Feb 5, 2020 9:30:00 AM
3 reasons your service team will love service chatbots
By 2020, we all know that AI is more than just a buzzword; in the workplace, it’s already causing major transformations across departments.
Smart AI applications can automate some of the most tedious aspects of many professions. Because of that, it has the potential to improve both employees’ lives and a company’s bottom line.
Nevertheless, new technologies tend to cause worry and concern. Many people are still scared that AI will make their jobs redundant or prevent hires in the first place. We believe the opposite is true—and it might help to consider AI as a supporting employee that helps teams do their best work.
Beyond simply “working together”, an ideal team is built up of members whose skills complement each other. This is also how service teams should approach the application of AI chatbots in the work.
To this end, we present three reasons why your service team will fall in love with customer service chatbots.
1. Better & more meaningful work
Data entry is for machines, not for people! Chatbots are great in customer service for this very reason: they can take over repetitive, manual tasks in large quantities.
Service teams traditionally have a low level of engagement at the workplace, and one way to improve that is to provide significant opportunities for meaningful work. According to a Gallup report, “the workforce of today is motivated by opportunities to develop and possess a sense of purpose with regard to their work”. Unfortunately, customer service representatives spend a substantial number of hours on manual, repetitive work that doesn’t contribute to a sense of purpose.
Introducing chatbots to your service channel mix doesn’t mean replacing employees with a technology, but rather applying tools to make their work more engaging, less repetitive, and fundamentally more valuable. The tools are already here; you can use AI for automatic phone call transcription, high-quality translations, and process automation.
Algorithms can be far more powerful than humans in big-data analysis or pattern recognition, and chatbots are much more adept at quickly and accurately collecting contact tracking information. When applied to customer service, they can help identify underlying issues in the customer journey, and improve customer experience as a result.
2. Improved working conditions
Customer service runs on empathy, but at the same time, customer support is not known for being an easy gig with easy hours. Virtually nobody contacts customer service because everything is fine. Working in customer service inherently means dealing with unhappy customers.
It’s well known in the industry that stress, pressure, and angry customers can have a toll on the well-being and mental health of employees. This is where service chatbots can step in and take the heat; they can be used as “gatekeepers” of incoming requests, helping manage the overall workload and stress levels.
Great customer service representatives are by definition very empathetic people - but even if their “empathy reserves” are larger than average, they are still using a mental resource with limitations. Repetitive requests and angry customers can cause “compassion fatigue”, which lowers service quality.
But it’s not only about the repetitiveness or angry customers. Many customer service departments have tough shift limitations and demanding weekend work, which in the long run can bring down employee morale. Many organisations also apply “vacation blackouts” during peak seasons. For employees that pursue a career in customer service, it gets harder and harder to balance the demanding working schedules with friends, family, or even personal time. Ultimately, this stress can cause your best and most senior employees to leave their jobs.
This is another aspect where AI-powered chatbots can help out. Available around the clock, they can reduce the need for weekend work or night-shifts and can help mitigate the high demands of the peak season.
Looking after the well-being of service employees is not only decent treatment of human beings, but is also a wise, long term oriented business decision. Reducing employee turnover will have a significant impact on on-boarding, training, and overall hiring costs, not to mention overall customer satisfaction and service quality.
3. Automation makes people happy and more satisfied
An interesting thing about automation is that it actually makes your staff happy: 92% of companies have seen an increase in their overall employee satisfaction after introducing automation.
This is because people - a.k.a. employees - inherently want to feel like their time and work has value. According to the Automation in the Workplace 2017 report, automation would reduce unproductive time during the workday for a whopping 69% of information workers. And there’s more; 59% said they “could save six or more hours a week if the repetitive aspects of their job were automated”.
According to the report above, 72% of respondents said they would use the time saved through automation to perform higher-value work - which we consider to be the correct strategy. Following that, 78% of respondents said that automation would allow them to focus on the more interesting and rewarding aspects of their job.
Employees don’t want to feel like they’re wasting their time - they want to do valuable work that’s good for the business.
So from an employer’s standpoint, AI chatbots are actually a big opportunity: rarely does saving costs in the service department also make staff happy. Automation and AI can be an affordable and efficient way to increase employee satisfaction on the service floor and retain that top talent that defines the service quality.
And isn’t that the whole point of customer service - providing value to your customers through service, so they’ll keep coming back?
Considering the huge advantages, conversational service chatbots are still an under-utilised technology in the modern customer service mix.
One reason could be resistance from the service teams themselves; while teams desire less repetitive & more fulfilling work, there might be an underlying fear that this new technology will make them redundant. Surprisingly, this is far from the truth as research shows that automation will provide service teams with more purposeful work.
Great customer service reps genuinely love helping people, and it’s a big mistake for employers to take this trait for granted. By applying the right kind of technologies in your service organisation, you can allow your service reps to shine and be truly excellent at what they do.
Sara is a former Solvemate. She’s really into chatbots, and improving customer experience. When she’s not writing about customer service automation, she’s an Italo-disco singer and a devoted housekeeping nerd. Hailing originally from snowy Finland, the Berlin winters leave her cold (pardon the pun).