How are chatbots changing the Contact Centre industry?

Posted on Friday, December 27, 2019 by Michael Stinson8 comments

How Are Chatbots Changing the Contact Centre Industry?

The contact centre industry has evolved massively over the last decade or so.  This is largely thanks to changes in technology, as well as customer expectations.  Call queuing needs to be shorter than ever before, and many people call centre staff for immediate support and guidance.  As pressure is mounting, many outsourced contact centre operations are turning to the world of chatbots.

What is a Chatbot?

A chatbot is an intelligent program which can talk directly with customers.  Instead of speaking with a live agent, website visitors can ask chatbots questions and find answers completely online.  This means that many people are able to self-manage their queries and find out what they need to know on their own.

A chatbot is designed to understand specific keywords and phrases.  Bots will derive answers from online knowledge bases, which means that they can direct chatters to helpful links and resources.  Some chatbots are very sophisticated, as they are able to understand context and even read emotional response.

All in all, the rise of chatbots is very exciting!  But what does it all mean for the contact centre industry?

Benefits for Contact Centres

One of the biggest benefits of a chatbot is that it can encourage customers to help themselves.  It’s now easier than ever before for many people to manage their everyday services online.  Some problems and queries might always need a human touch, however, everyday problems are easy to resolve if you look in the right places.

With more people using chatbots to resolve queries, call queues, in effect, will decrease.  This means that people who genuinely need to call a centre can get through quicker than ever before.  It also means that, from an operations perspective, contact centre KPIs are easier to manage and reach.

It also cuts down on costs.  The fewer people that are needed to answer calls, the lower the overheads will be for contact centres.  Installing and deploying an intelligent chatbot will carry a relatively low fee upfront. 

Will Chatbots Destroy the Contact Centre Industry?

Absolutely not.  As mentioned, there is always going to be a need for customers to speak to people.  While it is easier than ever to manage our bills and accounts online, some people prefer the human interaction and analysis.  This is not a generational approach, either, as many people still choose to call over using chatbots.

It’s clear that the chatbot is growing in popularity.  You will likely have visited a few sites recently where a live chat window has popped up.  Regardless of whether or not there is someone at the other end, it is very easy to start looking for answers.

However, contact centre staff and management needn’t worry just yet.  If anything, the rise of chatbots will likely help to increase time on the centre floor for training and career development.

All around, a chatbot is a fantastic idea for customers and contact centres alike.  Don’t worry, however – as most companies will still have a helpline open if you need to speak to someone!

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