Outsource HQ

Chatbots and Automation (can) Piss People Off

Episode Summary

Discover the main reason why people don't like bots and how a human touch could make bots better in this episode of Outsource HQ. We'll also explore the future of AI and its potential impact on businesses. Learn about the future of AI in customer service, the ethical concerns surrounding its use, and how businesses can use AI responsibly and as a tool to benefit both customers and employees.

Episode Transcription

Outsource HQ’s Adam here! Welcoming you to a brand new episode where we’ll be talking about chatbots this time around so strap in!  

Have you ever encountered a chatbot when attempting to contact customer service about a problem with a purchase? 

Sometimes you’re presented with all your options right away. And sometimes you have to go through an outdated tree of linked processes before receiving a clear response or getting connected to an actual agent. It can get really annoying, and most people just don’t use the chatbot in the first place. 

Main reasons why people don’t like bots

Today’s chatbots have evolved and marketers know how to set them up with the most helpful presets. They’re computer programs made to mimic human users in dialogue. Mimic, but not entirely talk like a human. 

While helpful in a variety of situations, including customer service, there are a few key reasons why people still dislike them.

First, they’re not human and don’t give human answers.

Because they are not human, bots cannot provide human responses. They lack the empathy and understanding that only a human being can offer.

A lot of chatbots have been programmed to carry out particular jobs or guide clients down specific conversational avenues, but they haven't been made to look like real human beings having real human conversations. 

In a nutshell, many customers' interactions with chatbots are awkward and, to be completely honest, sometimes not helpful at all. 

Second, they answer in roundabout ways.

No one wants to read a five paragraph response to a one-phrase query. ChatGPT can be particularly wordy like that. Ask it a question and it can respond with a mini-article. 

Instead of responding directly, chatbots offer a range of possibilities or wait until they have more details before responding. 

The bot’s ability to give succinct responses is compromised if it has sifted through a mountain of pointless data to find the information they seek. 

This frequently happens when a chatbot is unable to focus on specificity within large areas of discussion, emphasising the need to deliver lengthy responses to address a variety of various minor inquiries inside a broader topic. 

While they’re products of high technology, their answers can still be awkward and the opposite of intelligent. 

For the proper responses to surface, chatbots need to grasp user goals with intelligence.

Third, they don’t have all the answers.

Chatbots will struggle to comprehend the needs of the clients if they are not designed to follow human discussions. 

For example, if a chatbot is only designed to respond to the question "Can you tell me more about the status of my delivery?" but you inquired, "Where is my package? ", the bot might need some time to figure out what you actually want.

They’re developed to react to straightforward inquiries that can be addressed with facts. Because they can only respond to a certain number of questions, they can’t respond to queries with multiple parts or questions requiring choices. 

You might go through additional hoops just to get your questions answered. 

And lastly, you can only talk to an actual person once you’ve exhausted all dialog.

One of the most annoying things about bots is that you have to use all of the dialog before you can speak to a real person. 

While bots might be useful for straightforward questions or requests, more complicated problems can need human assistance. 

You can find yourself not being heard or understood by the bot and may find this to be frustrating especially when there’s a pressing inconvenience such as product damage.

When human touch matters amidst AI

Needing to be heard is the fundamental tenet of customer service. First and foremost, along with the solutions, customers with a complaint want to feel valued and heard. 

Consider yourself a customer who recently acquired a product that was damaged in transit. 

While a chatbot can answer simple questions concerning the company's return policy and procedure, a living, breathing human would probably be required to assist in finding a solution. 

A human representative might provide the consumer individualised attention based on their unique circumstance, express sympathy and understanding for the inconvenience they have caused, and assist them with the return procedure.

Or you can be a client having trouble using a product or service due to technological issues. 

A chatbot could be able to offer some simple troubleshooting advice, but a human agent is better qualified to identify the issue and offer customised solutions. 

In all of these situations, a human touch is necessary to provide personalised attention and tailored solutions to customers. 

Solutions to ChatBot issues

It’s that human touch that can make chatbots less annoying and even pleasant to use. After all, if it’s efficient, why would you wait for a live agent? 

A customer support representative's knowledge of your billing history helps when you have a billing issue. CRM platforms strive to fill in the gaps for customer service personnel by enabling them to see conversation history with a customer.

