woman shopping clothes in online store and using ai call center chatbot
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Organizations are increasingly relying on chatbots to streamline their customer service experience, touting many potential benefits that include shorter wait times, cost savings, higher customer satisfaction and less repetitive work for customer service representatives. Mordor Intelligence estimates that the chatbot market will reach $102 billion by 2026, a 34% increase from 2021.

But if a bot isn’t created and tested properly, companies may experience unwanted consequences. According to multiple studies, frustration sets in for customers when they seek to resolve an issue and encounter ineffective chatbots along the way. By understanding and addressing customers’ concerns and hesitations about the chatbot experience, organizations can improve their strategy, make the most out of their chatbot investment and realize the full potential of the technology. In this article, we’ll explore customers’ common chatbot concerns and how to address them.

Customers Believe Chatbots Aren’t As Effective As Companies Claim They Are

According to a recent survey from Cyara, 80% of respondents said one of their top frustrations with chatbots was being unable to get answers to simple questions. Another 76% said being redirected to an agent and having to repeat everything was a top frustration, while 76% called using a chatbot “time-consuming.” Interestingly, these frustrations are the opposite of the results that developers seek by utilizIng chatbots. While ideally bots will save customers time and simplify customer service interactions, this is unfortunately often not what happens.

Testing chatbots can help organizations identify and fix these flaws before they’re deployed to the general public. What are the cases in which customers should be receiving a simple answer, yet they’re not? Which complex questions does the bot not understand properly? Which requests have common typos that can be addressed more effectively? Experts suggest that as well as investing in chatbots themselves, organizations should also invest in ongoing chatbot testing. This will help improve CX and grow greater confidence in the chatbot’s abilities.

Customers Want Humanness in Their Chatbot Interactions – But Not Too Much

According to a recent study from University of Florida researchers, people will trust a chatbot to handle their call as long as there is some humanness in the conversation. At the same time, a robot that behaves too much like a person can make people uncomfortable — the uncanny valley phenomenon. This presents organizations with a delicate balance to achieve, but there are best practices to manage it.

First, organizations should make it clear to the customer that they are messaging with a bot and not a real person. If customers feel like the company is trying to hide that from them, they may feel distrustful. Also, a chatbot should be able to send a customer to a human representative for particularly sensitive, emotional or complex conversations. Ultimately, chatbots are not people and cannot fully grasp human emotion, provide empathetic answers or understand human context like people can. While innovations in conversational AI are helping chatbots have more dynamic conversations with customers, not every chatbot has these capabilities.

One more important note here is that customers also don’t like when agents speak in jargon and marketing-speak, according to the University of Florida study. Even real people can lack this human, empathetic quality if call scripts aren’t written the right way. When companies focus on more human and less robotic language for customer service scripts, they see better customer trust and satisfaction.

Many Customers Believe That Chatbots Can’t Be As Effective as a Real Person

Self-service solutions like chatbots only solve 9% of customer queries without needing to bring in an agent, according to Gartner. And more than half of U.S. e-commerce shoppers say that interacting with a chatbot had a negative impact on their shopping experience, according to a Forrester study. As Cyara points out in its blog, this negative perception of chatbots can be partially attributed to the lack of quality assurance. Using QA testing to make chatbots more effective will help companies differentiate themselves from the competition and make their bot stand out from the rest. Effective customer service communication is an invaluable differentiator for any business.

A Cyara Botium survey has also found that just as customers prefer talking to a real person over a chatbot, they also prefer to use non-chatbot channels if they can’t reach a person. These alternative channels include Google searches, brand websites, FAQs and emails. This tells us that if companies could improve their overall chatbot experience, not only will human agents be less overwhelmed, but customers will have a more consistent way to get help. Instead of looking for alternative ways to find an answer, they can feel confident that the chatbot solution will work for them. A Cyara Botium survey has also found that just as customers prefer talking to a real person over a chatbot, they also prefer to use non-chatbot channels if they can’t reach a person. These alternative channels include Google searches, brand websites, FAQs and emails. This tells us that if companies could improve their overall chatbot experience, not only will human agents be less overwhelmed, but customers will have a more consistent way to get help. Instead of looking for alternative ways to find an answer, they can feel confident that the chatbot solution will work for them.

Start Testing Your Bots Now

Chatbots are here to stay, but in order to reap all the benefits, organizations must address the frustrations of their customers and the blindspots of their bots. Developers need to put themselves in their visitors’ shoes and change the chatbot’s conversation flow as needed – continuously testing and improving how the technology is working and where customers find themselves dissatisfied. By doing this, the customer experience always remains top-of-mind, and you’ll catch the gaps in CX as soon as possible.

To learn about Cyara Botium and how it utilizes chatbot testing, go here.