If you’ve overseen or worked in customer service for any length of time, you know that most customer service representatives get asked the same, repetitive questions. While the purpose of having customer service representatives is to answer your customers’ questions, dividing the labor of answering questions between your human employees and automated chatbots for customer service can help cut down on your labor costs and use employees where they are most needed.
What Exactly is a Customer Service Chatbot?
A chatbot is an online customer service robot that uses natural language processing, or NLP, to understand and answer a customer’s typed questions. The bot is able to respond similarly to the way a person would type. Because chatbots operate independently, they can answer some of the more straightforward customer questions that would normally be directed to a customer service representative. The bots can also direct customers to contact a representative if their questions appear to be too complex.
How Can Chatbots Cut Down on Costs?
Some sources claim that customer service chatbots can cut down on overall business costs up to 29 percent. While this exact figure is disputed, the fact remains that using automated chatbots for a portion of your customer service workforce can save your company a significant amount in labor costs.
This savings does not necessarily come from replacing your customer service workforce. While chatbots can help reduce the number of straightforward questions your representatives have to answer, there are some customer questions that are complex enough to warrant a representative answering them. However, as discussed below, using chatbots for your customer interaction needs can help you to optimize your workforce.
How Can Chatbots Help You Optimize Your Workforce?
An optimal workforce has each worker where he or she is most needed. Since chatbots can answer simple questions, they allow you to place customer service representatives where they can answer more complex questions. Additionally, because the bots free up a portion of your workforce, you may be able to train outstanding customer service representatives to move up through the company and serve as specialists in cross-sell, upsell, and other capacities.
You may be concerned that using chatbots will require you to lay off a large portion of workers, but this is rarely the case. Instead, because chatbots take over some of the mundane aspects of customer service, your representatives will be free to take on other roles where their expertise is consistently put to good use. They likely will also appreciate not having to answer the same simple questions throughout the course of the day.
In summation, while some may worry that chatbots will take over the jobs of customer service personnel, the fact is that these additional to your workforce will only allow current employees to work where they are most needed. By leaving the more straightforward questions to the chatbots, you will find that your customers have an efficient and pleasant experience, that your employees can grow to their full potential, and that you save substantially on labor costs.