What does a chatbot do better than a human? Especially in customer service, a sector that is never 100% automated and where humans and chatbots coexist most.

First, let me tell you a story.

We are on February 18, Paris. The driver uses the in-car concierge service to get the best route to our destination.

After waiting for a while, he finally gets connected to a switchboard operator on the phone. The quality of the call is pretty bad and it is a struggle to get the instructions over the phone. The whole process took 5 long and useless minutes to get the directions.

As a Waze user, which is built with a dictation feature, the added value of this premium service seemed very low. How would a chatbot have handled the situation? From experience, even in the worst case scenario, I have all the reasons to believe that there would have been less friction and a chatbot would have offered a smoother experience.

I am sharing this story with you because we tend to compare robots to humans. Too often, we tend to overestimate how well humans can perform certain tasks and on the contrary to believe that robots cannot bear the comparison. This is especially true regarding communication and customer service. We forget that communication between humans is never fluid and perfect. While it is true that robots cannot offer (yet ?) the same quality of communication as humans, let’s not forget that they can outperform us for specific tasks.

Here are the 10 things that chatbots do better than us.

Hint: Not wake up humans 😅

1️⃣ Available 24/7

In case you still don’t know, Maslow’s physiological needs do not apply (yet?) to chatbots.

Who would have thought? But seriously, it is always available, at all hours of the day and every day of the week.

In addition, consumer expectations have shifted.

Millennials expect their favorite brands to respond on social networks outside of the usual working hours of a business, late on a weeknight or on a Sunday.

Chatbots can meet this need, and it’s a great thing for us humans!

 

2️⃣ Fast access to information

The need for fast access to information is crucial, in particular for customer service. A human can never be faster than a robot to find precise information in a particular document.

The faster you respond to a request from your client, the sooner you can defuse a situation. The idea is not to replace the human from all the customer services but rather to answer level 1 questions in order to “power-up” the adviser with a robot in back-end which will assist his time-consuming actions.

However, the pre-requisite is to have information available and well structured, which is not the case for all companies.

 

3️⃣ Full control of the chatbot copy

We all had a bad experience when interacting with a brand.

During a working session with Facebook, I heard that “People prefer to clean their toilets than to call a customer service on the phone”. Do not ask me to source this data but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was true.

The stakes are big for the brand, the reactions of the chatbot are controlled, you already know that the chatbot will not be able to embellish itself or to make mistakes in its communications.

To this day chatbots can not generate language, so you can sleep peacefully. I mean, for now.

 

4️⃣ In-depth personalization

Through chatter, chatbots are data factories. This data can add value to the conversation by personalizing the experience.

Call your user by his / her first name, be pro-active about the user’s recurring requests, customize the menus according to his/her preferences.

And this is not limited to the “pull” part, a personalized push strategy via a chatbot will give you exceptional results: ask him his opinion about a product he has consumed, offer him content that may please him., … Guaranteed results!

 

5️⃣ Unified personality for your brand

The channels of communication within a brand are larger, so the opportunities to get in direct contact are all the greater: Private messages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, e-mail, by phone…

Despite guidelines and editorial charters, the chatbot allows you to add a layer in addition to your branding: the personality. And it is unified and consistent across all channels where the user can get in touch with your brand.

 

6️⃣ Super repetitive and time-consuming tasks

Let’s face it, no one likes to do repetitive, time-consuming and low-value tasks. This is why we have been automating many tasks for years.

The human is not made to accomplish this kind of tasks, we are not programmed for this. A robot will be better at performing these repetitive tasks that do not require much thinking, to allow us, humans, to dedicate our energy to more important matters that require quality work.

 

7️⃣ Fluid cross-channel communication

Among the many communication channels, we all have our favorites. If you have to get in touch with a brand, you may be heading to Facebook, while others will go to Twitter. The points of contact are numerous and they rarely communicate with each other. A multi-platform chatbot will adapt to user preferences by providing a seamless experience between different mediums.

And that’s the ultimate chatbot proposition in 2018: it’s not for you to learn, but them to learn from you.

 

8️⃣ Scalability of knowledge

Ask a counselor to learn the rationale for a new product every day to add to their diagnosis. You will be surprised at the results. Having worked on a training chatbot for one of the largest French luxury house, we were able to highlight the considerable advantage around scalability around knowledge. A chatbot has no limit on the amount of information it can handle.

So even if we recommend to design deeper conversational experiences (“T-shape”) for a high added-value experience, some chatbots may be more flexible, limited to the question/response and therefore can adapt to a wide range of issues.

 

9️⃣ Always learning

By now, you know that a chatbot can learn as a human. It will not perform as well as we do, but it has a certain advantage: It can learn from a large database and continues to learn continuously throughout all the exchanges, which is an important mass of information.

Two points to remember here: if you want the basic experience to be great, you need to be able to start with data: a client verbatim, an FAQ extract. And it must be fed regularly, automatically or supervised in order to take advantage of all its exchanges.

 

🔟 Always happy 😃

The state of the art of chatbots, the rule-based bots, shows us that we must control all chatbot behavior, to ensure a non-receptive experience for the user. Bots based on deep-learning and neural networks (or corpus-based chatbots) are more interesting but not safe enough to handle important situations for brands, such as their customer relationship.

Today you have control over the feelings of your bot and therefore its reactions.


 

That’s it, folks! Let’s not forget that it is not for all that the human is exceeded, on the contrary, in a chatbot project the human is at the center, from prototyping to training. He supervises and decides for the bot. I believe we need to design a world where the bot is the assistant, the augmentation of the human. Not his replacement.

 

I hope these 10 points will help to better identify the qualities of a chatbot in your strategy and that you will be a little more indulgent the next time you compare a chatbot to a human 😃

 

Please leave comments below, I’ll be happy to answer!

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Ulysse

Design doer, design thinker. Currently designing your next best friend 🤖