Not So Chatty Now, Are Ya?

Live chat software customer service solutions allow clients to engage in conversation with knowledgeable humans on a multitude of product websites. Whether it’s your favorite shoe brand, your cell phone carrier or a software or service representative, live chat conversations connect employees with consumers to answer questions in real-time.

G2 Crowd has an expansive umbrella of customer service categories, with Live Chat on top of Help Desk, Social Customer Service and Customer Self-Service. With the exception of customer self-service — a type of tool that gears site visitors toward solutions via FAQs and knowledge articles — these customer service tools operate by connecting people to problems. But with the emergence of the customer service chatbot, these personalized conversations could evolve into digital interactions that have been personified.

Intercom, the live chat software, has introduced an artificial intelligence (AI)-fueled chatbot that aims to answer consumer queries without the direct use of employees.

“A bot is a simple computer program, that makes things happen based on some input,” wrote VP of product at Intercom, Paul Adams. “A chatbot is a bot that lives inside a chat product, for example a messaging app.”

Humans and bots serve different purposes and have different strengths.

Intercom is not the first of its kind to adapt an artificially intelligent chat platform. Inforobo and AIDA are examples of two other brands introducing automation to digital customer service, and the list doesn’t end there.

With the rise of virtual assistance, it’s worth asking how this could affect current live chat programs. In G2 Crowd’s Usability Index for Live Chat from Summer 2017, products received an average 71 percent user adoption rating. User adoption gauges the percent of users that engage with a certain software. In this instance, on average, 71 percent of at reviewers’ companies with access to these tools have adopted them.. Would this increase or decrease if desk people were to go digital?

To answer this question, it’s important to note that different people prefer different methods of communication. While I personally want to be connected to a human as soon as, well, humanly possible, others prefer to handle things without person to person interaction.

In the same Intercom blog post, Adams asserted that humans and bots serve different purposes and have different strengths.

“Computers are amazing at computation,” he wrote. “They can look up data, calculate numbers, and do things like look at millions of fact-based options and return the best one in a matter seconds. Computers are not yet good at understanding human emotion.”

READ: Why Do Business Intelligence Platforms Have Low User Adoption Rates?

Adams argues that humans are the opposite: skilled at emotion, but generally lacking in computational ability.

“We have empathy,” Adams wrote. “We know how to persuade people to first like, and then love something.”

One complaint mentioned in multiple live chat product reviews on G2 Crowd is how tickets are handled after hours. Administrators have issues replying on mobile, or their chat software accepts conversations when representatives are offline. Chatbots can be available 24/7, thus ensuring consumers are constantly connecting to businesses in some way.

Overall, it doesn’t appear as though chatbots will eradicate the need for live chat specialists. Especially because the nature of customer service is so emotional — that Christmas package didn’t arrive on time, or cable issues made Grandpa miss his grandson’s football game broadcasted live.

These issues require an emotional response, a type of empathy that chatbots are as of yet incapable of producing. For now, the humans should be safe.