Bots versus humans in support

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There’s a lot of talk about using computer bots for customer support at the moment. Bots and A.I. are the new thing and garnering quite a bit of media attention. This article from Paul Adams on Intercom summarized many of my thoughts:

Bots have serious limitations, but it is exciting to think that bots can help in win-win situations. Sometimes we don’t want to talk to a human – we just want a quick answer to a simple question. For example, bots can deal with all the repetitive questions sent to customer support teams, which frees up support staff to answer much higher value queries. The effect of this will be that support teams will shift from being perceived as cost centers, to being seen as increasingly strategic assets to successful companies.

Paul lays out some pretty sound reasoning why bots won’t put humans out of business for customer support in the near future. Humans excel in areas where bots fall short, namely empathy. Humans know what it’s like to feel upset or frustrated and when to go the extra mile for a customer.

Bots are going to get better, far better than they are now. Down the road, a bot could be indistinguishable from a human in chat conversation. The future that Paul outlines, where bots and humans work together to provide amazing customer support, is one I can subscribe to. Rather than building bots to replace humans, build them to amplify what humans can do in the context of support.

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Photo credit: Intercom

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