Will Chatbots Ever Replace Customer Support Agents?

Advancements in customer support technology over the past ten years have taken much of the responsibility out of agents’ hands. Tools utilizing artificial intelligence help streamline the process so clients don’t always have to rely on agents to get answers to their questions. The biggest example of this is the chatbot. These tools have evolved from simple automated response programs and are now able to use predictive analysis regarding the customer’s needs to provide dynamic solutions.

Does this mean the days of the live customer support agent are coming to an end? Not necessarily. However, there are areas where a chatbot can cover all the bases for a support team, allowing live agents to focus on other things. Let’s have a look at how chatbots are changing the live support landscape.

Less Emphasis on Phone Support

Perhaps the biggest impact chatbots have had on the customer support industry is they’ve reduced the need for phone interactions. This trend is sure to continue. Eventually, live agents won’t need to interact with clients over the phone unless it’s a major emergency. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean support agents will be obsolete. In fact, when chatbots take the emphasis away from phone support, they create other opportunities for agents to expand their skills. Areas such as video chat and social media support are still fairly new and require agents to work behind the scenes. In addition, chatbots will still need oversight by live humans, which gives support agents the opportunity to learn new technologies.

A Better Self-Service Experience

B2B organizations are now providing self-service support options that allow their client base to find answers to product questions on their own. This is a popular feature many people have come to expect from companies. By accessing a knowledge base, clients can search for content related to product issues and resolve them without the help of an agent. Chatbots take this technology even further. Using artificial intelligence, a chatbot can provide direct links to knowledge base content within the chat conversation. This reduces the chance an agent will need to intervene if the client can’t find the information they’re looking for. Instead of relying on live agents, chatbots and self-service portals are becoming stronger and more integrated, empowering clients to find answers themselves.

Omnichannel Support

Traditionally, if a customer needed product assistance, they’d simply call or email the support team. Today, customers can move between different channels seamlessly. For example, they may start a chat conversation and get a portion of the information they need. However, if they still need help, they could be directed to the knowledge base or a live agent. This may seem like a messy situation, but because businesses can streamline an omnichannel experience with customizable customer support software, the process is seamless. Instead of taking the work out of the agents’ hands, omnichannel support requires a more dynamic skill set, something support teams embrace.

Add AI-Powered Tools to Your Arsenal

Yes, chatbot technology has taken a lot of the workload away from customer support agents. However, live teams are now finding new ways to better serve client bases by working alongside these tools.

If you’re ready to fully optimize your support department, PhaseWare can help by providing customizable customer support software solutions. Contact us today to learn more.

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