The Pros and Cons of Virtual Assistants and Chatbots

Posted by Tasnim Ahmed

A Chatbot is an AI-powered software that can perform tasks without the support of a human. One of the most advanced technology, it can stimulate a chat or a conversation with a user on its own through websites, mobile apps, messaging apps or through the phone. For example, if you’re searching for a product on the internet and a window pops up on your computer screen asking if you need any assistance, or you are using voice commands to order food from a nearby restaurant and received a response that tells you the time when the order is ready along with the cost. In all these scenarios, you have encountered a chatbot. 

Chatbots can streamline operations for you, and can answer questions in natural language. Thus, simplifying the interaction between humans and machines. For an entrepreneur who keeps an eye on latest tech and trends, platforms and software like these can increase profits, enhance customer satisfaction, and boost market competitiveness that will propel your company above the rest. However, every business has its specific set of requirements. So, before you make a decision to automate your customer service experience ask yourself these questions – “Does your business need a chatbot? Can chatbots engage your customers well? Can they really bring greater profits and qualify leads? Is it worth investing in one?” It’s crucial for you to know the answers, and also weigh the pros and cons.

Let’s dive into the advantages and disadvantages of chatbots that you should take into account.

Pros of Using Chatbots

Faster Service and Solutions

One of the biggest advantages of using a chatbot is that it can deliver faster customer service and solutions. Unlike humans, they can function round-the-clock without a break with zero burnout. A customer doesn’t have to wait for hours to receive a response. Chatbots can even attend to multiple customers with queries at the same time which a human can’t. So, all you have to do is ask questions to the bot, and your query will be resolved, without human intervention.

Greater Customer Satisfaction

It is seen that customers are more satisfied with chatbots. When they receive instant and satisfactory answers, coupled with easy interface and quicker service, they are happy; and happy customers convert to brand loyalists.

Cost-effective

If you are trying to cut down costs, you can visit all areas of your business and consider trimming budgets or shutting down verticals but, you can’t afford to compromise on customer service and support. Using chatbots in place of a customer support team will be extremely cost-effective. You don’t have to pay an employee or develop a mobile app; you just need to have a bot. Also, lower workforce expenses translate into increased profits.

Extends Marketing Opportunities

Chatbots not just answers queries, but can send notifications about new products or services of your business. It reminds and informs customers of other features and app functions, special offers, and can promptly mention your product or service (you seek to promote) to the customer in the middle of the conversation/chat when it seems relevant.

Continuous Learning

The best part about chatbots is it’s adaptive, and learns and updates itself independently. It brings along the capability to transform the face of customer service in future. Businesses can leverage the bot to understand the target audience better, learn customer behavior, and deliver personalized assistance to its customers. During each conversation, it gathers the information that is requited about the customer. So, learning doesn’t stop for a chatbot. 

Multiple Uses

Chatbots have a variety of uses other than customer support. Bots can streamline processes by making it simpler, schedule meetings, track unstructured data, and can also be used for personal finance assistance, creating and managing sales funnel, advertising, and developing marketing strategies, to name a few.

Cons of Using Chatbots

Limited Set of Responses

Although chatbots are adaptive, they depend on a predefined set of questions and answers. If there is a query beyond their coded instructions, they either fail to reply or their response is inaccurate. This means that chatbots are still not fully capable of understanding the natural language and its nuances. 

Chances of Customer Frustration

Most chatbots aren’t able to adapt the natural language of humans, which means they don’t understand slang, misspellings, and sarcasm. Customers who use slang and sarcasm might not get the desired response. If there’s a situation where customers need to repeat themselves, it leads to frustration resulting into poor customer retention. 

Can’t Gain Customer Insights

When you start using chatbots to enhance customer experience, you are actually losing touch with what your customers are saying. You have no clarity on their issues, miss the feedback they give and the insights, which are very valuable for your business.

Bots Aren’t for Every Business Model

Some business models are too complex and cannot adopt a chatbot. Likewise, some customers may not be open to bots or respond in a positive manner. So, before making a decision, you need to consider the type of business you are in as well as your audience.

Susceptible to Errors

Bots don’t understand indecisive human expressions, and can’t eliminate the risk of human errors completely. They lose track of the conversation when they get confused by a customer query. This means the accuracy level can never be 100%, and there’ll be errors in the form of irrelevant and incorrect answers.

Need to be Maintained

Chatbots are programmed to manage a specific amount of data, and need to be optimized frequently to ensure they deliver correct information to customers. You’ll have to update the bot according to your business requirements as well as keep the customer satisfaction level consistent. Regular maintenance is crucial to avoid holes in the bot’s interface.

The Takeaway

Chatbots are certainly one of the most powerful tech tools used by businesses. It’s true that they can offer a quick response, and is cost-effective, efficient and adaptive. However, you need to understand the functionalities of this technology thoroughly, and whether it fits into your business model or not.

 

0 Comments

Subscribe Here!