisation from the ground up, hiring and directly managing a team with varying roles and skillsets across the UK and the Philippines.