Companies are questioning which service is better for their customers – human or AI-powered chatbot based. We examine both these options in our post.
With the drive to achieve excellence and offer the best services, businesses are continually hustling to resolve customer queries and support them without err. But this has given rise to a new form of battle, which is between digitisation and the human touch in customer service. The competition of AI vs humans to solve customer queries and ensure better customer engagement is rising every day.
While people are immensely satisfied with their issues being resolved 24*7 without a hold period, many note the concurrent loss of the human touch. According to a PWC survey, around 64% of U.S. consumers and 59% of all consumers think that companies today lack the human element of customer experience. About 71% of Americans prefer to interact with a human than a chatbot or any other automated process.
Talking about the chatbots vs humans issue raises an important question: Are chatbots having the edge over humans in customer service? To try and answer this, let us briefly look at the customer service aspects provided by both sides and the benefits they are expected to deliver.
Strengths of Using Humans for Customer Service
To start with, 79% of customers prefer chatting with agents because of the immediacy it offers. Research conducted by Econsultancy suggests this. Undoubtedly, the responses of a live chat or a human on the customer service end are more personalised and friendly.
However, there are few drawbacks to businesses using humans as customer service officers, including extensive training, leaves, and wages, among others. On the other hand, the strengths offered are significant. The primary benefits of using humans over chatbots for customer service are described below.
Empathy can solve many problems
The flexibility in response and the empathy that humans offer to customers are unique in all aspects. A survey by Forbes suggests that 50% of consumers say having human answer questions when making a purchasing decision is one of the essential features a brand can offer. Humans are emotional, and when their problems are solved with a personal touch and consideration, customers end up more satisfied.
Suggested Reading: 20 Tips For Effective Live Chat Support
Acting with urgency is always welcomed
Not all issues are serious, but some need a response in the blink of an eye. While a chatbot is quick, it works in a specific manner. One the other hand, humans can make changes, seek help from superiors and deliver enhanced customer experience.
Cultural sensitivity is appreciated
Businesses deal with customers of different ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds, and demography. Understanding various aspects and the nature of the customer based on these factors can help deliver better services. The capability to ensure cultural sensitivity is one of the key benefits of having humans instead of chatbots as customer service providers.
An experience-driven approach is beneficial
Humans learn by experience. With over years of experience, customer service providers learn about various situations and use them for better service delivery. Unlike chatbots, humans are able to handle irritated, angry, disappointed or even panicky customers.
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Easy to understand the human tone
Chatbots can not understand the tone of a customer, but humans can. Understanding humour, sarcasm, anger, and other such emotional attributes can help the customer service provider to solve the problem smoothly without delay.
According to a Harvard Business Review report, live chat increases customer retention rates by 5% and increases profits by 25%-95%.
AI Chatbots, A New Fit for Customer Service
Chatbots are essentially computer-programmed software that use machine learning and artificial intelligence to serve customer queries. According to Business Insider, 67% of consumers worldwide used a chatbot for customer support. There are various benefits that chatbots offer. The prime ones offered by Verloop.io integrate better responses and quicker resolutions.
Indeed, chatbots are gaining worldwide appreciation based on their strengths, which include:
Better response time
While facing a problem or looking for support, a quick response is always appreciated. Chatbots are quite helpful, especially for shopping portals. The Chatbots Magazine found 67% of US millennials prefer to purchase products and services from brands using a chatbot in its survey. This is undoubtedly and largely the case with the rest of the world too.
Choose the language you like
Which language are you most comfortable with? Usually, when discussing queries and seeking their resolution, chatbots can eliminate the language barrier as they offer multiple language choices for smooth processing.
Suggested Reading: Scale Your Operations Overseas With A Multilingual Chatbot
Time and number is no limit
A chatbot can work endlessly and handle multiple requests at a time. The same is not possible for humans. For companies leveraging human customer service, the night hours are usually downtime, or a part of the day will be booked as a break, even when there are shifts. But for chatbots, there is no break or limit to work, so as a customer, you are free to contact the service round the clock.
No leave, no training, reduced cost
According to Chatbots Magazine, businesses can minimise customer service costs by up to 30% by applying and using a conversational chatbot. With no leave, no need for training, and no errors, they can reduce a business’ overall costs. Also, since chatbots can offer service to multiple customers, shifts are eliminated, reducing hiring costs.
Suggested Reading: Save Money By Switching To Customer Support Automation
Learning is consistent
Chatbots have machine learning capabilities and learn based on what is fed to them. Based on the neural connections, they learn continuously and constantly to offer better service. By answering up to 80% of frequently asked questions, chatbots can help businesses save on operational costs, states IBM.
Who Has the Edge in Customer Service: AI or Humans?
Humans have their strengths, while chatbots are rising as the new best fit for various areas of customer service. Chatbots vs humans is a situation to be resolved. The other question that arises is whether AI vs humans is truly a battle of the opposites, or can they complement each other? While various companies feel either one needs to be adopted, Verloop.io offers an in-depth comparison of the two based on the basic strengths of each as below:
1. Understanding with personalisation
A survey by 99 Firms suggests 70% of consumers prefer human agents to AI technologies. While a customer queries his problem, the humans have the acquired skill of understanding by probing questions, but for chatbots, it’s usually keywords that might irk customers rather than helping. So, for an understanding with personalisation, it’s humans in humans vs AI.
2. Multitasking capabilities
No matter how diligent a human is, s/he cannot handle hundreds of queries at a time. Statistica suggests that the average customer satisfaction rating for live chat globally is 83.1%. A chatbot can handle multiple requests and give resolution to various customers, thus enhancing the overall experience. So, a chatbot is a clear winner in multitasking when it comes to chatbots vs humans.
3. Availability and response time
The less time it takes to resolve a problem, the higher is the customer satisfaction. The real-time solutions and quick response time that a chatbot integrates are better. Even with a long queue of customer queries, chatbots can offer the required solutions in no time. Being available at all times is a definite strength of chatbots over humans. So, in the AI vs humans scenario, a chatbot is the clear winner.
4. Simplicity to communicate and use
Although chatbots look simple and straightforward, many work purely based on a set of keywords that can be a little complicated at times. A report by Forrester cites that 44% of online consumers say having their questions answered by a live person during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. With their ease of communication, use and also ease, humans win the AI vs humans race.
5. Cost involved
A business operates to earn profits and aims to maximise profits. Companies want to reduce customer service costs by around 30% by implementing a conversational chatbot. In contrast, humans require funds for training, recruitment, and various other aspects. So, as far as cost is considered, chatbots are better in the humans vs AI case.
AI Chatbots vs Humans: Who is the Winner?
Strengths, weaknesses, and comparisons all serve to narrow down the better side in comparing AI vs humans. Live chat in customer service is exceptional, but the way a chatbot can handle multiple queries is fantastic. Indeed, AI is the future of businesses, but humans as customer service representatives will always offer the unique personalised touch that a business looks to offer.
Chatbots will not replace humans entirely in the customer service industry, but a complementing team of the two is sure to result in enhanced customer service experiences.
Verloop.io offers highly integrated, multi-lingual, and engaging customer support involving B2H (bot to human) and H2H (human to human) interactions focused on the idea of offering a seamless customer service experience.