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Service bots may address the frustration presented by chatbots

Despite becoming the first port of call when it comes to handling automated customer service these days, chatbots have proved quite hit or miss, with people often left frustrated with the lack of response they receive or indeed the inability to resolve an issue.

While these chatbots will continue to frustrate, according to co-CEO of virtual agent developer CLEVVA, Ryan Falkenberg, says service bots can serve as a relatively simple fix for a common problem that exists in the chatbot space.

“When it first became clear that chatbots might be useful to the world of business (sometime in the mid-2010s), many organisations vastly overestimated what they’d be capable of. In their minds, they were getting a like-for-like replacement for human customer service agents. Chatbots, the thinking went, would be able to resolve customer queries completely unassisted,” notes Falkenberg in an op-ed sent to Hypertext.

“In reality, what they got was more like a smart librarian. That is, the chatbot doesn’t know the answer itself, but knows where to fetch it from. Unfortunately, many of them are working with poorly constructed knowledge bases, meaning that the answers they provide tend to be generic and unhelpful (much like a librarian who only has access to out-of-date reference books),” he explains.

The role that service bots can play is in the identification of the problem, which is something that chatbots are said to inherently struggle with and ultimately leave customers frustrated.

“It involves adding a single additional step to clarify the intent of your query. Adding this step and doing so usefully requires the integration of service bots. A service bot is essentially a digital service expert that can help clarify your request, analyse your needs, identify the root cause of your problem, and recommend a solution,” says Falkenberg.

“That’s important for two reasons. The first is that it ensures that you start in the right place… The second is that you’re adding the capability to analyse a problem and come up with a relevant solution. Most chatbots don’t do that,” he continues.

Here Falkenberg believes the addition of service bots to the mix could solve a myriad problems. If that is indeed the case, perhaps companies struggling with poor customer service reputations can do something about it.

“While many of today’s chatbots aren’t the customer service panacea organisations imagined they would be a few years ago, improvement is possible. With the help of service bots, most organisations can put themselves on the path to offering customers a Virtual Agent – one capable of resolving their queries first time,” he concludes.

[Image – Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash]

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