But humans are unable to communicate at scale in most human-like ways. Businesses shouldn't demand that customer service representatives be familiar with each client's complete history and engage in continuous back-and-forth communication. 

This is where chatbots come in. They can handle and process all that data and respond to customers at the same time. We just have to make sure they’re as human-like as possible. ChatGPT made waves because it’s quite good in this aspect.  

So how do you get your chatbots to be less robotic? 

Chatbots’ ability to process data is too good to pass up. You do need chatbots for your customer service. There are a few things you can do to give your chatbot queries a more human touch. Get conversational rather than stilted and impersonal. 

Be friendly and approachable with your comments with abbreviations, emojis, and informal language.

Adding individuality to your chatbot's responses is another strategy. Infuse comedy, wit, or even pop culture reference to give clients a more engaging and enjoyable experience. 

Of course, maintaining professionalism while remaining humorous requires finding the appropriate balance.

Next, find a flow that works for you and your customers

It’s a pleasant and cosy experience when there is a natural flow of conversation and inspiration to speak. 

Except if you're a chatbot. Or awkwardly social. Perhaps you might want to give your conversational skills some TLC.

People can relate to conversational chatbots as if they’re human agents. So make an impression that would stick!

But what factors support a continuous experience? A well-designed chatbot flow.

Using a little creativity will help you design a chatbot flow that benefits both you and your clients. Play around with suggestions and clever responses. Break up that monotonous, robotic language you've been using all along. 

Make sure the conversation has a logical and understandable flow, but don't be afraid to add some personality. 

Ask inquiries that demonstrate your interest in learning more about your consumers and offer them useful advice. Show your concern for their success. 

Businesses can ensure success when they foster enduring relationships and yield significant outcomes through a customer-centric strategy and creative tone. 

Future of AI

Chatbots may serve as useful assistants to employees beyond their current duties.

Imagine a chatbot that not only automates routine activities but also gives employees individualised instruction. That would be a total gamechanger. 

They are smart enough to recognize an employee's skills and limitations and make specific suggestions for improvement with machine learning and natural language processing.

By encouraging a culture of continual learning and growth, this not only benefits the employees but also the business as a whole. 

Will AI steal my job? 

But the big question that's been looming around the world of work for quite some time now: "Will AI steal my job?"

The short answer? It depends.

But let's focus on customer service for now. It's easy to see why some customer service representatives might be feeling a bit uneasy about their job security with the rise of chatbots, virtual assistants, and other automated systems. 

What's to stop businesses from replacing their whole customer service personnel with AI if a chatbot can handle consumer enquiries and complaints just as effectively (if not more so) than a human representative?

It's true that AI has the potential to automate some customer service processes, but it's unlikely that it will ever completely replace human customer service agents. 

Why? Because customer service isn't just about addressing problems or answering inquiries - it's about establishing relationships with customers.

A chatbot may be able to respond to a customer's question quickly and effectively, but it lacks the ability to relate to customers or offer the same level of individualised assistance as a human representative. 

Not all customers are tech-savvy or at ease interacting with chatbots, let's not forget that. Some still prefer speaking with an actual human even if it means waiting on hold for a few minutes.

Yet customer service isn't the only occupation that's at risk of being automated by AI. Data entry, administrative work, and perhaps some forms of journalism can also be disrupted. 

While AI may render some tasks obsolete, it can also open up new career paths and job possibilities.The rise of AI might lead to an increased demand for data scientists, AI engineers, and other tech-related roles.

Along the way, you also identify new insights and patterns that you might not have been able to see on your own.

Hence, AI is not here to take your job; rather, it is here to assist you in performing it more effectively. 

You can totally open new doors by embracing the potential of AI and working with it.


Wrapping up, chatbots are now an essential component of customer support and can be a huge asset to a business by offering quick assistance with customer queries.

But it's important to remember that chatbots should always be used with the customer in mind. We can create a more individualised and interesting experience by developing customer-centric chatbot content that is suited to their needs and preferences.

At the same time, we should not rely solely on chatbots to handle customer interactions. While they can undoubtedly save time and enhance productivity, nothing can match the personal touch and empathy that comes with human engagement.

So, let's chat with chatbots, not at them, and work together to create a more efficient and enjoyable future for all! Until next time!